By: Benjamin Koertge

I was first introduced to ISPI two years ago in a meeting during my junior year at California State University, Chico. The meeting was for the Instructional Design and Technology Society, a club that uses instructional design and performance improvement to provide services for people and organizations that seek performance improvement. Every year ISPI asks CSU Chico for volunteers for THE Conference. Along with two classmates, Reece Hauf and Frances Choi, I quickly signed on. Based on a recommendation from my professor, Jon Roussell (a former speaker at ISPI), we were fortunate enough to be selected to volunteer and attend the conference.

I anticipated the conference to be a great learning experience and opportunity to connect with professionals in the performance improvement field. While we did do a lot of work volunteering, we all found time to sit in on several speeches and educational workshops that were extremely interesting and informative. Out of all the activities we attended, the two that were most memorable were the Speed Mentoring session and the lecture on Six Boxes by Carl Binder. The Speed Mentoring session afforded us the opportunity to converse with professionals in the performance improvement field. I spoke with Carol Haig, Bill Blunt, and Ingrid Guerra-Lopez, who all provided me with fascinating advice and knowledge about performance improvement and helped me realize how readily applicable it is across a wide spectrum of fields as well as how much performance improvement relies on effective communication. I also found the Six Boxes lecture by Carl Binder brimming with enlightening information.

Attending the Speed Mentoring, Six Boxes lecture, and several other speeches and workshops has sparked my interest even more in performance improvement and has inspired me to begin my own research in the field. My only worry is professionals of my generation do not share the same interest due to a lack of exposure to such a beneficial and widely applicable field. As such, our club at CSU Chico sets out to generate enthusiasm for performance improvement and gather more members. Our president-elect, Reece Hauf, and I also plan on setting up a local ISPI chapter. From meeting professionals to learning more than I could have possibly imagined about performance improvement, it is easy to say that attending and volunteering at THE Performance Improvement Conference was a rewarding and valuable experience I hope to repeat next year in Reno.

Benjamin Koertge, a junior at California State University, Chico, is currently studying media arts and minoring in instructional design. He is the vice president-elect for Chico State’s Instructional Design and Technology Society and currently functions as a fundraiser. He is graduating the spring of 2013 and will pursue a career in multimedia production while using performance improvement to better his work practices.