On how we select sites for our annual conferences.

Author:Fabian, Nelson
Position:Managing Editor's Desk - Editorial

How often have we all watched organizations conduct business routines while we think to ourselves, no big deal! How often have those involved in such undertakings asked--if only people knew!


I once had the experience of showing up on the cover of a national trade magazine. In my thinking, I anticipated that someone would take a picture of me and that would be it. Was I surprised when I learned that a photographer would be flying in from Chicago and that I would have to spend an hour with a makeup artist. The photographer took over a hundred different pictures--but only after taking several more hours to transform our office into a veritable studio with bright lamps, reflectors, and assorted other sundries that I never did understand. All this for one measly picture and at a cost in dollars and time that I never would have imagined.

I never knew. Now when I look at a magazine, I have a whole new respect for what goes into those cover pictures.

I guess it's just human nature to assume that work that we are unfamiliar with is far simpler to perform than it actually is.

Perhaps members of this association might think in similar terms with respect to our Annual Educational Conference (AEC) site selection process. I'm guessing that many NEHA members might think deciding on a site for our annual conference is probably as simple as following a simple formula. Rotate the conference (e.g., go east one year and west the next), identify several decent cities and decent hotels within those cities, compare prices, and then decide! Voila! Done and over with in minutes!

Well, like my photo shoot, the process is a little more involved than that. In fact, I think you might find the details as surprising as I did when I learned what really goes into the taking of a magazine cover photo.

In my column this month, I will elaborate on the process we follow for our AEC site selection because it will allow me to reveal more about how this organization--that you are a member of--works and how central you really are in our decision making. In addition, I think you will find the process just plain interesting.

The entire process starts with a simple but very important premise. That premise is that you are being courted by probably no less than a couple of dozen different organizations, all of which would like you to attend their conferences. Moreover, of these two dozen or so groups, there are likely to be at least a half dozen who will...

To continue reading