I would like to share my thoughts on our most recent Executive Conference, now that I’ve had several weeks to reflect on it. San Francisco is a very special city and a very desirable destination for many of our members, as indicated by the input we have received over the years through surveys and conversations with members. This year we were finally able to make it happen. I admit that I was a little concerned because San Francisco is an expensive location. I was afraid that this could impact attendance. However, I was proven wrong, and the 2018 Executive Conference was a resounding record breaker, with 599 participants, 61 more than our previous record set in 2014 in San Diego. A very big thank you to the attendees, sponsors and staff.
For those of you who couldn’t attend, you missed my Year in Review presentation, dressed in my full Steve Jobs outfit. From the time we first decided to host the conference in San Francisco, I started to think about how to link our conference to the city and what it stands for. Many people associate San Francisco (and the nearby Silicon Valley) to innovation, and to Steve Jobs and Apple. In my presentation, I provided the usual update on the four CSIA focus areas, while making a comparison to Steve Jobs’ professional and personal experience.
Planning and executing the Executive Conference is a major undertaking. We start the process early with the selection of the location and venue. The selection of the 2019 venue was done in early 2017. In the past years we have created a content-relevant theme for our conference, based on what we perceive to be most timely and relevant to SIs. In 2017, we organized around the theme From best practices to transformative business models, and in 2018, the conference was themed Growth through innovation and sound business practices. We are currently in the process of beginning to plan for the 2019 Executive Conference, and have, in fact, already reached out to book the first professional speaker!
In the Fall, the board, an association management company representative and I will meet for the annual in-person board meeting. We plan to conduct a thorough review and update to our current strategic plan, three years after it was put in place. This may drive a slightly different set of focus areas to share during my 2019 Year in Review presentation. Who knows, maybe there is another inspiring figure for me to impersonate… I’ll have a few months to figure this out.