This weekend I participated in what had to be one of the best court reporting conferences ever. And I know of what I speak; I've either attended, planned, or spoken at at least two dozen conferences (or more) in the past decade. What I saw this weekend in Alexandria, VA, at the Greater Washington Shorthand Reporters Association (GWSRA) conference was mind blowing.
First, the location was pretty darn centralized; pretty easy to get to by car, train, or plane. And many people did get there from far away - like California, Oregon, Texas, Florida. And others from less far away - New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Carolina.
Second, the food was amazing. You all know what to expect from convention food; right? Rubber chicken, boring salad, and dry/overcooked appetizers. Not so. From the opening reception's wine and cheese (with upscale cheese, wine, and excellent extra munchies like candied walnuts and dates) to the incredible breakfast spread (asiago cheese bagel?) and the catered lunch, it was OUTSTANDING! There wasn't a thing I put in my mouth that wasn't scrumptious.
The vendors were there, and were very well represented. CAT vendors, agency representatives, local reporters with personal sales items (Silpada jewelry, anyone?!). There was a silent auction and a raffle, which I hope raised a good bit of funding for the organization. (I for one am happy to walk away with a raffle item!)
But best of all was the presentations. High energy, every one. Positive. All about saving the profession. About using technology. About upping your game just that little bit extra.
The most amazing thing was that this whole convention was the brainchild of one person whose initials are MAP, and who had incredible help from her organization of volunteers. To effectuate an event like this takes time, effort, love, blood, sweat, tears, and passion. I believe that every single person who attended the session came away rejuvenated and refreshed and ready to take positive steps to improve not only themselves, but their chosen profession as well.
Kudos to you, my friend. Job well done. I'll see you next year.