• Kristine Metter, MS, CAE

Deciding to Cancel Part 5: Looking Forward

We have documented how three association executives navigated the difficult decision to cancel their in-person annual conference this spring. In a series of posts, we have shared a number of lessons learned. This final installment offers key recommendations for the future and overarching words of guidance.

Thinking About the Future

  • There is consensus that in-person meetings will be different going forward.

  • Next year’s meetings will likely be smaller, so consider renegotiating hotel contracts.

  • What we are learning about virtual meetings now will help future meetings be more accessible.

  • A virtual option should always be part of future contingency plans.

Key Words of Wisdom

  • Be open, transparent, and stay connected.

  • Be a partner and give people a reason to trust you.

  • This is not new. Add lessons learned from this experience to those we learned after 9-11 and the 2009 recession.

  • Survey regularly so you have relevant data available in the moment.

  • Stretch yourself in designing the new program, but don’t over complicate it.

  • Do what is right for your organization. Don’t blindly mimic other groups.

  • And most importantly, things change whether you want them to or not.


Many thanks to the following individuals for sharing their experiences.

  • Shawn Boynes, FASAE, CAE, executive director, American Association for Anatomy

  • Tom Menighan, BPharm, MBA, ScD(hon), executive vice president and CEO, American Pharmacists Association

  • Chris Urena, MBA, CAE, chief learning officer, Endocrine Society


For additional insights, see the full article.

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