My first job after college was as product assurance engineer but quality did not become my career until I began associating with ASQ six years after graduation. Though I was able to adequately fulfill my job responsibilities, I lacked the overarching understanding of the quality professionals’ importance within an organization. This realization came to me as I began utilizing the resources provided by ASQ. The single greatest resource for quality knowledge and career development has come from conferences.
As a young engineer, ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement served as my preferred source for quality knowledge, and now as a seasoned professional it still fulfills that same purpose. Having transitioned jobs several times in my career, I have learned that is takes up to a year or more to fully appreciate an organization’s culture and understand how it operates. Likewise, it took me numerous visits to the WCQI before I fully understood and appreciated all that it had to offer. To my delight—and in the spirit of continuous improvement—ASQ now provides a Welcome Session that allows those less experienced with this conference to shorten their learning curve.
For me, WCQI was initially about obtaining the knowledge and understanding of the basics of quality and quality management systems. Later in my career the importance shifted to learning how to apply the multitude of tools, techniques, and methodologies to effectively provide value to my organization. ASQ eases the challenge of selecting the appropriate conference sessions by clearly identifying them as beginner level, intermediate or advanced. In addition, the conference provides focus areas to provide relevant information to quality practitioners in a variety of industries. This year’s WCQI four focus areas are:
Quality 4.0: The Future of Quality Starts Here — The sessions in this area examine the effects disruptive technologies are having on the quality function and the quality professional.
Risk and Change — Sessions in this area of focus will cover topics like identifying and assessing risk, moving data to actions, and approaches to shorten the change curve from resistance to improvement.
Building and Sustaining a Culture of Quality —
The sessions in this area of focus address the struggle of how to build a culture in which the application of quality tools, techniques, and methods expands beyond special projects or departments and evolves into the standard way by which work gets done.
Quality Fundamentals in the Digital Age — Technological advances provide the chance to reexamine how the fundamental elements of quality tools, techniques, and approaches can be applied to changing environments, a changing workforce, and emerging challenges.
But WCQI is much more than attending sessions. It also provides hands-on workshops, multiple keynote presenters, and the chance to visit with numerous exhibitors. In addition, like many ASQ conferences, the WCQI is designed to allow attendees to interact and network. Having attended nearly 20 World Conferences, I have developed an extensive personal network through professional relationships with many of the other attendees. The importance of a professional network cannot be understated because it provides immense value when one is in need of guidance or information.
The knowledge and information obtained, the value provided, and ability to network explain why I return to the WCQI year after year. As always, I look forward to this year’s conference April 30 – May 2 at Seattle Convention Center because it promises to be this year’s premier quality event to share best practices, expand my network, and further develop my professional growth.
“The Innovation of You” is this year’s theme. Today’s exponential pace of change has shifted innovation from a practice that brings advantage to a practice that is required just to keep up. This mandate exists both for organizations as a whole and for the individuals that work within them. At a professional level, the innovation of one’s self can only be fully realized through the embracing of change, the acceptance of its inevitability, and the acknowledgement that a faster future is already here. The future IS now, and both organizations and individuals have a choice to either lead the change it is bringing or be led by the change that occurs.
Visit asq.org/conferences/wcqi for more information. And help expand my network by visiting me at the ASQ Inspection Division booth in the exhibit hall!