High-profile speakers, including the inspiration for a major motion picture; educational sessions that help planners to become better leaders and managers; and a first look at one of the largest ballrooms in the world, are among the highlights of the American Society of Association Executives and Center for Association Leadership’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Chicago, August 11-15.
This year’s conference, held at McCormick Place, features 18 sessions in ASAE’s Meetings and Exposition Days track, including a thought-leaders panel called “Critical Success Strategies for Leaders at All Levels,” led by author Michael Watkins. Watkins’ presentation, which will be aimed at meeting professionals, is among 20 thought-leaders sessions at the conference. Generational marketing is a big topic in the meetings track, with two sessions on how to market to Generation Y members and engage them in meetings. There will also be sessions on international meetings, crisis planning, moving meetings from hotels to convention centers, and creating “wow” RFPs, as well as updates on continuing medical education issues and the Convention Industry Council’s APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange) initiative.
If you’ve seen the film The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith, then you’re familiar with the story of one of this year’s keynote speakers, Christopher Gardner. Gardner, who went from being homeless to working on Wall Street, will talk about self-empowerment, beating the odds, and breaking cycles. Other keynoters are ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, who was seriously injured while covering the war in Iraq, and David Cooperrider, PhD, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, who will talk about the role of associations as agents of global change.
Other highlights include a closing night performance by singer Natalie Cole and the “Food and Wine Classic,” an event at Chicago’s Navy Pier, where teams of association executives and chefs compete for the title of “Association Top Chef.”
Finally, attendees will be among the first to set foot in McCormick Place West—the 720,000-square-foot addition to McCormick Place. The opening night reception will be held in the 103,000-square-foot Skyline Ballroom, one of the largest ballrooms in the world. McCormick Place West officially opens August 1, eight months ahead of schedule. Other than the grand opening celebration, the ASAE conference is the first event slated for the new facility.
For more information and to register for the conference, go to ASAE’s annual meeting Web site .