By: Paul Omodt, IABC-MN board member

For the past four years, I’ve found one day each year to be particularly valuable to me as a communications professional: IABC Minnesota’s annual CONVERGENCE Summit conference.

CONVERGENCE Summit brings together the Midwest’s leading communicators, public relations educators, and communication researchers who eagerly share what is new and fresh in the field all in a convenient one-day conference. CONVERGENCE Summit has become my annual must-do.

What makes CONVERGENCE Summit so beneficial is its focus on innovative communications and research-backed advances to the profession. The combined skills of the University of Minnesota’s communication practitioners and researchers alongside the best-and-brightest from IABC’s members, bring out relevant topics and insightful points of view—all in my own backyard.

CONVERGENCE Summit offers the type of information you typically find at a national conference right here in Minnesota and at a price, size and scale that makes it intimate and meaningful. I’ve gotten fresh insights into changing perceptions of trust around the world from Edelman. I’ve tapped deeper into my creative side with our friends from Brave New Workshop. I’ve been inspired by the wisdom and pure energy of Great Clips CEO Rhoda Olsen. Best of all, I have been able to probe the minds and expertise of speakers during informal sessions after the presentation. Spending time talking one-on-one with keynoters, CEOs and industry leaders is one of those things you typically can’t do at a big national conference.

CONVERGENCE Summit always offers a fresh mix of keynote speakers, panels, breakout sessions, and main stage presentations that keep the day interesting and engaging. Last year, the University of Minnesota’s Steven Wehrenberg presented his compelling research on how people respond to the adoption of creative ideas. This was the first time his research was seen by a broad Midwest audience. His look at archetypes on the continuums of Stability-Flexibility and Independence-Interdependence were thought provoking for anyone who needs to move new ideas within an organization. According to Wehrenberg’s research, internal cultural norms play a large role in how new ideas are perceived – something you don’t find in textbooks but you will find at CONVERGENCE.

I’ve also had the opportunity to present the latest academic research on how the C-suite selects crisis communicators, alongside my friend and colleague from the University of St. Thomas’ Dr. Mike Porter. Our findings on how the “butler” or the “mercenary” are most likely to appear and be selected to serve the C-suite generated great interest among crisis communication practitioners. This was the first time this research was presented and gave CONVERGENCE attendees a first glimpse of what was truly new information.

Best of all, I have expanded my professional network and been able to find others to discuss perspectives on current communications challenges. CONVERGENCE attendees are always willing to share new ideas, challenge old ideas, and make me think. Bonding over CONVERGENCE Summit sessions and the always-popular dine-around or happy hour makes CONVERGENCE Summit especially memorable.

My annual local investment into my ongoing professional growth is right here in Minneapolis and it’s an exceptional value. When you see me at the fifth annual CONVERGENCE Summit, on Thursday, March 19, 2020. I look forward to finding out how the conference helped you grow and put a smile on your face.

Paul Omodt is a board member for IABC Minnesota and for IABC Pacific Plains Region.

Early-Early Special Registration Offer

Use up your 2019 budget and register by December 31, 2019 to receive the best available pricing on CONVERGENCE Summit 2020 – go to