In order to better serve the needs of our membership, we are making a few changes in the format of our conference for this year.
For a quick background, there are two events that have happened every year: our Annual Meeting and our Conference. The Annual Meeting is required to occur every year and updates members on the status of the association. It typically lasts 1 hour or less. The Conference is not required, but is an added member benefit and consists of educational sessions, member category discussions, social events, and a keynote speaker. The conference has grown in value each year and most recently was spread out over 3 days.
LISTENING TO MEMBERS
Historically, we have had both the annual meeting and an annual conference every year at the end of the ABC Show. While our association was in its infancy, this was needed. Members find, however, several problems with having a highly informative and engaging conference at the end of the ABC Show:
- Retailers and manufacturers are exhausted before the RDIA conference has even begun. As our conference grows in value and length, this has become more of an issue. It is so difficult to take in all the information and fully engage when we are so tired on day one of the conference.
- Being away from our businesses and families for 7 days or more is a true hardship.
- Being attached to the ABC Show means that we are tied to dates that don’t work well for families. (The start of the school year is difficult for many.)
- Being attached to the ABC Show means we are tied to a location that isn’t always family friendly.
- Being attached to the ABC Show means we have less affordable options for food and venue.
- Smaller businesses have a difficult time financially affording a business trip AND a family vacation each year.
So, we have listened to members and are making two changes. First, we will no longer have the Conference at the end of the ABC Show, but at a different time that works better for all our businesses and families, most likely in June or July rather than right at the beginning of the school year like the ABC Show. Second, the conference will occur every two years rather than every year. This will allow members better to afford the conference, give more time to plan the conference (it takes so much time throughout the year to make a conference happen!), and make each conference packed full of information and value.
2012 ANNUAL MEETING IN LOUISVILLE, 2013 CONFERENCE NEXT SUMMER
While we did make an announcement of a 2012 Conference, we have bumped that back to happen in 2013 so that we can have much more time to plan and make it the best conference ever.
In the meantime, we will be having our Annual Meeting during an evening dinner plus a fun evening event (more details to come later) in Louisville this fall right around the ABC show again as we have done in previous years.
BRINGING THE CONFERENCE TO YOU
In lieu of the conference this year, we want to make sure that all members, big and small, can benefit from the sessions that traditionally have occurred at the in-person conference. Not all members are able to make the trek, or stay longer than a short trip and have had to miss out on some of the benefits of the RDIA.
Well, this year, the conference is coming to you! We will be having monthly webinars and we’ll discuss many of the same topics and new topics that have been done during the conference sessions. Instead of having to wait until one busy time of year, we’re giving you on-demand access to live and then recorded sessions so you can watch them at your convenience, and in your pajamas if you’d like. Our hope with this new format for this year is that this increases the knowledge we are able to share with each other, and that more members are able to participate.
We’ve started a dedicated, member-only facebook group. This is a great place to discuss what you’re learning in the webinars and anything else-cloth diaper business related. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for your invitation to the group.
FINALLY… SNEAK PEAK FOR 2013 CONFERENCE
We don’t have set plans, so we hate to say too much, but we are working hard on the best conference ever for 2013! We are aiming for an Orlando, Florida, location, so families can combine business trip with their family vacation, making it truly affordable for our members. We are also in discussion with the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance and Handmade Toy Alliance to have the first-ever joint conference, bringing cloth diapers, baby carriers, and handmade toy industries together under one roof. We are also hoping expand the success of this year’s product showcase into the first ever natural parenting mini trade show. You definitely won’t want to miss it!
We’ll have more details about the 2013 conference later this fall. If there are any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Annual Meeting and Conference Chair, Catherine Bolden (Vice Chair of the RDIA board) at email@example.com