Connections - Winter 2018 - 15

But NAEC accomplished the
seemingly impossible, and the
rescheduled show was a success.
"The exhibitors and attendees
who came to Atlantic City were
a phenomenal group of upbeat,
supportive people who were so
happy to be there. In some ways,
it was one of the best conventions
we've ever had," said Witham.
Members and non-members
personally thanked her, the staff and
the Board for their extraordinary
efforts to make the
convention happen.
There were some downsides.
The show didn't generate as much
revenue as budgeted, and NAEC
took a hit because it had to refund
some exhibitor and registration
fees. Fortunately, many agreed to
apply their payments towards the
2018 show. "That distributed our
hurt over two years instead of just
one," said Witham. "Instead of one
financially horrid year we will now
have two challenging ones, and we
will be fine after that."

Witham said it would be difficult
to plan in advance for an emergency
like this, especially since they are so
rare. "I've been in a meeting-oriented
environment for 40-plus years, and
I've never encountered anyone who
had to do this type of thing."
Reflecting on the experience,
Witham said she'd like NAEC
to develop a formal process for
refunding its own exhibitors
and attendees in the event of an
emergency. If that policy had been
established and in place, it would
have allowed the staff to focus
more on the planning needed for
the change rather than on so much
back and forth communication with
the cancelling parties. She advises
associations to confirm, months in
advance, that they have insurance
policies to limit their losses in the
event of an emergency. NAEC is now
having claim challenges due to some
delays and lack of communication
from their insurance-related vendors.
While Witham and her staff hope
they never again have to reschedule

a convention, she says that overall
the experience provided growth
opportunity for the staff and
reinforced an already strong
in-house team environment. She
expressed pride in how well the
staff handled the pressures of the
volume of work in a short period
of time.
Witham also reiterated that
without the cooperation of the
Orlando team, Freeman, the Atlantic
City teams, Connie Bergeron, the
confidence of the membership and
the interest of the industry, the
2017 Convention would not have
happened. She is also appreciative
of the board and volunteers' quick
responsiveness throughout
those weeks.
"It was certainly not a bed
of roses, but it was a million
times better than not having a
convention and exposition," Witham
added. "While, I wouldn't wish
the experience on anyone, I can't
imagine it could have turned out
much better."
connections >

15



Connections - Winter 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Connections - Winter 2018

GSAE News & Events
New Members
Living Legends: Jim Fowler, CAE; David Ellis, CAE; and Tara Morrison, CAE, CMP
Moving a Convention with Two Weeks’ Notice
What to Do First in an Active Security Threat
GSAE Presents Annual Awards
GSAE 100th Anniversary Gala & Holiday Luncheon
Meetings Tips & Tricks
Destination: Sandestin, Panama City, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Choices: Graduation Has Meaning
Advertiser.com
Index of Advertisers
Connections - Winter 2018 - Intro
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover1
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover2
Connections - Winter 2018 - 3
Connections - Winter 2018 - 4
Connections - Winter 2018 - 5
Connections - Winter 2018 - GSAE News & Events
Connections - Winter 2018 - 7
Connections - Winter 2018 - New Members
Connections - Winter 2018 - Living Legends: Jim Fowler, CAE; David Ellis, CAE; and Tara Morrison, CAE, CMP
Connections - Winter 2018 - 10
Connections - Winter 2018 - 11
Connections - Winter 2018 - Moving a Convention with Two Weeks’ Notice
Connections - Winter 2018 - 13
Connections - Winter 2018 - 14
Connections - Winter 2018 - 15
Connections - Winter 2018 - What to Do First in an Active Security Threat
Connections - Winter 2018 - 17
Connections - Winter 2018 - GSAE Presents Annual Awards
Connections - Winter 2018 - 19
Connections - Winter 2018 - 20
Connections - Winter 2018 - GSAE 100th Anniversary Gala & Holiday Luncheon
Connections - Winter 2018 - 22
Connections - Winter 2018 - 23
Connections - Winter 2018 - Meetings Tips & Tricks
Connections - Winter 2018 - 25
Connections - Winter 2018 - Destination: Sandestin, Panama City, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Connections - Winter 2018 - 27
Connections - Winter 2018 - Choices: Graduation Has Meaning
Connections - Winter 2018 - 29
Connections - Winter 2018 - Index of Advertisers
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover3
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover4
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