Top 5 Takeaways from the Pacific Regional Conference

By Katherine Robinette, CPSM, OBEC Consulting Engineers


After nearly 18 years in A/E/C marketing, I view conferences as a success if I come away with one concept that challenged me or one tip to implement. The Pacific Regional Conference consistently delivers more, however, with diverse content, speakers, and connections, and this year was no exception. Here are my Top 5 takeaways from last week.

1) A simple, powerful approach to content: Content should answer the What, the So What, and the Now What.

  • What: Describe a project that involved the topic (i.e. whatever topic you are emphasizing). What was the outcome?
  • So What: How does this help your clients with their projects (beyond the technical details)? Would we be considered an expert or innovator on this topic?
  • Now What: What would be ideal for the readers to do next (as a result of reading this)?

2) Here’s one for all of the business card collectors… Science has shown that the human mind can only handle 150 relationships at one time. This includes the barista who serves you your coffee every morning. So if you can only manage 150 relationships, shouldn’t they all be of value? Be a curator, not a collector, of human connections.

3) Ever notice that when you make a fancy purchase, you start to see that item everywhere? That’s your brain honing in on what you’ve told it was important. A way to do this intentionally is to write down your goals – downsize the “to do” to match your vision/ultimate objectives. When you fine tune your goals, your brain will start to zero in and filter for the items that help you reach your goals. Do that with your networking, and your brain will start directing you to others who can help you achieve your vision.

I remember feeling rankled when I heard these last two concepts. As a long-time senior marketer, I should know/have/be this already, right? But as the discussions continued, I realized I wasn’t upset because I had these nailed down. I was upset because they were absent.

4) Mentoring should go up as well as down the career/life ladder, and should bring value to both the mentor and the mentee. Who are you coaching and collaborating with? What you getting out of it? What are you (intentionally) giving to it? View the mentor/mentee relationship like a partnership, do some research, and make a deliberate choice. Become a mentor AND mentee with intention.

5) Women are over-mentored and under-sponsored. Seek out someone to advocate for you and help you get where you need to go and do what you need to do. You have the skills, expertise, and knowledge. Get someone to open (and hold) the door. Get a sponsor.


As usual, the Pacific Regional Conference brought to light the undercurrents of our work lives, validated our daily experiences, and connected us over food, fun, and learning. These are the thoughts and tips that spoke to me. What caught your attention? I’d love to hear about your takeaways.


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2 Comments to Top 5 Takeaways from the Pacific Regional Conference

  1. February 14, 2018, by Patti DeNucci

    Katherine, these are some awesome takeaways! And you’re right: if you absorb and act on one key shift, strategy, or useful pearl of wisdom, the experience was a “win.” So glad you resonated with the “curator not collector” networking wisdom I shared in my keynote. We should focus on the people who bring value to our worlds, whether it’s our best clients and colleagues or our most dedicated “major supporters” and friends. Our brains (and schedules) really can’t handle much more than the 150 that Dr. Robin Dunbar says is our human capacity.

    And also, yet, let your Vision/Objectives drive your To Do List – otherwise you’re just busy and not really getting anywhere.

    I’m tickled that you were a little rankled by these concepts from my presentation (and maybe you heard the in other sessions as well). If they hit a nerve it usually means they are true – or worth considering.

    Appreciate you being at the conference and congrats again on winning a copy of my book The Intentional Networker. You will love it!

    All best to you and your organization,
    Patti DeNucci

  2. February 14, 2018, by Jessica Biel

    Thank you Katherine for sharing these take-a-ways! And way to use tip #1 in your content. The “now what” made a huge impact on what I retained!

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