Keeping Our Conference Experiences Vibrant and Viable – Leslie Reynolds, Candidate for President-Elect

The best way to keep our conference vibrant and viable is to listen to our members on ways to improve what we do.  This year, SLA implemented the “Feedback Pack” whose goal was to gather feedback to enhance the Annual Conference experience.  I look forward to hearing what they learned and how the Association will implement these ideas in the near future.

This Feedback Pack is an outgrowth of our Conference Re-Envisioning Task Force, which is well on its way to make recommendations that will continue making the SLA Conference the most engaging and invigorating annual event in our field.  Since our conference is the main source of revenue for our association, it is imperative that it not only meets, but exceeds our member needs and expectations.  This task force, charged with determining short and long term trends in conferencing, is taking a holistic look at six vital areas: member engagement strategies; content levels and subject matter coordination; logistics in geography, duration and frequency; vendor engagement and improving efficiencies; international outreach; and online virtual conferencing extension opportunities.

What keeps me coming back to our annual conference year after year is the opportunity to make connections with others in our profession who, like me, care about customer service, about improved access to information, and about facilitating connections within and outside our home organizations.  For my conference dollar, SLA provides incredible value and lessons I can bring back and implement in my daily work.  This year, a first time attendee remarked at the quality and variety of our sessions, “not the same old re-hashing of topics” they had experienced in other venues.  Our conference sessions are relevant to what I do on a day-to-day basis and bring fresh ideas to help solve challenges we all experience in providing services to our customers.

I’m proud of our conference, but I know we can do better and attract more attendees, whether it is strategic location selection, changing conference session timelines, or adding a virtual component for the most popular sessions to be re-presented as webinars.  Wouldn’t that give us a bigger bang for our conference dollar (not to mention help with session decision management)?  Additionally, by providing the best sessions in virtually, it will also offer the Association an opportunity to provide the highest quality content to members who could not afford to attend the entire conference in person.

If you have thoughts on improving our Annual Conference, please send your ideas (if you didn’t attend, tell them why) to the Conference Re-Envisoning Task Force at slacrtf@gmail.com.  As a candidate for President-Elect, it is important for me to find ways to get our members actively involved in chapter, division or association activities such as the Feedback Pack, virtual conference planning, or arranging chapter happy hours. Considering sharing your thoughts with me on how to make your experiences with SLA more vibrant at leslie.reynolds@colorado.edu, Twitter (@leslier), or on LinkedIn.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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