Conference Planning During a Pandemic

What crazy times! Typically in this issue, we would announce that conference registration is open and start promoting early registration discounts, program highlights, and various networking events. This year, like everything else, plans were fluid.

But we now have some certainty. At press time for this issue, ATA’s Board of Directors approved moving this year’s Annual Conference online.

The Board’s decision was not taken lightly. As the pandemic continued over the past month, the Board acted as swiftly as possible to make the change. (Please see ATA President Ted Wozniak and ATA President-Elect Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo’s columns for more details on moving the conference online, including working with the conference hotel in Boston to make the change.)

As part of our planning, ATA Headquarters has been working with our meeting vendors since late March on the logistics of offering livestreamed and virtual sessions. To be clear, livestreamed sessions are live broadcasts of in-person sessions. ATA61 sessions will be aired in real time from wherever the speakers are located. For this year’s Annual Conference, all the 100-plus educational sessions will be live—not prerecorded.

As you know, the Annual Conference is about much more than sessions. We’re also looking at how we can offer exhibits, conduct the Job Exchange, and foster networking opportunities. Even though we’re meeting October 21–24, we do have time on our side as we’ve been able to learn from other groups that have already held virtual meetings this year. The ATA Headquarters staff and vendors are looking at what worked for these other groups and what could be done better. We’ll share more about these events as they develop.

One certainty that we’ve taken from the planning process is that future conferences will include livestreamed sessions. This will provide greater access to the top-level educational sessions while still providing valuable networking opportunities to those who can attend in person.

We’re committed to holding in-person events once it’s safe for all. As you’re looking down the road, the Annual Conference schedule is Minneapolis in 2021, Los Angeles in 2022, Miami in 2023, Portland, Oregon in 2024, and Boston in 2025. (Boston was rescheduled as part of the negotiations to cancel this year’s onsite event.)

Registration should be online in early August. We’ll keep you posted along the way. Please plan on attending whether it’s your first conference or your twenty-first. The opportunity to share time with colleagues is certain to be welcomed by all, perhaps bringing a sense of normalcy at a time when so much is uncertain.

ATA Elections 2020: Final Slate of Candidates

ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections during the upcoming virtual 2020 ATA Annual Conference to elect three directors for a three-year term. Candidate statements and photos of the candidates will appear in the September/October issue of The ATA Chronicle and on ATA’s website.

The slate of candidates for election has been finalized.

Director (three positions, three-year terms):
Robin Bonthrone
Veronika Demichelis
Tony Guerra
Manako Ihaya
Elena Langdon
Lorena Ortiz Schneider
Robert Sette

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