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Monday, May 6, 2019

Conferences as Internal and External Marketing

I sometimes hear members complain that DKG is not well known in the educational community—that it is a “well-kept secret.” Many attribute this lack of recognition to the rather secretive development of the Society in a time when women were not permitted to belong to professional organizations. The Founders did, indeed, “cloak” Delta Kappa Gamma in the trappings of a sorority, complete with highly personalized invitations to participate and closed-door meetings and rituals. Unfortunately, members initiated some 50-70 years later, at the end of the 1900s, often still retained this sense of secrecy—even though times had changed radically. Only recently are members realizing the need to share the worth of DKG through internal and external marketing.

To be recognized, DKG must be a visible force for professionalism and promotion of excellence in education, and the recent shift in focus for the international conferences—from region to theme—is a long-needed step in this direction. Planners of the 2019 international conferences are devoted to the notion that these events will promote a more professional image of the Society both internally and externally. A quick glance at the lists of speakers and workshops available, for example, suggests the opportunities for members to engage in rich offerings related to professional themes pertinent to their fields and interests. When a member comes away so enriched, she becomes both a recipient of and a force for internal marketing, able to embrace and emphasize what the Society offers to a key woman educator.

For many members, attendance at and reimbursement for DKG conferences and conventions requires approval from professional supervisors. Unfortunately, some members have experienced rejection of their requests in the past because outsiders who looked at proposed programs did not see their professional value. Theme-based conferences will help to address this dilemma, demonstrating a professional focus that will encourage approval by supervisors.

In a similar way, as the theme-based conferences develop in the future, they will have more drawing power for nonmembers who are interested in the topic at hand. In this way, DKG will become known as an educational force promoting professional growth and excellence in education. Such external marketing may also help to attract new members to the Society.

Thus, the new direction for DKG’s international conferences is yet another way that Society leaders envision working to keep us forward moving ever.

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