SocialMedia.orgSocialMedia.org Leadership Retreat

SocialMedia.org Leadership Retreat

Austin, TX  /  September 13-14, 2016

Exclusively for SocialMedia.org Chairs

We’re trying something new: An exclusive, intimate event for the people who lead their SocialMedia.org memberships.

This is an inspiring, lightly structured meetup for those who have the responsibility of leading their social media teams at the world’s greatest brands.

We’re all about bringing leaders together for deep conversations, and for this event, we’re focusing on the highest level of social media leaders for in-depth conversations on the unique leadership challenges you face.

This is going to be different from the Member Meeting experience. It’ll be more exclusive, completely private, and conversation-focused. Members will pick topics and lead discussions in a casual format designed to maximize connections and conversations.

Two days of great conversations with other leaders who get you, what you do, and the opportunities and challenges you face.

In two inspiring and fun days, you’ll connect with the people leading social media (and their SocialMedia.org memberships) at big brands just like you.

We’ll be more focused on leadership topics at this meeting, and we’ll do it on a wide range of formats:

  • Members will lead discussions on major topics we’ll announce ahead of time. (We’ll reach out in the weeks leading up to the event to invite you to lead a discussion.)
  • We’ll have special guest speakers leading big-picture topics.
  • We’ll have unconferences where we’ll pick topics on the fly based on what matters most in the moment.

You’ll build some of the best connections and friendships you’ll ever make in this business.

We’re bringing together the leaders at the very top of the world’s biggest social media programs, and then we’ll do what we always do: Make it really easy for you to have great conversations and build relationships.

We’re intentionally keeping our schedule lighter and more free-flowing than typical Member Meetings. We’re building in extra time for you to connect with peers in small groups and one-on-one settings.

You’ll leave with new friends (and stronger connections with longtime ones) who you can count on for advice and support. We all know leading social media can be a tough, lonely job — but as a member of this family, you don’t have to go it alone.

This is the most exclusive meeting of social media leaders anywhere.

It’s not just vendor-free, it’s not just social media leaders — it’s exclusively for SocialMedia.org Chairs. You’ll be surrounded by people who have your job, at the very top of their respective social media programs.

As the head of your social media program, the issues you face are different. This is that incredibly rare opportunity to dig into those challenges with your peers.

Frankly, there’s just no other opportunity like this.

We’ll meet on our ranch in Austin. You’ll experience a great place to relax, outdoor space to explore, and lots of great food and drinks to keep you energized.

We’ll meet at our headquarters in Austin, nestled on our ranch. Our facilities offer both space and intimacy. It’s the perfect setting to unplug for a couple days to connect with your fellow SocialMedia.org Chairs.

We invested in this facility to provide better member-experiences more cost-effectively. (That’s one of the reasons we can offer this event for free.)

We’re going to be surrounded by acres of green space, and we’ll have a diverse set of meeting rooms, lounges, outdoor areas, and gathering spaces to choose from throughout the event. We’ll set you loose to get to know each other (all with our usual moderator finesse to make sure you’re connecting with great people and that you’re completely taken care of). As always, we’ll make sure you have great food and drink options so you can stay energized and focused on making the most of the event.

Everyone will stay at a hotel downtown, only 15 minutes away — so you’ll experience the fun of the heart of Austin too.


Leadership Retreat Agenda

Tuesday, September 13

9:00 AM Pre-Event Meetups (Optional)

We’re coordinating informal, optional pre-event activities where you can get to know your fellow SocialMedia.org Chairs in a unique setting.

11:30 AM Shuttle Leaves from Hotel
12:00 PM Community Lunch

We’ll begin with a big lunch together. It’s Austin, so it’ll be tasty — and there’ll be as much tofu as there is meat.

1:30 PM Guest speaker: Flash Visual Note-Taking 101, by Sunni Brown
2:30 PM Member-led Sessions
3:15 PM Break
4:00 PM Unconferences (3 rounds, 25 minutes each)
5:30 PM Break
6:00 PM The Big BBQ

After our sessions, we’ll end with a great meal together with social activities. We’ll continue our conversations from the afternoon, and you’ll compare notes and build relationships with your fellow social media leaders.

8:00 PM Shuttle Back to Hotel

We’ll bus everyone back to the hotel downtown where you’re welcome to continue socializing or head to the live music scene down the street.

Wednesday, September 14

7:30 AM Shuttle Leaves from Hotel
8:00 AM Breakfast and Conversations
9:00 AM Community Experience: Whirligig Productions
9:30 AM Break
9:45 AM Member-led Sessions
10:30 AM Break
10:45 AM Unconferences (2 rounds, 25 minutes each)
11:45 AM Community Lunch

We’ll break for lunch together to enjoy some great local food and then stretch our legs on a casual hike. We’ll keep the conversations going as we re-energize and explore.

1:00 PM Guest speaker: Set Your Communities Free, by Jake McKee
1:30 PM Unconferences (3 rounds, 25 minutes each)
3:00 PM End of Sessions — Say Goodbye!

We’ll end right on time with shuttles to help you get to the airport.

3:00 PM Shuttles Back

We’ll have shuttles first taking members back to the Hilton Austin Downtown and to the airport, and then on to the post-event activities for those who are sticking around.

3:30 PM Post-Event Meetups (Optional)

We’re coordinating informal, optional post-event meetups if you’re planning on sticking around after the event.


Special guest speakers

Flash Visual Note-Taking 101

Presented by: Sunni Brown

Note-taking doesn’t have to stink. Tracking content using imagery, color, word pictures, and typography can change the way you understand information and dramatically increase your level of retention. Learn to stop suffering through note-taking that works against our brain’s structure and start creating visual maps that actually impact how you learn from the author of “The Doodle Revolution,” Sunni Brown.

Whirligig Productions on Presence, Risk, Acceptance

Presented by: Robert Matney, Liz Fisher, and Kirk Lynn

In this playful, interactive reconsideration of The Emperor’s New Clothes, you will be anonymously polled and invited to assess your comfort with Presence, Risk, and Acceptance in your lives. You’ll also be encouraged to begin a meaningful conversation with someone who sees it differently.

Set Your Communities Free

Presented by: Jake McKee

In the last 15+ years, we’ve seen online communities rise and fall and rise again. How can we build online communities to be successful for the long term, without being so dependent on ever-changing budgets or business priorities? Set them free! Turn them over to your community members from Day 1 and invest in the community, rather than trying to own it yourself. Jake McKee, who ran both Apple and Lego’s communities, will propose a radical idea for more impact and protection from corporate whims: setting your communities free.


Details, FAQ, and other helpful things to know.

Where should I stay?

We recommend staying at the Hilton Austin Downtown (500 E. 4th Street).

Should I rent a car?

We’ll have transportation at the Hilton Austin hotel to and from our ranch. You can drive if you want to, but you won’t need a car to attend this event. Our ranch is in northeast Austin, at 10300 Springdale Rd.

What should I wear?

Dress comfortable and casual — even more so than you would for a Member Meeting. We’re going to be outdoors and exploring at times, so wear jeans and shoes you don’t mind getting a little dirt on.

What should I bring?

We’re keeping this as casual and comfortable as possible. You won’t need your laptop or your briefcase. Just show up, and we’ll take care of the rest.

What will the pre- and post-event activities include?

Something for everyone! Before the event starts, your three options are a puzzle-solving adventure at The Escape Game Austin, an outdoor kayaking/paddleboarding experience on Lady Bird Lake at Congress Avenue Kayaks, or breakfast at downtown Austin’s oldest restaurant, Annies Cafe & Bar. After the event, you’ll have the option of relaxing with food and drink at Easy Tiger, or challenging yourself physically at Austin Bouldering Project. These activities are all informal and optional, with additional costs at registration. Stay tuned for more details.

I can’t make it, can I send my colleague?

Sorry, this event is for SocialMedia.org Chairs only. No substitutions.

I’m having trouble deciding between this and another SocialMedia.org event, which should I choose?

We know you’re busy, and we don’t expect every member to make it to every event. If you’re deciding between this, a Member Meeting, and the Brands-Only Summit, we’d suggest: You should come to the Leadership Retreat, send your team to the Member Meeting, and everyone should be at the Brands-Only Summit.

I have another question.

No problem! Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.