Echo, tell us a little about yourself before we talk about the Presentation Guild.
- Echo: I started in the presentations industry 20 years ago, working at a medical education company. I had the opportunity to take on a PowerPoint project, did not know anything and found the PowerPoint newsgroup on Deja News. I started reading it, and eventually started answering questions there. Fast forward a few years and Microsoft made me an MVP, I wrote a couple of PowerPoint books, and…here we are today.
Tell us about how the Guild got it’s start.
- Echo: The PowerPoint MVPs have discussed starting something like this for many years, but we just never sat down and actually did anything about it. A couple of people approached me with needs that I thought an organization could help with. The real catalyst was when I had to reinstall Photoshop and there was a question during the install process that asked what I do for a living. It listed practically every type of design you can imagine… except presentation design. That was when I finally decided we need to change this.
Who is part of that start up team?
- Echo: Sandy, of course. Best vice president and teammate ever! Steve Rindsberg, Charles Cranford, Marsh Makstein, and Glenna Shaw started things. Then we almost immediately brought on Stephy Lewis and Tony Ramos, followed by Ric Bretschneider, Geetesh Bajaj, Julie Terberg and Rick Altman.
- Sandy: Then we brought on the Hardrockers. A core group of inaugural members from whom we sought advice for building the org. For example Troy…
- Echo: And our advisory board includes: Nancy Duarte, Cliff Atkinson, Jerry Weissman and Garr Reynolds.
What are the Guild’s hopes and goals to accomplish?
- Legitimize the industry by making people aware that presentation professionals actually exist.
- We’re not your typical board of directors. We’re a working board because we can’t afford staff yet, so we all spend time making sure Guild stuff is done.
- We have launched our first committee and that is an outgrowth of Guild Members from all over the globe making recommendations on programs and benefits for their peers.
Who are potential members and what is the annual cost and process?
- Any one who works in the presentation industry, from designers to graphics ops to speaking coaches. Annual dues are only $99. You can join at PresentationGuild.org.
What has the Presentation Guild accomplished so far?
- Echo: To me it sometimes feels like nothing, but the reality is, we’ve done a lot. We are an incorporated entity and formally an official not-for-profit organization. Probably the next biggest thing, and huge props to Stephy Lewis for this, was getting a professional website up and running. Lately our focus is working on benefits and resources. We have discussion forums where you can ask questions and connect with other presentation folks, recently added a job board so members can post and apply for available jobs.
- Sandy: Don’t forget the salary survey. Which is free to members! We’re already preparing the survey questions for next year, so look for announcements in the Guild newsletter.
- Sandy: We offer webinars. Troy and Nolan have both played a large role by hosting these monthly events. Echo. Julie Terberg does a monthly 20-minute Inspired by Design webinar, again free to members. We’ve had Microsoft folks walking us through new PowerPoint features, we’ve done one about legal language that those in our profession should be aware of (thanks for hosting that one, Troy!), we’ve had webinars on presentation software such as Haiku Deck and Prezi.
- Sandy: A good point is The Presentation Guild is a software agnostic organization.
- Echo: And in the future may be an occasional “Ask the Expert” panel.
Let’s talk about the Presentation Summit and the Presentation Guild; are they connected?
- Echo: There is lots of confusion on this. I think that’s because many of the Guild board members have been speaking at the Presentation Summit conference for many years. Everyone from both organizations is super passionate about this industry, so it’s not surprising we’re involved in both. But they are two distinct entities.
- Echo: The Guild will has a presence at the Summit. It is sponsoring the t-shirt this year, and the Summit is offering the first 100 registrants a free Guild memberships ($99 value). Just register at presentationsummit.com.
What else is in the works for down the road?
- Echo: Our next big push will be certifications. We expect to have some kind of certification available next year. That’s the goal.
- Sandy: We’re working on an affinity program that is exclusive to the needs of the presentation professional. For example, we’re not going to be offering discounts on auto insurance, instead, members will have discounted access to add-ins, equipment, etc., that is relevant to the work we do.
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