Reflections from #IOA2022: Herschenia Brown

By Herschenia Brown, MBA, CIHC, ADR, Owner of In Agreement Dispute Resolution, LLC

The experience that I had at the IOA 17th Annual Conference – “Belonging Together Reimaged” was unmatched! As my very first time attending the conference, there was an incredible amount of comradery, knowledge, information, and tools that I now have under my belt while I explore my career trajectory as an ombuds. With so many sessions to choose from, along with the opportunity to revisit the recordings, there was no stone left unturned. Also, from the comments during the Q&A sessions, many participants were eager to communicate in the near future to explore more questions outside of a session’s timeframe.

I have two absolute favorites I would like to share:

  1. Being that my background is in financial operations, accounting, and reporting, my absolute favorite session was “D3 – Reimagining Ombuds Reporting: New Tools and Techniques for Better Data Collection”, hosted by Chuck Doran, Megan Winkeler, and Colin Rule. As an aspiring ombuds, I have learned of different tools that people use in their practices to make the reporting as efficient as possible. However, from what I gathered from the feedback from the attendees, not enough reporting tools have features that capture specific critical data with full security and encryption measures that are critical to the core of the ombuds role. This session mentioned some effective reporting tools with this functionality and more! If you didn’t get the opportunity to attend this session, then it is definitely worth checking out.

  2. My favorite component of the conference was the technology on the platform — from the polls and chat features on each session to using Gather.Town to have private discussions with participants while seeing each other’s faces. This was a crucial piece for people to not only network but build relationships with other Ombuddies. This conference had the best technological means of connecting that I have ever seen in any virtual event during this time! As an added bonus, it was user-friendly.

It was clear that this year’s conference was very enlightening, even for the most tenured ombuds. What a great way to start my journey toward my commitment to contributing to this field!

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