I've been reading the BIG stack of evaluations from the conference, and I've decided this is a good place to give a little feedback on your feedback.
First of all, you should know that these little babies get read...a LOT. Right now I'm reading and compiling the information for the Board. (This takes at least 3 readings of each.) Then I pass the actual forms onto the Board members themselves, and THEY read 'em.
We take your thoughts and comments seriously. Of course, we are always hoping to get an A, but when we don't, we pay attention. The recommendations you make for presenters and speakers are all considered carefully. The suggestions for improvements and ideas for future workshops are all noted and we do our best to put as many as possible into play in our upcoming conferences.
A few things of interest -- as conference organizers, there are some things we can change and some things we cannot.
Venue -- for many years now, we have commandeered the Sheraton Guildford for our weekend conference. This is the largest conference venue in Surrey, and as we are overseen by the Surrey School District, this is the place to be. We work very closely with the staff, and they do their best to provide all of us with premium service. But we do not set the prices for food or for accommodation. We do offer a basic package for those who choose not to participate in our full conference package, and there are tons of other local choices for food.
Cost -- it's our goal to keep our costs as low as possible, but (as noted above) some of the hard costs are out of our control. Every time we add an item (such as coffee service) our price has to go up. We work hard to make sure there are alternatives available to try to minimize costs wherever we can.
Presenters -- Right now I have a HUGE list of names taken from the evaluation forms as presenters for next year. Thank you for all your great ideas! Here are some of the criteria we have to keep in mind before inviting presenters:
- This is a teaching conference, and not all authors/industry personnel are interested in sharing their skills. (Many authors are SHY!)
- Fall is the busiest time of year in this industry, and it's tough for folks to clear a space in their schedules.
- We have a core 'family' of presenters, and this grows every year. We need to give some of our regulars a break now and then to keep things fresh.
Please feel free to keep sending your ideas for presenters -- we want to have a roster that you will enjoy. And any other comments you have about this year's conference? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or add 'em to the comment section below.
There's a lot more to discuss, but someone reminded me yesterday that there's only 11 months until the next conference. I'd better quit all this blogging and get to work!
also blogging as leftwriter