Tag Archive: conference


asglogo    I attended the Texas Songwriters Conference in Austin a couple of weeks ago. I’m just now getting caught up enough to post about it. The conference is put on by the Austin Songwriters Group (ASG), of which I am a member. I am also a member of Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA), where I am on the board as the lyric contest director and the showcase director. The two organizations have not, as of yet, had a joint event, but they support each others organization and mission in various ways.

I spend a lot of my time talking to people in one form or another (in person, on the phone, email), promoting myself or either organization. When I am promoting DSA, for example, I can “brag” a little more openly since I am referring to a group of people. When promoting myself, it’s necessary to be a little more subtle to straddle the fine line between promotion and braggadocio. As a result, some people don’t understand what I’m trying to say and have blank looks on their faces. Then there are the condescending “of course you’re a songwriter” looks.

So it was nice to – not only get out of town – but to spend a weekend with people who know what I’m talking about. People who are like-minded, accepting, and non-judgmental. At music and songwriting conferences there are always things I already know – since the conference is for all levels of experience. However, since things are changing constantly, it’s nice to know what has changed. As to the things that haven’t changed, I enjoy being assured that what I’m doing is what I should be doing.

I like hearing other songwriters, publishers, and other music industry people tell their stories, making me think “thank God I’m not alone.” That, I think, is the main purpose of any conference – making the attendees realize they are not alone. And the ASG did that. They are an accepting and supportive group (as is the DSA – just saying). It was all about the songs and careers of the songwriters. A few of the events and conversations I would like to share with you – and will – in upcoming posts.

Peace be with you.

The Communications Conference 2011, presented by UMR Communications, parent company of the United Methodist Reporter, was held at the Presbyterian Ministry Center in Irving on Thursday, February 24th, and Friday, the 25th. The event was previously called the Editor’s Conference – for editors of faith-based publications. Realizing that communicators often wear many hats, the UMR staff changed the title to the Communicators Conference.

The conference opened on Thursday with a luncheon followed by a keynote address by Rev. Tim McLemore, associate director in the Office of Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, that set the tone for the conference. The conference was attended by communicators from the United Methodist Church and other denominations in various areas of the country. Workshops provided tips on organization, communication plans, branding, media choices, photos and Photoshop, volunteer optimization, financing for communications, writing skills, and online tips, tools, and tricks.

Tim McLemore

Presenters from the staff of UMR included Liz Applegate, New Media Associate, Erika Dorsey, Design and Production Manager, Cherrie Graham, Advertising Manager, and Mary Jacobs, Staff Writer. Other presenters included John Greenberger, COO for ReTransform (former CFO of UMR), Samantha Naeyaert, founder of Muddle Management (an organizing and efficiency company), Patrick Steil, owner of ChurchBuzz, and Patrick Shownes, Communications Coordinator for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Steil also gave the closing keynote address, giving attendees online tools they could put into action upon their return home.

As one of the communicators in attendance, representing Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch and the Communications Committee, I can say that the conference was an enjoyable time of fellowship with fellow communicators. The conference is one of the few times some of us get to meet in person. The conference was also a chance share the problems we face as communicators. I’m already looking forward to next year.

See Mallory McCall’s article on the event in the UM Reporter. More pictures below.

Peace be with you.

Sam Hodges and Deb Christian

Liz Applegate

Tim McLemore

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