For a SAS professional, presenting at SAS Global Forum 2017 can be a very rewarding. It can enhance your conference experience, help expand the knowledge of the broader SAS community, and advance your career by putting you on display as an expert SAS professional. It can also be a little scary, especially if you’ve never presented to an audience of SAS peers, or you have, but still get nervous thinking about the process of submitting an idea, preparing your talk and presenting it live.
Luckily, your SAS Global Forum Executive Board has created an incredible resource available to help would-be presenters: the SAS Global Forum Presenter Mentoring Program. I recently sat down with Stephanie Thompson and Cindy Wilson, the mentoring program leads, to learn a little more about this awesome service and how it can help presenters feel great about their upcoming presentation.
Larry LaRusso: I have an idea for a paper to submit for SAS Global Forum but I am not sure how to put this idea into a submission. Can the mentoring program help?
Cindy Wilson: It sure can! You can get help in preparing your abstract submission through the Presenter Mentoring Program. But, that’s just the start of the service. Presenter Mentors can help with all aspects of your submission.
LL: And that means help developing an abstract concept right through putting together the final presentation?
CW: Yes. Presenter Mentors will help you develop your concept for consideration by the conference team. If your submission is accepted, they will help you right up through the conference. Help using the paper template, presentation tips, focusing your paper on conveying how you used SAS to solve your problem, and even tips for getting the most out of SAS Global Forum are all ways a Presenter Mentor can help.
LL: Can anyone, anywhere with an idea request a mentor?
Stephanie Thompson: Over the years, I have worked with potential presenters from all over the U.S. and the world. Everyone with an idea is welcome to request assistance.
LL: What types of SAS users serve as mentors?
CW: Presenter Mentors are seasoned SAS users and SAS Global Forum presenters who are willing to share their knowledge with those needing help. They come from many types of industries and have experience in all areas of SAS. Some focus on breakout sessions and others e-Posters, so all types of presentations are covered. Mentees are matched with the Presenter Mentor who best fits in terms of the topic of the paper, industry area, and communication preferences.
LL: Will mentors edit my paper?
ST: The purpose of the Presenter Mentoring Program is really to help potential presenters develop their ideas and bring out the SAS of their work. The paper is the work of the submitter and Presenter Mentors want the author’s voice to come through. Editing is not the focus of the program. However, there have been occasions where I have worked with authors whose first language is not English. If help editing is requested, I have helped as much as I could. This is something the mentor and mentee would discuss. Presenter Mentors are SAS experts and not professional editors, certainly something to keep in mind.
LL: Tell me a little about your experience as a Presenter Mentor for past SAS Global Forums.
ST: I have really enjoyed working with presenters across the world. So many people have some great ideas to share and sometimes they just need a little help putting it all together. Several mentees that I have worked with have become regular presenters at SAS Global Forum and I have kept in touch with a few others over the years. I truly enjoy getting to meet them at the conference after working with them beforehand.
LL: Who do you think can benefit from a Presenter Mentor?
CW: Students who want to transform their research into a SAS Global Forum paper can benefit. Many times the research results are interesting but the focus of the conference paper needs to be how you used SAS to get those results. First-time attendees can also benefit by learning what the norms and expectations are for submissions. Once you have been through the process once, it is easier the next time. Mentors help make that first experience go smoothly. Lastly, anyone who just needs a second set of eyes or a little help getting their ideas across can benefit from the program. No one is turned away.