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The Ripple Effect

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by Michael Lepage No Comments

Author: Ruth Harland, Manager, Conference Services, Hospitality Services, Western University

Have you ever noticed how a small simple ripple starts very clear and precise and then continues to expand outward in an ever increasing circle with less distinct features until it becomes part of one larger pool with all edges blended and blurred?

Conferences have the same effect on us.

We recently had a conference in with several challenging requirements and great expectations. They had never held their event on a campus before and so it was going to be a learning curve for both of us.   Of course, we wanted it to go well and they wanted their members to really enjoy the experience.

After all the planning and preparation, they arrived. The requests started almost immediately and the Conference team was on the run. For the next few days, a tremendous amount of time and people were dedicated to this group. Our Conference team was short staffed and tired and they could easily have become frustrated and annoyed, but then, the ripple effect happened.

The organizers were very appreciative of every effort made on their behalf and repeatedly told all members of the team. The staff worked harder and longer just to please them. Any glitches that came up were quickly identified and resolved. What could have been a long and discouraging week, turned out to be a positive and great experience.

And so, hopefully here is my ripple effect…..

Thank you for being part of our organization. I am better at what I do, in part because of your willingness to share your ideas and best practices. Your support is very much appreciated.

Ruth Harland, Manager, Conference Services, Hospitality Services, Western University
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 85974

Lessons Learned from Summer 2013

Posted on: September 16th, 2013 by Michael Lepage No Comments

Author: Amber Cunningham, Sales and Conference Planner, University of Calgary– Meetings and Special Events

With the summer conference season winding down, I can’t help but think to myself “I survived!” and I’m sure that many of you are feeling a similar relief as the fall semester begins. 

The University of Calgary had re-launched their conference model in 2013 with me as their sole conference planner. As we had taken the previous year off offering conference services, we didn’t know what to expect. We had no plans of advertising for the first year, wanting to keep things small and build from there. Now being September, I am proud to say that we had a booming first season back with our conference bookings hitting the double digits! Looking back on what was a very successful season, here are my top three learnings for next year:

Work those connections-

Working at an academic institution comes with its fair share of personal interactions. It really pays to get to know people in the various departments that make your University function; and who knows when you’ll need a contact in Groundskeeping or Electrical?

Hire an assistant-

You may not think that you’ll need one, but if my experience has taught me anything, it’s that a little extra help is always a good thing. Someone to be in the office sending out proposals and contracts while you’re on-site is invaluable.

Rework your schedule-

If you are working all weekend, take Monday off. There is something to be said about catching up on lost down time.

I am looking forward to the 2014 conference season; it’s going to be great!

Amber Cunningham
Sales and Conference Planner, University of Calgary – Meetings and Special Events
Telephone: 403.210.8701

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