It’s hard to believe another ILTA conference (ILTACON!) is almost here. I have had the pleasure of working on the ILTACON Conference Committee the past four years, and I continue to be amazed at how it all comes together. ILTA prides itself on being a Peer-driven community, and the annual ILTACON is the ultimate display of this.
My fellow team coordinators, along with the conference co-chairs, have published some fantastic information already about this year’s conference, so I’m going to back up a bit and talk about how we put it all together.
We start planning the next ILTACON the day after conference ends. Everyone involved in that year’s conference comes together to talk about hits and misses from the week, and start looking ahead to how the next conference will look. In early September, the conference co-chairs and the ILTA staff hammer out a theme that guides us in planning the conference. The co-chairs then start assembling the conference committee, an all-member, all-volunteer group of your peers who share the passion for delivering the best content to you. We are assigned to one of five teams, and team coordinators start working with their teams to brainstorm ideas that we think will be of interest. We spend a good two months just talking about potential topic ideas and figuring out what would make for a good conference session.
In January, the whole conference committee comes together for a weekend of planning meetings where we whittle down the hundreds of topic ideas to those that ultimately become the final slate of sessions delivered at conference. From there we start to fine-tune these ideas into full-fledged sessions, and by late March the conference slate is finalized. We then launch into the joyful season of speaker selection, as we match up potential speakers for all of our wonderful session topics. This two month stretch can be one of the most stressful for conference committee, but it gives us the opportunity to speak to many members and find the right people to present our ideas.
Once the sessions have been finalized and speakers have been confirmed, we spend the last few weeks before conference guiding our speakers and moderators as they develop the content for the just over 160 sessions that will be delivered at Caesars Palace. Believe me when I tell you, we take great pride in hearing from attendees that there are too many good sessions to choose from – that is the sign of a successful conference.
This will be my tenth conference, and each one improves on the previous version. We have some great things in store for you this year, and I hope you will agree that we keep getting better. I can’t thank my team enough for all of their hard work, along with the rest of the conference committee, the co-chairs, and the all-important ILTA staff.
As you work your way through the conference week, make sure you thank all of the folks wearing their conference committee ribbons for making it all happen! And if you would like to be a part of the team, I strongly encourage you to volunteer. It is a thoroughly rewarding experience.
I hope to see you all at ILTACON 2015!