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Mar 10, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

We get it: SourceCon can be a bit overwhelming for any first-time attendee. There are so many sessions, so many people, so many new concepts, that deciding on an action plan for yourself might seem complicated. The SourceCon solution? Meet the Welcome Wagon.

As you come to the registration area, you’ll notice two tables off to the side; one is for the ERE Foundation and its conference recipient, Girls Who Code, the other is the Welcome Wagon (you’ll notice the special shirts we’ll be wearing).

The Welcome Wagon is your in-person SourceCon portal; it’s where you can go to about the who, what, where, when, and why throughout the conference. Some of these questions might fall into these ten categories:

  1. This is my first SourceCon; where do I start? Probably our favorite question! Ask us this and be prepared for a personalized journey through the agenda and how the sessions fit your current sourcing challenges and sourcing career goals.
  2. I don’t know anyone here; what should I do? Look around; you’re not alone. Ask us this, and we’ll likely reach out (or for some of us, shout out) to others walking by and make introductions. That goes for meals too.
  3. MY. GOD! Is that Amybeth Quinn over there? It sure is. While she is a research goddess, she’s also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in your life. Hey, Amy! Come here; someone wants to meet you! In fact, we can arrange selfies with any of your SourceCon superstars.
  4. What’s this love affair between Sourcers and Chrome Extensions about? We’re not sure, but we think it has to do with the bumper sticker adage, “Whoever has the most things when they die wins.”
  5. I’m just learning how to Boolean; where should I start? Every person attending SourceCon has thought or said this at some point in their sourcing careers. Tell you what, open up that laptop of yours, describe in detail the position you are looking to fill, and someone on the Welcome Wagon will show you a few strings and strategies that are sure to amp up your love of sourcing. We can also point you in the direction of the daily Innovation Lab where companies are exhibiting cool sourcing technologies for you to try for free or on the cheap.
  6. There are two great sessions at the same time; what should I do? Our guess is that splitting time between sessions won’t diminish what you’ll learn. But if you’re torn between two sessions, why not reach out to each speaker and ask for a preview? We can help with the introductions. Keep in mind that you’ll have access to every SourceCon presentation after the conference. This year, the sessions are also divided by skill level and not by topic.
  7. There are so many great roundtables, but I need my Dean Da Costa fix; what am I supposed to do? Well, you’re not a tree, so you are free to check out other roundtables, no doubt Dean’s a smart one but so are all the people facilitating roundtable discussions. The beautiful thing about the roundtables is that not only will there be voluminous amounts of knowledge dropped at each table but that the facilitators are experienced at drawing together concepts that you’ll hear about at other tables. Sourcing is not a set of tasks performed in waterfall fashion but of parallel insights that work together. So spend time with Dean the Tool Guy but realize that Dean is also a great recruiter who wants you to soak up as much knowledge as you can at SourceCon. Yes, he wants you to play musical roundtables. And yes, we have him his own room this year.
  8. I’m not participating in the SourceCon Hackathon – should I attend? Imagine a courtside seat to the NBA Finals…a chair on the field-level 50-yard line at the Super Bowl…a bench overlooking the starting blocks at the Summer Olympics Natatorium. Yeah, you want to attend. Sit at a table. Look over someone’s shoulders. Try to figure out the answer even if you’re not a participant. Become part of the fabric of the sourcing community. This is why you’re here, right?
  9. Should I attend the SourceCon Happy Hour? We think so! It’s a very low-key way to introduce yourself to the people who will be occupying the seats next to you during the conference. Since most of the speakers will be attending, you’ll have the chance to get to know them on levels that go far beyond sourcing. In fact, don’t be surprised if the people you meet at SourceCon Happy Hour become some of your closest allies in the profession.
  10. Should I be posting to social media during SourceCon? Of course – Tweet (#SourceCon), Snap (@SourceCon), Insta (#SourceCon), Facebook (Live if you choose). Social is the cement on which the foundation of SourceCon was built. How about this: Why not use the social platforms to share the conference with your associates who couldn’t attend? Or with the communities where you focus your sourcing? Or to let the sourcing community know about what makes you tick? Or to the speakers with questions you couldn’t ask during their sessions? If you’re curious about the ins and outs of social at SourceCon, the Welcome Wagon is here for you. You can even tweet a question to our SourceCon Bot.

If there are specific questions we’ve missed, then we’re looking forward to you asking us in person. We all have likely had teachers who have opened the first day of class saying, “There are no dumb questions, just dumb teachers for not trying to answer.” We’re telling you, if we cannot answer it, we will try and find someone who can.

So stop by the Welcome Wagon table when you register, at any time during the conference, or by simply coming up to us wherever we might be at SourceCon; we’ll be the ones wearing shirts with this picture on the back:

See you in Anaheim!

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.