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What We Learned about AI, IR & Professional Development at 2023’s NIRI Conference

Emily Blum  Follow


I was fortunate enough to attend the 2023 National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Annual Conference in Chicago last month where IR professionals gathered to build relationships, accelerate leadership skills and explore new products and solutions. As Vice President of Communications for the NIRI NY NextGen committee, it was great to represent the New York chapter and meet others early in their investor relations careers. I also helped Alex Jorgensen, Head of Prosek’s IR team, prepare for his session on “Tips for Effective Presentations and Impactful Storytelling” which turned out to be a crowd favorite. Overall, it was a great experience, and I am already looking forward to next year’s event! Below are three key themes that emerged from the discussions and my experience attending the conference.


Theme #1: The Importance of Professional Development


As communicators, our job is to tell other individuals’ and companies’ stories. However, it is also important that we do the same for ourselves. Developing and promoting your own personal brand is imperative to succeeding in this space and, quite frankly, any role. People will remember you, and your brand, when they look for someone with your particular skills and expertise, regardless of if you spoke to them for two minutes or two hours. Attending the NIRI conference raised Prosek’s brand in the Investor Relations (IR) world. Whether they listened to our session on impactful presentations with Head of IR, Alex Jorgensen, or if I shared a conversation with them over dinner, they left knowing more about the scale, experience and expertise of the Prosek IR team—and that we have fully integrated PR, design and marketing teams as well. 😊


Theme #2: Staying Ahead of the Curve is Key


As the IR practice at Prosek further scales and the industry quickly evolves, keeping ahead of emerging trends and developments is at the top of our team’s mind. Whether it be discussing how IR professionals can better communicate with the sell side in times of crisis or how to craft a strategy around a leadership change, the ability to hear from industry leaders and veterans allowed me to walk away with vital knowledge not otherwise available on the job. As I was listening to these discussions, I could name three to four instances where these learnings would have been directly applicable to scenarios that our team has experienced over the last six months; and, I know that they will only gain importance as we navigate even more volatile times. Being aware of the latest developments allows our team to anticipate changes and, more importantly, take the steps necessary to prepare for additional changes in the future.


Theme #3: AI is Here to Stay


I think we have all heard plenty about AI over the last few months, so it was no surprise that this was a main topic of conversation and concern. My biggest takeaway here is that AI is here to stay, so, as communicators, we must learn the best ways to work with the technology. A great analogy I heard was that AI should be treated as a junior resource on your team. AI should be used to workshop ideas, rather than be relied on to complete a task in perfection—just as you wouldn’t expect an intern to be able to present a complex deliverable without any problems. To keep with the analogy, that junior team member will one day progress and be able to take on more complex tasks and obtain a wealth of information. The same holds true for AI and the advancement of the technology supporting it. When search engines first cropped up, people wondered if they would change the role of junior people and researchers at large. Of course, it has, but the net result has been positive. We hope to say the same thing about AI in the coming decades.

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