Management Conference 2011 Best Practices
By Nancy Evans
Now that our management conferences are over for another year, I have time to reflect on the similarities and differences from region to region. The management conference is the longest and most comprehensive training program we hold for our members. It is 2-1/2 days of workshops, food, drop-in sessions, food, fun, food, fellowship…and did I mention food? Of course, the food is necessary to keep us going since we all start our days with an early breakfast with members and don’t stop until we leave them to drop into bed at night. Management conferences are always exhausting and exhilarating at the same time; exhausting because we don’t stop working until it is over and exhilarating because we get to spend our time with our most active and involved members. They encourage us to outdo ourselves, applaud our efforts and challenge us to continually improve our programs.
Every year we have a national theme and each region plans their conference around that theme. This year’s theme was “Green It!” Each region used this same theme to create new workshops on topics like green gardening or green maintenance. There are also core workshops that are presented annually such as fair housing training, co-op basics, and finance. Each co-op introduces itself and presents a craft designed around the theme. At the end of the conference, the manager’s report has evolved to include a short staff introduction/theme-related skit that is fun for everyone.
There are also differences between the regions in the way the conferences are organized. Each region interprets the theme their way and presents accordingly. For this year’s skits in the various regions we had butterflies and rainbows, the Wizard of Oz, people covered with trash, and Michael Jackson dancers. Some regions assign workshops and others are on a first-come, first-served basis. Some had member-led drop-in sessions and others had general session staff presentations.
No matter what our theme is, or how it is interpreted or presented, I know there will always be consistency in the preparation and planning our staff puts into our management conferences. There is an incredible amount of hard work that goes into these conferences and it is reflected in the high quality of our programs. Thanks to everyone involved and congratulations on another great round of conferences.
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