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OWAA officers approve new plan for selecting conference sessions, speakers

By John L. Beath

  • When is the last time you attended OWAA’s annual conference?
  • Why don’t more members go to conference?
  • What would compel you to attend?

Last year, the board of directors and an ad hoc Conference Coordinating Committee reviewed these questions and agreed OWAA needs a better plan for providing conference attendees with a relevant conference program.
Last month, the Executive Committee re-reviewed the committee charge and put a new procedure in place for brainstorming ideas for conference session topics, selecting speakers and filling slots according to the various OWAA disciplines – writing, photography, technology, newspaper, and other topics, for example.
The Conference Program Committee will continue to be chaired by OWAA’s second vice president, but now will be comprised of all the members of the Executive Committee, a representative of each OWAA Section, and the executive director and conference planner, the last two being non-voting members.
Prior to this meeting, OWAA Section chairs should query Section members and ask for topics and ideas for speakers. If section chairs can’t attend the face-to-face meeting, then they will be required to provide a list of topic ideas with tentative speakers.
The Conference Program Committee, in this new role, will meet a couple days before this June’s conference in Rochester, Minn., with the task of roughing out the conference agenda for OWAA’s 2011 conference in Salt Lake City.
Last summer, OWAA’s board of directors approved a new template for the Conference Program Committee to follow, with the conference agenda looking something like this: 25 percent of the program devoted to writing, 10 percent photography, 20 percent electronic/technology, 20 percent business and 25 percent broadcasting (movies, radio, television, video and Internet).
Of course, during the face-to-face conference planning meeting the Conference Program Committee will take into consideration members’ suggestions, needs and requests.
Membership involvement is the key to a successful conference, so please let your board members, Section chairs or headquarters’ staff know what you would like included in the annual conference program.
Becoming an active member of one of the five OWAA Sections will also enhance your OWAA membership experience as well as helping provide relevant conference topics and ideas for Outdoors Unlimited. Here is a list of OWAA Sections, chairs with contact information:

The OWAA Web site will also have a conference program survey and suggestion form. This form will let members suggest craft improvement topics, newsmaker issues, speakers and future conference locations.

UPDATE: Use this form to your thoughts about OWAA’s conference!

This new way of bringing about ideas for topics and speakers will enable OWAA headquarters to put the conference program together much more quickly and efficiently. With so many media changes happening now and in the future, this new plan will help OWAA members stay relevant and informed about new technology while providing a “can’t miss” yearly program.
If you have any suggestions for the annual conference, Outdoors Unlimited or any other OWAA issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me, a board member or OWAA staff. ◊
John L. Beath is OWAA president and owner of Pacific Lure Communications. He is a writer/photographer and owner/editor of 14 Web sites and 10 online stores. He is also an Internet marketing consultant for several businesses. Contact him at jbeath@gmail.com.

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