One of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding experiences a Chapter can have is hosting a Regional Conference. I may be a little biased, but here are just a few reasons why your Chapter should consider taking that leap and bidding to host:
1. Event Planning 101
Most of the time, people see event planning as fun and exciting, and while that is true, there is much more work involved than many people think. Hosting a Regional Conference allows your Chapter to create and execute a nationally-recognized event from start to finish. This gives everyone an opportunity to get creative, but it also demonstrates the importance of logistics. There are a lot of moving parts so it is important to learn how to coordinate necessities like event location, food and beverage, registration, technology and much more. But everything is well worth it when you see it come together in the end. The hard works pays off. Trust me.
2. See your (Chapter) Name in Shining Lights
After being selected to host a Regional Conference, your Chapter will be recognized at National Conference, bringing attention to your Chapter. Your Chapter will also be directly connected to a National Committee member (hey, that’s me!) as well as hopefully working with other National Committee members. Being connected to PRSSA National opens more opportunities and networks for your Chapter as a whole and for the members of your Chapter.
3. Here’s my Card
Of course being able to network with the Conference speakers is a big part of attending and hosting a Regional Conference, and as the host Chapter, you have a greater and more unique opportunity to connect with the speakers. The relationship you build with each is more than just giving them a business card, because you will have the opportunity to communicate with them before the conference and maybe even take them to dinner before or after to get to know them better, allowing them to know you better as well. Just remember to keep in contact after the conference!
4. ‘Mo’ Money’ (Less Problems)
Though many Chapters think hosting a Regional Conference will be difficult on their budget, it could actually become a great fundraiser for your Chapter. People pay to register for the conferences, and between sponsorships and university resources, your conference could end up making money!
5. Why Can’t We Be Friends
Not only are Regional Conferences great for professional reasons, but also for social reasons. Chapter members will get to know each other better, forming friendships through work. The attendees of the conference will also want to get to know you and it gives you more friends to look forward to seeing at national events in the future.
Although there are many worthy reasons to host a Regional Conference, I will not sugar-coat it for you. It’s a long process and a lot of work. From contacting speakers, to researching the best food options to stuffing swag bags days before the event, it’s not a task for one person. There are major benefits to hosting a Regional Conference, but just be ready to put some work into it. As with most things, you get out of it what you put into it. And remember, I’ll be with you every step of the way.
Intent to Bid forms are due to me (Jenn Shafer) by July 1. Though these are not mandatory to submit a bid, it is a great way to connect with me and get started with the planning process. The final Bid to Host forms are due Sept. 21, so don’t wait to start thinking about hosting!
PRSSA Vice President of Regional Conferences Jenn Shafer is a student at The Ohio State University and is currently interning at General Motors with Brand and Product Communications on the GMC and Buick teams. Follow her on Twitter @_jennshafer or on LinkedIn.