How to Get Your Boss to Send You to LEAD Summit (AND Pay for It)

by: Arielle Sadler

Senior Technical Writer and Trainer at Texas Mutual Insurance Company
2022 LEAD Summit Committee Chair

Would you like to attend the Austin Young Chamber’s 5th LEAD Summit this year but aren’t sure how to get approval from your boss?

Good news! We’re here to help.

Asking for funds for a personal development activity is a delicate thing, but remember that it’s all about being persuasive and communicating how the LEAD Summit will help you do your job better and benefit your company.

Here are some simple steps to help you ask and justify your request.

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with LEAD Summit

Before you discuss the conference with your boss, you’ll definitely want to be prepared to answer some questions about the Summit. So, what are the key details you may need to know?

  • How long has LEAD Summit been running? The LEAD Summit was established in 2018 and is the first conference for young professionals in Central Texas. And hint: it’s a fantastic day!
  • What is the demographic of the speakers and the attendees? The LEAD Summit will feature over 20 diverse speakers from different backgrounds and industries coming together to share their experiences and expertise! Attendees will also be from a variety of industries including Technology, Finance, and Healthcare. Most attendees will be entry-level to mid-management professionals with a passion for leadership development and community involvement.
  • What are the dates of the conference and how long will you need to be away? The conference will take place in-person on April 29th at the University of Texas LBJ Auditorium and Thompson Conference Center.
  • What is the event format? LEAD Summit features a keynote speaker, interactive sessions, wellness activities, networking, and happy hour.
Step 2: Create a list of sessions you’d like to attend and create a sample schedule

LEAD Summit has it all – insightful sessions with thought and business leaders, community professionals, and engaging and interactive workshops. Create an outline of your selections with a brief justification for each choice, and be specific! Here’s an example we came up with for one of our sessions:

Attending the Road Ahead: Driving Change in DEI session aligns with our department’s goal to be cognizant of where we stand in our efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our organization. As a participant in this session, I will learn more about what Central Texas has accomplished as a community and what needs to be addressed as we move forward, which will inform how our department and company can continue to drive DEI in our mission and strategic initiatives.

You may also want to create a list of 5 speakers you’d like to connect with. Select speakers with the most relevant knowledge to share and develop a few questions you’d like to ask them. You can use this list of speakers and questions as another tool to help you prove that the conference will be a worthwhile experience and that you are prepared to make the most of it.

Step 3: Outline the benefits of attending and why you want to attend
  1. You will gain practical skills and learn proven methods for maximizing your company’s impact in this unique market. You will walk away from the day with knowledge and skills that you can use in the real world immediately.
  2. Learning from real success stories means you will save time and money trying to figure out what works. At LEAD Summit, you will have the opportunity to hear from leaders on how they accomplished their goals, started a movement, or created a foundation for success. You’ll learn what worked for them and what didn’t – saving you the time, energy, and money of having to determine that on your own.
  3. Networking, networking, networking! Okay, that’s three things, but this is a huge part of your experience at LEAD Summit. Some of Central Texas’ top leaders, companies, and entrepreneurs are represented at the LEAD Summit. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with leaders in your field, learn from each other’s challenges and successes, and create lasting connections.
Step 4: Send a formal request to your boss

We know, we know – writing a formal request seems like an extra step, but trust us! A compelling request containing all the necessary information your boss needs to make an informed decision will show that you’ve done the research to justify your ask. Here are some pointers to help keep you on track:

  • Be upfront in your introduction and state your top three reasons for attending
  • Focus on the value the LEAD Summit will bring not just to your personal development but to your company
  • Include a few sessions you’d like to attend and a list of 5 speakers you’d like to network with
  • Include an estimated cost breakdown (How much will it cost to reserve your seat? How long will you be away from work?)

One last tip: be concise! CEOs and managers are busy people, so generally speaking, brevity will work best with this audience. Try to keep your request short and sweet, and only include the most important and compelling information.

We hope you found these tips helpful, and we’ll see you at the LEAD Summit on April 29th!