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Five Questions for Michelle Cardinal

By Lisa Gualtieri / June 2009

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I interviewed Michelle Cardinal, Director of Conferences for IQPC, on her use of social media, knowing that she used it heavily in planning and promoting the Corporate University Summit where I presented a keynote address.

Lisa Neal Gualtieri: How do you use social media?

Michelle Cardinal: I used AIM in college, and then after college I stayed in touch with classmates that way. Later, Facebook was ideal for staying in touch, as well as for finding and being found by classmates from college, high school, even grade school. I was anti-Blackberry for a number of years, but have really embraced the opportunities of social networking while out of the office and now use it to tweet a conference like this. I also monitor Twitter for attendees' comments and retweet it when people say something great and also leave a message on Facebook. And I found many of our speakers on LinkedIn.

LG: I went to a Health 2.0 conference last month where they had a large monitor showing Twitter. Would you do that too?

MC: It is definitely something to explore for a large event. It depends on the hotel and the availability of Internet access. Ideally, if meeting rooms have access, I would let people know in advance so they come prepared to use Twitter. It gives us a lot of instantaneous feedback on what people liked or didn't like, and it's also free marketing for our conferences.

LG: Is there ever a downside?

MC: If someone with a high following doesn't like what a speaker has said, it can immediately be Tweeted and is sometimes linked with the conference. The speaker doesn't have a fair chance to respond to such comments immediately, and some comments can be taken out of context.

LG: Tell me about your model for conference planning.

MC: Conference planning all starts with a significant amount of research in the market place to find the challenges, industry benchmarks, etc. From this, we're able to determine what should be on the agenda, and we take it from there. Sometimes a niche topic becomes a conference due to the immediate need of the industry.

LG: You have an upcoming event about social media. What will you cover there?

MC: Many companies want to try social media but don't know how to start. They put a toe in the water to see if the water's the right temperature for them.

[The upcoming conference] will focus on how to convince senior management to move forward and what to do to get started. We will also cover what companies need to be aware of. An attorney will talk about the legal issues. Case studies [will be presented by] companies that are using [social media] and seeing the ROI. Many companies block access to Facebook and Twitter, and it makes sense to take precautions because of viruses and worms, but not to lose the opportunity.

About the Author
Lisa Neal Gualtieri is editor-in-chief of eLearn Magazine and an e-learning consultant.


  • Wed, 01 Jul 2009
    Post by Ludo Van Vooren

    Twitter can be great at a conference. I would encourage any organizer to establish and promote a #tag for their event well ahead of time. I was recently hired by an association to organize and cover their conference on Twitter and many attendees found great benefits from it. Beyond their contributions and comments, the twitter stream became a "common" set of notes they could use after the event. I was doing stream augmentation from the back of the room, posting links and additional data for each presentation being made (e.g. link to amazon for books mentioned by the speaker). I was also solliciting questions from people not present at the event and relaying them to the speakers. Finally, I posted text and video recaps after each day on the conference blog. This is definitely a new way of conducting events and it is great!

  • Sat, 21 Mar 2009
    Post by marieclaire

    Hard to believe her clinical supervisors were unaware of the fact that she was practicing without a license. As far as I know, professional ethics holds supervisors responsible for the well-being of the supervisees'' clients. Did this not come up during the trial? MC

  • Wed, 12 Mar 2008
    Post by IV

    Forget all the support for Ms. Wightman. She did not meet the requirements set forth by the commonwealth. End of story. If you call yourself a psychologist, you must meet the minimum legal requirements in doing so. She failed to do that. The stripper part did not play any role in her conviction, it only titillated the public''s perverse interest in sex scandals (see Elliot Spitzer). Otherwise, have no sympathy for this woman''s conviction. I should add that the loss of her daughter in a car crash was an unrelated and tragic incident that happened to occur in the interim between her indictment and her trial. For this, it is OK to have much sympathy; but when you break the law and practice healing arts without a license, you should expect this kind of public reaction and reprimand.

  • Wed, 23 May 2007
    Post by George

    The possibilities are endless. Fact is - Ms. WIghtman testified on her own behalf, under oath. She was the only witness for her defense to speak of. The prosecution did not allow for much else. Not once was she tripped up on cross - she was telling the truth which was obvious to us and to the jury. This is why she was found not guilty on the weightiest charges. I should re-write this as she was NOT GUILTY on the WEIGHTIEST CHARGES. The coloring from her past colors how we fill in the gaps to the story. Her testimony was not found to be in contempt. You must let it stand on its own. Ms. Wightman stated she was working in a small private practice under the supervision of several licensed individuals to include Robert Fox LICSW and Karen Beason Patrick, a licensed psychologist with whom she formed a business, who was also a graduate of MSPP. Ms. Wightman further states that she was trying to finish her dissertation, had collected ALL of the data and had completed ALL of her coursework (yes it was admitted into evidence), and was railroaded, caught off guard, when she was confronted with being in private practice and as having been a stripper - the conclusion was made that she was therefore being sexually inappropriate with patients! She had to sit in a room with seven "psychologists" or people in the "helping profession" who were nothing short of humiliating. She was not the only person in the school to have a private practice. In fact, she mentioned a Danielle Detorra from Stow, Massachusetts, who was also being supervised by Karen Patrick, and who was STILL working as a stripper in Providence. Wightman had allegedly guided her so she could pay her tuition bills. She was not harassed. In listening to Norbett Mintz, Wightman''s advisor, on the stand, he contradicted himself blatantly! Maybe if Wightman had a more experienced attorney the Commonwealth''s witnesses could have been shown more obviously to not be telling the truth. The story is far from over, and is less about one woman than it is about human behavior, scapegoating and cultural norms and assumptions, not to mention the politcal process.

  • Tue, 22 May 2007
    Post by Lesa Huber

    That was hilarious, Lisa. Do you think these people have a "they''ll never check my degree out" attitude? I just had to go through a re-application for my own job this spring. (Good news, I''m still employed) But I was surprised to see a line on the application stating that my credentials would be checked out. I had never seen that before. It''s been over 10 years since I technically applied for a job, so perhaps this group was similarly unaware that credential checking is a new reality. Or maybe they really are just that stupid. Very enjoyable column! Lesa