SLA2020 Opens with Call to ‘Create New Memories’

What makes an annual conference? One week into its first all-virtual conference, SLA is finding that the desire to come together is the defining factor, even more so than the opportunity for 24/7 learning opportunities.

SLA’s 2020 president, Tara Murray Grove, kicked off the two-week conference on Monday, October 5, with a challenge to the 500-plus attendees to “try new things, open new doors, take new risks, and create new memories.” She then elaborated on opportunities available at the conference for each, especially taking new risks.

“There’s a risk in taking a deep dive into topics like oppression, anti-racism, and allyship,” she said of a two-day workshop on diversity, equity and inclusion being presented at the conference. “They can be uncomfortable for some. But there’s a bigger risk in not doing this—the risk that we will not become the welcoming and inclusive community we must become if we are to thrive in the years ahead.”

Immediately after the kickoff, the Exhibit Hall opened its doors, allowing attendees to visit with industry partners at their booths and view the nearly two dozen posters on display at the conference.

The highlight of the first week was the awards presentation ceremony, where SLA honored 11 members for their contributions to the association and profession. The event attracted nearly 200 attendees, including family members, co-workers and friends of the honorees. Many of them showed up a half hour or more prior to the start of the ceremony and lingered afterward to socialize.

On Wednesday, October 14, and again on Friday, October 16, conference attendees will hear from keynote speakers: Yvette Pegues, CEO of Your Hidden Disability, will discuss how to create a culture of belonging, and Debra Jasper, CEO of Digital Mindset, will talk about getting ahead in a world of social distancing. Both days will also feature dozens of live education sessions, which will complement the many pre-recorded sessions that have been available to attendees on demand since the conference opened on October 5.

More information about SLA2020 is available on the conference website.

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