My eTail Story by Charis Marquez:
“My first eTail was the start of a deeper dialogue”
Head of Ecommerce and Digital for Craftsman,
Kenmore and DieHard brands,
Sears Holdings Corporation
Charis’ eTail Story At a Glance
First Year Attended: 2015
How She’s Participated: Attendee & Speaker
eTail Highlights: Charis found eTail to be a unique environment for organic networking and she loved having the ability to tailor her conference experience through the subject tracks.
At eTail, my speaking was just the start of the conversation.
What brought me to eTail for the first time was the speaking opportunity I was offered. I thought eTail looked like a great conference to be a part of, and attending and speaking turned out to be a really positive experience, nervous as I was at the beginning. I hadn’t spoken at other events before, so it was truly my first time diving into it. After my presentation, I received a lot of different feedback, and have even had a couple of people reach out to me with great follow-up questions after the event. Even when you join a session on something tactical, like improving conversions, the conversation extends well beyond the event and ends up touching on more strategic issues, like how to build the right relationships to drive those changes.
eTail let me find the people who do what I do, and learn from them.
For me, the value of the event goes beyond general networking. The beauty of the separate subject tracks is that they allow you to get a more focused experience within your field, and meet people who actually do what you do. The tracks helped me budget my time and create an agenda that was a great fit for me. From a business perspective, that really helped because I heard how people in my peer group are approaching different things I’m also working on. I also noticed that there was a sense of discipline that presenters had around their subjects. I noted this especially in the case of one of the UX presentations I attended. There was a certain rigor there, and they were illustrating their actual process. At other conferences, I’ve seen presentations that felt more like the presenters were simply introducing a problem and a solution, but this session was really focused on how the UX team handled their actual logistics. It was great to see the thought process behind how they set up the project’s framework, because that is the kind of information I can actually take back to my team and use in my own projects. That kind of insight is really very powerful.
I made connections at eTail, even when I wasn’t in the sessions.
I liked eTail because the structure and location are much more conducive to organic networking. The way that the conference was set up, you could go and sit at the bar and still wind up talking to somebody interesting. There were people there while I was just eating dinner, and when I noticed they were also at the conference, we started talking and learning things. I’ve been to a handful of other conferences where the networking sessions feel too forced, but it didn’t feel that way at eTail. At other events, networking feels like you are just superficially introducing yourself, so the ability to meet people more organically at eTail was special. If you wanted to be part of the sessions and listen in, then you went to the actual meeting rooms and the exhibit halls. If you decided you just needed to take a break, I still found that I’d see colleagues and we could start a conversation, even if we were just there taking a phone call or a rest in between sessions.