What changes, if any, do we need to make to keep annual conference as a vibrant, well attended event?
A vibrant conference depends on attendance. In my experience, and judging by the findings of the recently released report on re-envisioning the conference, networking is the primary benefit our members see from attending Annual. That means our first priority is to make sure the annual conference is accessible to as many members as possible: the quality of networking and peer-to-peer learning is enhanced simply by bringing more of us together. We also need to make sure the programming we offer is unique and excellent.
Go ahead and check out the whole thing. This was a tough post to write: it’s really too big a question to answer in a single blog entry, and I still find myself thinking of new ideas. I’m not entirely sold on the notion of having Annual in the same place for 3-4 years in a row, for example, but what about choosing a city that’s solid in a lot of ways and just committing to it every three years? Philadelphia springs to mind, since my impression was that it had quality food and lodging across a range of prices very near the convention center, and it’s got an international air travel hub… but it’s definitely an idea that we’d need to explore more.*
Speaking of Annual, in less than 24 hours I’ll be on my way to Vancouver. How ready am I? This ready:
Actually, I’m feeling even readier than that. It’s going to be a packed schedule, because I’ll be going to every event I can in order to speak to as many folks as possible. But I’m truly excited about this: what I love about SLA is its members, and I’m hopefully going to get a chance to meet more of you than I ever have. Plus, get to talk to you about where SLA needs to go as we move forward as an organization.
I’m sure I’ll be exhausted by the time I head back, but hey: I can sleep on the plane. See you in Vancouver.
* My other idea — nothing but non-stop Dance Party and Karaoke in two adjacent rooms for 72 straight hours — probably has some downsides that I just haven’t seen yet.