What it was like attending the 2017 AILA Conference
Arriving to New Orleans for the AILA conference was intimidating. I didn’t know what to expect.
Who was I? I am just someone that does the advertising for PERM cases. I’m not a lawyer, paralegal, or employer. I felt in the grand scheme of the conference, I was an ant.
However, there were a ton of other ants there. I realized I was in a room full of labor certification advertising agencies, translators, investment firms, people that help with filing, evaluation firms, etc. Obviously we are here for a reason. Every role serves a purpose in the world of immigration law.
It quickly became clear to me that without this room full of ants, maybe the lawyer’s/paralegal’s jobs would be even harder. Maybe an advertising step would be missed, a document wouldn’t be translated properly, and maybe the filings of PERM cases wouldn’t be completed.
The conference was a big event that spanned across two hotels in downtown New Orleans. The lawyers/paralegals/attorneys, etc were busy most of the trip taking classes and attending seminars. There was a lot of downtime where they could come see the ants.
It was a big kick-off when there was an open bar (understandably so.) In addition to learning that everyone likes a free drink, I learned that what I had to say mattered. These people I saw as “above me” or “bigger” than I could be, needed to know that I provided competent skills, strong knowledge, and awareness of the industry. They needed to know how I could help them. Most importantly, they were normal people.
I spoke to people that were overwhelmed by having to do all of the advertising themselves. I met people that used other advertisers and were disappointed.
I shook hands with new attorneys, old attorneys, and firm owners themselves.
It was cool.
“What makes you different?”
A good question.
At first I didn’t know how to answer.
But I know me, and I know our agency. I know that we work hard each and every day to be as seamless as possible.
When I say I am constantly communicating with my clients, that isn’t an understatement. From 8:30 a.m. to sometimes 10 p.m. or later, I will answer an email.
I truly will do whatever it takes to be the best because why do anything less?
I would say a fire lit inside me while being at this conference.
I always liked what I do and always knew it was important, but seeing the people I am helping and understanding the true importance of this, was eye-opening.
The experience made me want to be better. I can say that I am good at my job, but I wanted to prove it to them. I wanted to come home and get every single lawyer in the country as clients. I wanted to prove to anyone and everyone that we do a great job. I wanted to be that mighty ant that carries 10x its body weight on its back.
I learned that we were different from other advertisers there. We have a lot of strengths when it comes to our pricing and our process. I met many lovely lawyers. I even met a few current clients. We have already gotten a few new clients from attending, and that is what feels the best. I met these people and somehow convinced them enough to have them call and place with us. It is nice to know that I could show up and prove that everything I told them that day was true, and they would be happy with our service. I encourage anyone to get out there and see the other side of the work they do. Meet the clients, prospect, meet your competitors, and take it all as a learning experience. If you’re not constantly trying to learn and grow in your business, then what are you doing?
I felt welcomed and confident being at the AILA conference. I realized that I’m not just some young person behind a computer doing tedious work. What I do matters and it is important in the grand scheme of things. Because of my assistance, in some way, people from all over the world are getting jobs they are qualified for here, and that is something much bigger than placing a newspaper ad.
That’s not bad for being an ant.