Monday, March 30, 2015

And March Flew By - But Not Without a Great Conference!

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I had plans to be really efficient and get lots done in March - and then I remembered that I had a panel presentation and a session that I agreed to do for the Guild of One-Name Studies' 36th Annual Conference held during the last weekend in March. So my free time for the month went into that project/obligation.

Don't get me wrong, I was asked to and more than happy to present. It is just that lots of time and effort goes into preparing a session if you want to have helpful and clear slides, a coherent presentation, and make an effort to go in-depth rather than just skim the surface. Thankfully it all turned out well. Since the Guild Conference was held in England and I was presenting from the United States - there was a time difference. The panel and session made for an early morning! Kudos to the Guild for thinking about its distance members and live streaming several sessions as well as the annual general meeting. Since the Guild has a YouTube channel, the recordings will be available to its worldwide membership. This is another great benefit of membership in the Guild.

The theme of the Guild Conference was collaboration, cooperation and communication. Sessions were held on webinars, blogs, websites, social media, subscription services and how to "put it all together" to take advantage of tools and techniques available in the 21st century to assist us with our one-name studies. The Guild held both lectures and interactive sessions. As one member said - there was something interesting going on all day, both days.

Something that I really enjoyed as a distance member was watching the presentation by the chair of the constitutional review committee. This review has been ongoing and the reasoning behind all of suggested changes was shared with the membership. A discussion of the review and voting procedure that will be in place when the final draft gets it up or down vote was also discussed. What a wonderful way to keep everyone - those who physically attended and those attending from a distance - in the loop.

I was very impressed with the annual general meeting. The chairman did an excellent job of preparation and presentation. I always appreciate it when a presenter goes beyond the slides and we had an opportunity to understand how the Guild ran during the past year, the accomplishments and deserving members who received awards for their efforts and projects.

My takeaways -

  • really well done preparation to come up with a great theme and clever use of lecture and interactive workshops
  • a sense of fun and collegiality - I saw a number of members with wine glasses, they engaged in a fun quiz (with winners and prizes!), lots of photos were shared on social media, and there were lots of smiles!
  • excellent system in place for live streaming and recordings
  • members who took their topics seriously and put together some excellent presentations that were interesting and fun
  • committee members who worked so hard throughout the year on the Guild's behalf (Corrinne Goodenough, Anne Shankland, Cliff Kemball, Bob Cumberbatch all immediately come to mind because I have had personal experience with them and know just how much time, effort and commitment they put into their duties - it is often a thankless and demanding job, but I am thankful for their dedication!)
  • to the few who seem to enjoy complaining for no purpose - we all know the type, they have no constructive comments, no helpful suggestions, they oppose any change just because, or they seem to have personal grudges - I am sorry for you. It must be tough to be that negative and dismissive of others' efforts. I refuse to water that tree of discontent and encourage others to do the same.
  • congratulations to those members who stood for committee and the additional members who were co-opted. Our 2015/2016 Committee will have some new members and our returning committee members will be able to manage the turnover in a professional manner (a passing of the torch and sharing of institutional knowledge is always a nice touch).
  • a thank you to those postholders who are continuing in their volunteer positions and are willing to devote the time and effort to performing their duties on behalf of the Guild.
Now that the 2015 Conference/AGM is history and we are all moving forward with a sense of purpose and renewed energy - let's make 2015 the Guild's best year. I would like to encourage other distance members to consider presenting from afar at the 2016 Guild Conference/AGM - I enjoy learning from our worldwide membership!

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