LOCATION: TALLAHASSEE, FLA.
RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION: CO-CHAIRPERSON, NATIONAL CONVENTION PLANNING COMMITTEE, CHURCH OF CHRIST WRITTEN IN HEAVEN INC.
Annie Grady is a very busy lady. She assists in planning a national convention every year and an annual convocation for the Church of Christ Written in Heaven, in addition to several retreats and board meetings. On top of that, she's an evangelist, an associate minister preaching the gospel at her local church in Gretna, Fla., for more than 15 years.
Her meeting planning experience goes back even further — almost 30 years. “I planned programs at my local church, whether they were musical programs, special events, or the local youth conventions,” she says. She also volunteered to help with the Annual Holy Convocation until 1993, when the National Convention Planning Committee officially formed.
Her job entails all aspects of the planning process, including site visits,negotiations, and all the logistics required for some pretty large events. The annual convocation, held every November, is the largest meeting that she assists in planning, with attendance at about 1,200.
She also helps with three other national conventions for COCWIH, each of which is held every four years. They include the Youth Convention, last held in 2009 in Portsmouth, Va.; the Women's Convention, held in 2010 Jacksonville, Fla.; and the Sunday School Convention, which took place July 13-16, 2011, in Jacksonville. Each of these national conventions typically attracts 300 to 500 attendees.
For the recent National Sunday School Convention, the group fell short of its room block goals. One year out, Grady asked the hotel to reduce the size of the block, but the hotel didn't oblige the request. However, Grady was able to negotiate a future meeting at the hotel to offset some of thepenalties — but she has also learned to keep her room blocks conservative.
“The biggest challenge is getting our members to register,” says Grady. Part of the problem is the economy, but also, after years of having the events held at churches, members are not used to meeting in hotels, she says. “But we're changing. This job keeps you praying and trusting in the Lord!”