Sheila McGurin plans and manages the many seminars and conferences hosted by Rick Altman. Since 2003, Sheila has been the one behind the scenes making sure Presentation Summit attendees have the very best conference experience. From city and venue selection to Expo partner coordination to on-site liaison, Sheila makes sure the business of the Summit exceeds expectations and continues to evolve.
Sheila is an East Coast transplant, having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts and then moving to California to pursue an IT career. She retired from the tech world in 2001 to raise a family and now enjoys a saner work-life balance.
In this conversation, Sheila talks about the upcoming Presentation Summit 2017 in Clearwater Beach, FL.
Geetesh: Sheila, you have been involved with the Presentation Summit for so many years. What according to you is the biggest takeaway for attendees, both new and returning?
Sheila: Yes, that’s true. I’ve been working with Rick Altman and the Presentation Summit for 14 years now, since this conference began as PowerPoint Live back in 2003. Hard to believe! I see two main takeaways for Summit patrons beyond the incredible learning opportunity and professional development of the conference.
First is relationships. At the Summit we take networking and business development to a whole new level. There are multiple hosted receptions over the four days of the conference, each a valuable chance to have meaningful conversations and develop friendships with others in your discipline. I’ve seen small business owners grow their company from a small, local-focused business to an international powerhouse through connections made at the Summit. I’ve seen larger corporations forge business partnerships and hire consultants or new employees after conversations at one of our receptions. It’s very satisfying to know that our conference can have such positive impact in the business world.
Second is an opportunity I wish every patron would take advantage of. It’s the one-on-one assistance available at our hands-on Help Center. Our Help Center, staffed by Microsoft MVP’s, is open throughout the Summit and provides world class technical guidance. Patrons are encouraged to bring a stick loaded with their biggest slide issues and problems, make an appointment with a designer or PowerPoint technical expert, and receive expert advice – advice that would cost thousands if contracted out. It’s an amazing feature of the conference and I encourage every single attendee to take advantage. We’ve literally had feedback saying that if nothing else happened over the four days, the entire trip was worthwhile just for the 15 minutes spent in the Help Center. Problems that had been plaguing an entire department for over a year were solved in that 15-minute span and that attendee went home a hero.
Geetesh: For those who are attending this conference for the first time, what approach and mindset should they take and develop to benefit the most from this event?
Sheila: My advice is to come with an open mind. This conference is different than any you’ve attended previously. I guarantee it!
People who get the most out of the Summit are the ones who can put “real life” on hold for a short time and immerse themselves in the moment and the experience. Sign up to participate on a Trivia team, introduce yourself to everyone, prepare questions for the large contingent of Microsoft engineers and product managers who will be on site, attend the after-hours networking opportunities instead of reading email in your room — these kinds of actions will allow you to discover that there are many other passionate presentation professionals out there who are open to sharing their expertise and connections with you. There’s even a professional organization, the Presentation Guild, which continues the opportunities for professional growth and networking with this group all year long.
Indezine.com is the Media Partner for the Presentation Summit.
What is the Presentation Summit?
For many years now, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms.
Date: September 24 to 27, 2017
Location: The Sheraton Sand Key Resort, Clearwater Beach, United States
Twitter Hashtag: Presum17