PACT Says “Hi-owa” to the 2018 TECNA Summer Conference in Des Moines

By Danielle Pinto, Director, Events

The Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) is an association of approximately 50 IT and technology trade organizations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  It’s the collective voice of organizations like PACT in North America.  TECNA members gather throughout the year to share best practices, collaborate on issues of public policy, and discuss how we can better serve the interests of our member companies (like you), which collectively number over 22,000.

In July, I attended TECNA’s annual Summer Conference, which was hosted by The Technology Association of Iowa on July 24th through the 26th in downtown Des Moines. As I have for the past three years now, I savored the opportunity to meet colleagues from a diverse array of tech ecosystems: Portland, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Kansas City, Birmingham, Phoenix, Atlanta, West Palm Beach, and Waterloo, Ontario.

So many elements factor into the challenges and opportunities of each tech community, and while I love straining my eyes over infographics that present a statistical snapshot of Philly in comparison to other hubs, it’s just as valuable to share stories with the people driving innovation in other destinations. Especially when you’re swapping those stories over bottles of craft beer and a meal of farm-fresh everything. (In Iowa, everything is farm-fresh.)

At this year’s summer conference, I attended sessions and had extended conversations about:

  1. Policy work being done on the state and national levels around issues such as immigration and CS education.
  2. Workforce development initiatives.
  3. Leveraging relationships with universities to retain graduating students.
  4. Attracting mid-career and millennial talent from outside the state.
  5. Refreshed program and event content.
  6. Improving your member experience.

I also facilitated a session on building diverse, equitable, and inclusive tech hubs. We talked about leaks in the tech pipeline, and discussed programming and initiatives in our respective hubs working to plug those leaks: plans to increase board diversity, partnerships with organizations like to address inequity in CS education, tools leveraging the concept of design thinking to encourage more inclusive dialogue in meetings, at roundtables and events.  It was fascinating to compare the approaches of teams in cities with vastly different demographics – what may work in Birmingham may not work in Salt Lake City, and vice versa.  The one consensus to come out of the conversation was that, for an organization with a reach that spans 22,000 technology related companies in North America, TECNA members have a lot of collective power to make a positive impact.

I encourage you to visit the TECNA website to learn more about the organization and the scope of the work TECNA does on behalf of organizations like PACT – and by extension, for you. And if you’d like to learn more about a particular initiative, would like an intro to a TECNA organization in another destination, or want to hear some of the dozens of Iowa puns I came up with while my flight home from the conference was delayed, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email to learn more.