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A Personal Reflection of the 2019 IFVP Conference by Brandon Black


Before the flights, food, and fellowship this five worked their fingers to the bone getting the conference to take shape. I especially want to take a moment to appreciate Leah Silverman. Thanks again for your time, talent, treasure, and trust! Also, congratulations to Philip Bakelaar for becoming the President of The IFVP Institute and thanks again for opening up your university home to us. 



From a presidential manicure to the dynamic duo of co-MCs Christina Hemmingsen and José Luis Anzizar, enthusiasm reigns supreme according to the first keynote speaker Thomas E. Franklin. It's no wonder why IFVP continues to grow and evolve when you have such passionate and capable leadership on all levels.



At the 2016 IFVP Conference in Washington, D.C., recall seeing Jeroen boldly declare, "I'm going to do it!" It being–produce a book based on the jumble of concepts thoughts trapped in his mind. I could tell for him that this commitment was a relief and an acknowledgment that he would not have to go on this journey alone. Three years, 50 contributors, and three editors later The World of Visual Facilitation is here! Jeroen, along with many of the contributors, took the stage to unveil the beautiful full-color masterpiece and present David Sibbet with the first copy. I got one and Jeroen was kind enough to sign it. Get yours here!



The incomparable Rob Evans gave us this jewel during the second keynote. The initial context was about how we engage potential clients who devalue our work, but I see it as the meta-theme of his talk. Are we willing to bring not only ourselves but our "camels" too?

This is why it was important for me to lead with the fact that I am a husband and father–who would also love to be paid $100k for a logo design–during the business panel with an amazing ensemble of other practitioners. (As you can see, Donatella just said something that blew my mind!) AND equally important for me to introduce the idea that there is untapped or overlooked talent everywhere, usually in the form of a "person of color".


This was also the first time in three conferences that I scribed a session. Jane Harvey and I went tandem for Anne Gibbons's session on Expressive Figure Drawing.


I was lucky enough to have Tanya Gadsby give me an hour of mentoring. Tanya is awesome and a great follow on LinkedIn.  She is consistently posting amazing and innovative work. I won't gush too much, but I am a fan. Experience in our field is so abundant, but I have to admit I often feel like I'm working on an island at times. Focused mentoring was a great addition to this year's conference and I'm sooooo glad I took advantage of it. While she didn't teach me how to juggle markers, we did discuss everything from product to pricing to process and she was kind enough to take a look at an infographic project I was working through. Thanks again, Tanya!


This evening defies description. Do yourself a favor and click here and be on the lookout for Kathrine Torrini.


At my first conference, I filled every possible minute with session goodness and left with a conference hangover. This year I gave myself permission to leave breathing room for moments to just be or meet new people. Some of these moments included an impromptu crystal powered energy circle with Brandy Augerbeck...

The purchase of some raffle tickets... 

And winning a couple of things...

Sharing Ethiopian food with dear friends...

Meeting Susan Kelly...

How often do you get to meet living legends? Well, if you're in the IFVP crowd, the answer is once a year. Susan and I had met virtually. One of her most recent endeavors was the completion of an online resource called The Big Picture. When I grow up, I hope and pray that I'm still as productive and giving as this beautiful, young lady.

And Laura "The Lobster Lady"...

It doesn't matter if Laura is from half a world away...we became fast friends. Before taking the stage for the business panel, Laura encouraged me to speak up for inclusion if given the opportunity. 

My ultimate goal was to be able to return home with as enough energy to be present with my awaiting family including my then 9-month-old baby girl, Ellery. Mission accomplished. 


At the end of the conference, we had the opportunity to say a word about how we were feeling after the experience. My word was "lucky". With more time to reflect I would say that a more fitting word is "blessed". It's an honor to be a member of this community and be among so many thoughtful, generous, talented people. As always, your attention is appreciated. 

Love, Brandon


A very special shout-out to my partner in conference social media, Lisa 'Talmage' Allen. We met, strategized, and executed! I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you. 


Flight or fight?

Hi Brandon, great recap but I'm hoping your first sentence was "flights" as we really were a cohesive team. The only fight may have been over who got the last piece of expensive chocolate when the committee all spent the week together at the Montclair guesthouse. Looking forward to the FLIGHTS, food, and fellowship to and during the Berkeley 2020 conference!