August 18, 2009

Day 3 Recap of ASAE 2009

I talked about what usually happens to me on Day 2 of conferences in my post yesterday. I think that finally happened to me on the third and final day of the event. It was a bit lackluster for me, really because of the closing general session.

Sadly, what was my most anticipated session didn't go as planned... It featured Fareed Zakaria from Newsweek. Unfortunately, due to the length of time it took for all of the business that was crammed into the session, I had to leave to head to the airport to make my flight. In new ASAE chairman Velma Hart's speech, she talked about not sitting on the sidelines and complain about what was happening. Instead, be involved to make the change. This post is not meant to be from the sidelines, and I have some ideas as to how to fix the final session...

1. The opening "entertainment", who were dancers and a guitarist, could be cut. First off, that started about ten minutes late, and then that took up about ten minutes itself (i.e. 20 minutes of time in all...) Eliminate that stuff and you'd get to the keynote a little quicker.

2. How about having the new chairmen of ASAE and The Center give their keynotes at the OPENING session, to key up the members for their vision of what the association should be doing? I think the last board meeting of the previous board happens before that opening session, so that would be logical to me. Perhaps I'm missing something though...

3. I didn't get why the person from the Ontario Tourism Board was included in the closing general session. Why would they not be in the opening session talking about what there is to do in the city, etc.? She talked about things we should see while in the city. Umm... We were all leaving either later in the day or the next morning.

Anyway, I think the ASAE 2009 Annual Meeting was absolutely great, but that final session left a bad taste in my mouth. I sat there for an hour and a half waiting for Zakaria to speak, but instead of hearing him, I was just overwhelmed with too much content that seemed like advertisements. I hated having to leave, but with the way the event was scheduled, I would have been in Toronto rush hour trying to get to the airport for my 7 pm flight. Just wasn't something I could risk, and so I missed what would have been a real highlight for me.

I hope these tips are taken for what they're worth - constructive criticism on what was otherwise a really great event!

Thanks for reading...

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