Saturday, June 18, 2011

Please Be Seated

There’s been a real buzz this week about our conference and with the flurry of last minute registrations, it’s clear that women really want to be there. And they are coming from all over the province from Sault Ste Marie, Haliburton, Peterborough to Ottawa.

This is our fifth conference and I have to say everything has just fallen into place. We know what we are doing, have a system in place and it has, touch wood, gone like clockwork. Of course, you can never tell what can happen the day of the event but by that stage it is more a case of going with the flow and making it work.

As I sat with the seating plan, trying to make sure that with each change in seating (there are three), no one was sitting with someone they had already met, I felt like the wedding planner. I am not sure people realize how much planning and consideration goes into making events like weddings and conferences work so everyone gets the most out of the experience.

I used to do the seating plan for the annual ATHENA Gala, and would spend hours trying to make sure I’d grouped people appropriately. Now that was often for 400 people and I have to confess towards the end, I would start to question why I was making such an effort. Then I would hear back from people that their table was special, and it seemed all worthwhile.

Same with the conference. I started off trying to assign people to groups where I thought there might be some synergy, but the closer we got to midnight, the more I began to rationalize to myself that someone was in that group because they were meant to be, nothing to do with my engineering the connections. After all, it’s up to every participant to make the most of the experience.

So three more sleeps and it will be all over for another year. I always find myself on a downer the day afterwards. It is such an anticlimax – months of work and preparation and it is over in a flash. But hopefully the knowledge, learning and connections the women gain through the conference will carry on for months to come.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am really looking forward to it Anne! Last year was my first: the energy in the room was outstanding and I remember it as a very positive experience! I met other women like me!
I know how hard you and Megan and the rest of the team work to make it the highlight of the year.
See you on Tuesday!