Top Five Conference Take Aways – 2014

I make a point of attending several professional conferences each year.  This year I chose the International Coach Federation Conference in Cleveland in June, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization‘s Conference in Nashville in September and the International CHADD Conference in Chicago in November, where I also presented with colleague Sue West on the topic of team building and collaboration for ADHD adults.

Conferences present the opportunity to connect with colleagues and industry experts I might not otherwise have access to.  Even more importantly they provide a rich environment for learning.  This year I thought it might be fun to share my learning with you.  So, here are my top five takeaways from 2014 Conferences:

Certified Organizer Coaches ( l-r, Judith Blazer, Sue West, Kate Varness, Andrea Sharb & Susan Lieber) in attendance at CHADD’s 2014 Conference

5) Props and humor really solidify the learning.  The theme of organizing guru, Judith Kolbergs memorable presentation, Decision Making & the Chronically Disorganized Client at the ICD Conference was simple and could have been conveyed in about 30 minutes from behind the podium.  Instead Judith invited us into the world of  fictional client “Adele” and conveyed her message using interesting props and humor in a way that a podium presentation never could.  I wouldn’t have thought of throwing things around a room to capture the attention and imagination of an audience, but I just might the next time I present, thanks to Judith!

4)  There are hundreds if not thousands of productivity apps and tools available.  Eric Tivers, LCSW, MSSW did a fantastic job of highlighting the best of the best and introducing me to new favorites like the alarm app called Wake n Shake and Time Tracker mini in his CHADD presentation.  Watch for an interview with him in upcoming weeks in which he’ll share more about apps and productivity.

3) Mindfulness and ADHD is becoming an increasingly talked about topic. At CHADD’s Conference,  John Mitchell, PhD presented promising findings about the impact of mindfulness practices on ADHD.  At the same conference  I also attended an interesting presentation by Roberto Olivardia, PhD and Mark Bertin, MD on ADHD, Eating and Mindfulness.  In it they shared how ADHD makes people more predisposed to eating disorders and how mindfulness practices can support positive change.  Something must have clicked for me as a result of attending this session because I’ve been much more mindful about my eating since attending.

2) Also at the CHADD Conference Raul Gonzalez, PhD, an expert on the neurocognitive effects of marijuana presented his research on whether ADHD is a risk factor for marijuana related problems in young adults.  This is an important topic if you have kids with ADHD as statistics show there are plenty of young adults with ADHD who are using marijuana to self-medicate.   If you’re interested in reading his paper, click here.

Thomas E. Brown at 2014 CHADD Conference

1)  Motivation was a frequent conference topic this year.  At CHADD’s Conference, Dr Thomas E. Brown, author of Smart but Stuck spoke about cultivating motivation and realistic hope amid the challenges of ADHD.  At ICD’s Conference Denslow Brown, MCC spoke about Motivational Coaching and at the ICF Conference I learned about Richard Boyatzis, PhD’s  Intentional Change Theory.  My takeaway from these sessions was the reminder that others can’t motivate you.  Instead, motivation must come from within.  However, shifts in mindset and support, like coaching can help you create a better atmosphere to create that motivation.

So that’s my list.  Any surprises?  Anything you’re interested in learning more about?  What have you taken away from your learning experiences / conferences this year?

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5 Responses to “Top Five Conference Take Aways – 2014”

  1. Lisa Schlesinger November 20, 2014 5:05 pm #

    My take away from your post is that I MUST attend a CHADD conference at some point in the near future! Sounds like a great deal of info that could benefit so many.

    • Andrea Sharb November 20, 2014 5:52 pm #

      Lisa, We’d love to see you there next year!

  2. Melanie. Dennis November 21, 2014 8:07 pm #

    My conference moments are connecting with people who truly understand what I do and how I feel. Validation from professional organizers around the globe.

    • Andrea Sharb November 22, 2014 12:59 am #

      I totally agree Melanie. It’s an amazing feeling to connect with someone who really gets who you are and what your experience is. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Cameron Gott PCC May 29, 2015 11:11 am #

    Your relentless pursuit for professional development is a model for the rest of us. Very impressive year, Andrea.

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