There were MANY inspiring and informative speakers at WHVACR conference this year, but two stuck out to me personally with the way that they interwove their personal experiences and stories to relate important information and make it memorable in a way I’ve never quite experienced before. The speakers had information content that was very different from each other – one with lots of technical information and the other focusing on soft skills – but both utilized their stories to make their presentations come alive.
Rhonda Wiggins, HVACR Instructor at Hennepin Technical College
TOPIC: Sequence of Operation: A Technical Memoir
Rhonda took attendees on a tour of her career as an HVAC technician, beginning as so many of us have with the influence of a strong woman, her grandmother (shown to the right, proudly displaying one of her painstakingly hand-stitched quilts, which was a source of pride, inspiration and income for her family), then taking us through her trials and tribulations as a technician, including a flaming bra/cutting torch incident (Did I mention she was also suspended from the ceiling?) and also nearly being blown off a roof during hurricane Hugo.
Rhonda artfully used her current skills as an HVACR instructor to relate each of her fantastic tales back to the sequence of operation of a residential gas furnace, providing an incredibly entertaining and educational presentation that will be remembered forever.
Keynote Speaker, Elizabeth McCormick, former US Army Black Hawk Pilot & Motivational Speaker
TOPIC: YOU. In the Pilot’s Seat.
Elizabeth provided a high energy and engaging presentation from which I believe each and every person in the room was able to take at least one nugget of wisdom to apply to improve their daily lives. In my case, I’ve found myself applying several of her tips and tricks which have at the very least, made me smile, and at best influenced the outcomes of several intense moments.
Elizabeth used her experiences as a helicopter pilot-in-training to demonstrate methods to overcome challenges, literally showed us all how to fly a helicopter (not an easy task, even from the comfort and safety of an office chair!) and shared how she bravely stepped outside the chain of command to save the lives of her helicopter crew while flying through an ice storm.
If you had the great misfortune of missing the WHVACR Conference this year, I can assure you, you missed a LOT! More than I could possibly fit in a blog. In addition to the fantastic speakers, the facility, events and networking opportunities were epic. Even the swag was first class all the way, y’all! I’ve never experienced such a welcome and at-home feeling at an event like this. Women were eager to share their stories and establish the kinds of relationships that last far beyond the few days of conference. The good news is, that if you missed Conference, you can still be a part of the conversation. Join WHVACR on Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter throughout the year, and make sure to join us at next year’s Conference. You’ll be happy you did!