By Lynn Ponder: I have been to many great conferences this year, but this past week I was honored to be invited as media to The Ford Motor Company Annual Trends Go Further Conference in Dearborn, Michigan. A fun experience and the opportunity to learn from such an extraordinary brand, meet their top tier talent and the networking was exceptional.
The feeling at arrival was like a welcome from a loving family that has lots of remarkable stories to share. Ford treats employees as family and this feeling was felt immediately as we were welcomed at the Hospitality Ford Lounge and actually when we arrived at the airport there was another super friendly welcome team ready to escort us and drive us to the hotel.
It is not an easy task to coordinate an event where you are hosting travel for 256 guests and I know this for a fact, having been a producer for most of my career. Kudos to the remarkable team at Ford headed by Fashionista and Ford Event Manager, Marisa Bradley who conducted an outstanding event with the help of an awesome team including sweetness and mega efficient Tony McCloud! I owe Tony a 101 Twitter talk
Our evening started at the Ford Field with a talk by Bill Ford and David Kirkpatrick a best selling author, a journalist and an expert on the ever-increasing impact of technology on our daily lives. Bill Ford discussed how from his younger years had an interest in the environment, influenced by his grandfather. He talked about his challenges at Ford to make the company move in the direction of sustainability and green initiatives not only for the sake of the company but as a responsibility to society and a contribution for a better world. After this talk I had a green crush LOL!
David Kirkpatrick and Bill Ford:
Followed by an experience on the football field which was such a cool feeling and now I know how a NFL player feels or kind of! We took pictures, played some football and had an awesome time to kick-off this media tour and learn all about The Ford Motor Company.
Me, Megan Garafola from Social Ogilvy and the Team on the Ford Field:
Next morning call time was at 7am with a full-day schedule to learn about Ford Trends Sessions. We were divided in (4) different groups so we could experience what this company is about in every aspect, which started with the Streamline & Simplify Session about Ford’s connectivity technologies with a focus to create technology that adds value to the consumer, not just add technology for the sake of it.
Ford green initiatives at the Eco-Psychology Trends panel had special Hollywood celebrity guest Adrian Grenier and his partner independent film producer Peter Glatzer. I was so fortunate to interview Adrian and he was so friendly/nice, as he is on a mission to promote his green lifestyle platform SHFT.com.
Cut to a Trend Session Age of Accessible Design where I met reality fashion designer Christian Siriano from Proyect Runway. After this panel we visited the actual craftsmanship area where I found out that cars are sculptured with clay by real artists. Of course that there is a metal base and hundreds of designs are created before it goes into this stage of sculpturing, but it was a fascinating fact to me!
Me and Christian Siriano, Fashion Designer Winner from “Project Runway”:
Going Beyond The Physical was another interesting Trend Session where we were taken into Ford’s Virtual Reality Labs where designers and engineers can virtually bring a vehicle to life long before its built.
We closed with last Trend Session titled Urbanization where I learned about a system called Zipcar which is a really good idea for city living. Zipcar offers Ford Focus and Escape vehicles among others for rent by the hour or the day to residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car particularly in large urban centers. Ford understands there is no single and unique solution and is focused on being part of the solutions for a better world without a doubt.
That evening we were taken to TechShop Detroit where Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally made an appearance and talked about his passion and dedication to this amazing company. After his talk I was introduced to him by Scott Monty, Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager at Ford as one of the TOP Tweeters for Ford WEPA! That was such a meaningful moment for me ..imaginate!!!
Ford Motor Company, CEO Alan Mulally during my special moment:
Another amazing moment for me was when I got to interview Scott Monty, who happens to be my idol in Social Media. Scott is a brilliant mind that has taken Ford to the next level in the social space, making him one of the Top 10 Social Media Influencers in the US.
This 3-day experience made me feel part of the Ford Family and so grateful for the opportunities I have had to work on their social media out reach programs for the Hispanic market!