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The Religious Conference Management Association's first regional Aspire event drew almost 100 faith-based meeting planners and hospitality professionals from 14 different states to the Sheraton Music City hotel May 20–21. Here's a peek at some of what happened at the conference.
Reinventing RCMA: A Progress Report
RCMA Director of Conferences and Events Dean Jones wrapped up the conference with a highly interactive session on what the organization has been up to lately, from its reinvented Emerge conference to its rebranding efforts, and a look at some of what’s currently under development.
The new logo reflects both the community and the forward movement the organization is taking. The new Web site also features the Membersuite membership management database, which members can update themselves. Planners also can input information about their own meetings into an upcoming-meetings database on the site. He also mentioned RCMA venturing into with its own Facebook page, and the new size, design, and format of magazine.
When it comes to Emerge, RCMA’s flagship conference, Jones said the organization is always looking to add community-building opportunities. For this year’s conference, these included receptions, late-night networking sessions, and a free night when planners and hospitality folks could meet on their own.
For 2014, which will be held in Sacramento February 4–6, look for the addition of a morning fun run. And while 150 people did come to the topic-themed late-night networking sessions at this year’s Emerge, Jones pondered if an early-morning time slot might be better for next year, because there will be a preponderance of people not yet adjusted to West Coast time for whom 9 p.m. will still feel like midnight. The majority of the crowd agreed.
The morning devotion will continue for the 2014 Emerge, as will the appointments—though RCMA is going to use a different appointment-setting software program. RCMA also would like to help coordinate more meetings during Emerge among planners who share a denomination. After Sacramento, Emerge will head to Birmingham, Ala., January 26–29, 2015, where it hasn’t been in 20 years.