Virtual Library

Conference Duties

  • Duties for Conference Director, CIAA annual conference

    • The Conference director's role is the most visible, the most challenging, and, we like to say, the most fun. If chosen for the directorship you likely already have a history with the CIAA and have held a portfolio or two. You have attended many a conference and are determined to make your imprint on organizing and assembling a great committee. You are a cheerleader for the CIAA and its mandate and want to harness all your experience and skills into doing something completely different than your day job, hosting a first-class conference and carrying on a proud tradition. Here is an overview of what is expected if you decide to pursue this role:

    • Recruit and select your committee chairs (treasurer, business program, social, registration and sponsorship). Organize and chair all committee meetings and conference calls and provide progress reports to the Board as required.

    • Conference dates are set for mid- September and hotel locations are booked years in advance. The CIAA has a designated Board member responsible for long-term planning and booking conference locations.

    • Participate in hotel on-site visit to ensure venue is suitable and expectations are met. There is a hotel site check-list that is handy for your purposes. This visit is typically a working trip with two of your committee chairs (business program and social). Items for discussion include logistics, meals, accommodations and off-site events.

    • Review hotel and site contract agreement. This document is vital as penalties are costly if guarantees are not met.

    • Responsible for launching conference theme (with assistance from marketing agency) and all marketing-related material. This includes a conference teaser, web site updates, conference registration package (brochure and registration form are both on-line and hard copy), conference program, carry me around card, signage, post conference web site and speaker handouts. Approval of all collateral material as prepared by marketing agency. Marketing agency handles all editorial content and design while you are responsible for direction and approval. It is close working relationship that extends over the planning of the conference, during the conference and a post conference debriefing.

    • Liaise closely with all committee members acting as an advisor when required. Informal contact is required as formal conference calls may not suffice.

    • Report regularly to the Board as required and touching base with the CIAA President as required. As the CIAA's flagship event, it is imperative that all parties be kept informed of your progress.

    • Act as the official host during the conference. Welcoming delegates and non-delegates at the kick off. Handling podium duties as required, meeting all moderators, speakers, and thanking sponsors. You also wrap up the conference and introduce your successor.

    • Act as the senior ambassador (with the CIAA President) with all invited speakers for picture taking/media relations and representing CIAA with the local charity that benefits from the raffle.

    • Review and approve final hotel billing and other conference related billings. Liaise with Board on sign off and hand off to CIAA administration.

    • Troubleshoot any conference-related issues with the hotel and/or committee chairs or attendees.

    • You immediately join the Board of Directors at the AGM as your experience as a conference director is vital to the incoming conference director and the Board. Share expertise and recommendations with your successor.

  • Duties for Business program chair, CIAA annual conference

    • The business program is the engine of any conference and the CIAA conference is no different. Good speakers, meaningful topics and thoughtful moderators are all critical to the success of the conference. Do you have the skills and aptitude to bring a business program together and keep attendees engaged? Here is an overview of what is expected if you decide to handle this portfolio:

    • Participate in all committee conference calls and provide progress reports as required. You report directly to the conference director. Typically you assemble a small committee of CIAA members to assist you in your duties.

    • Maintain a budget for the business program that includes keynote speaker costs (may include travel), AV requirements, speaker gifts, etc. You will receive a template from the previous year's program chair to assist you.

    • Participate in hotel on-site visit to ensure venue is suitable and AV requirements are met. Ultimately, you will finalize the hotel room set up (i.e. theatre style) for the sessions.

    • Liaise with conference director and committee to finalize keynote speaker. This is typically the only paid speaker at the conference and is a pivotal position as it sets the tone of the conference and can be a draw for those thinking about attending.

    • Formulate a business program that addresses both non-negotiable sessions (i.e. accounting update) and industry-related sessions that will engage, educate or entertain. This is where you can be creative and leave an imprint on the conference's success.

    • Contact speakers to determine interest and availability. Call on certain CIAA members who may have a personal/business connection with speaker to ensure invitation is given due consideration.

    • Open up lines of communication with speakers once confirmation is made. Responsible for a confirmation package (under your signature) that requests information such as travel plans, AV requirements, etc.)

    • Open up lines of communication with moderators once confirmation is made. Assist in creating questions or suggesting themes for sessions, if necessary. Moderators are integral to the sessions going smoothly and adding value to the proceedings. ¥Careful attention paid to senior level panels (CEO and CFO) to ensure moderator is de-briefed, a pre-conference call is set as to discuss the agenda and parameters of the presentation are agreed upon.

    • Liaise with marketing agency once speakers are finalized to forward bios, images and descriptions of presentations for inclusion in conference program.

    • Maintain master list of speaker program which details session location, moderator, length of presentation, AV requirements, handouts vs. on-line presentation, etc.

    • Reserve rooms for conference speakers by liaising with registration chair. Arrange for speaker gifts and method of delivery.

    • Liaise with marketing agency on all business program pages in the conference program, approve all copy/images and descriptions, including inclusion of speaker notes posted on-line post conference.

    • Coordinate with CIAA administrator, the conference evaluation forms that are emailed to all attendees. Summarize findings and share with committee.

    • Troubleshoot any business program-related issues. Welcome speakers to the conference and act as ambassador for the conference. Share expertise and recommendations with your successor.

  • Duties for Treasurer, CIAA annual conference

    • Handling the budget for the conference is a natural fit for many CIAA members. Each year we enlist a treasurer who plays an important role in making sure we stay on budget and operate in a transparent manner. The Treasurer has full access to previous conference budgets giving an excellent overview of expenses from year to year. Here is an overview of what is expected if you decide to take on the position of Treasurer:

    • Participate in all committee conference calls and provide progress reports as required. You report directly to the conference director. In his or her absence, you lead any meetings or calls on their behalf.

    • Obtain budget file from previous year's conference Treasurer.

    • Receive a budget from each committee chairperson (social, business program, etc.) and prepare a consolidated budget for the Conference Director. The Treasurer will run a projected budget based on projected attendance figures.

    • Coordinate all financial activity, cash receipts and disbursements on behalf of the conference committee. Liaise with CIAA Administrator to coordinate payments.

    • Monitor expense to budget during conference.

    • Review hotel billings for integrity and accuracy. Liaise with committee chairs and director as required.

    • Maintain records of expenditures during the conference and update Conference Director. Prepare final financial statements for presentation to Conference Director.

    • Troubleshoot any budget-related issues. Share ideas or recommendations for future improvement. Avail yourself to your successor for the subsequent conference.

  • Duties for Registration chair, CIAA annual conference

    • Registration is a vital role for the smooth performance of any conference. What could be more important than knowing who is attending, what they intend to do there and how will they pay? The CIAA has a registration process for the annual conference that is proven to be functional and easy to maintain. Here is an overview of what is expected if you decide to handle this portfolio:

    • Participate in all committee conference calls and provide progress reports as required. You report directly to the conference director.

    • Develop the registration form for use in print and on-line for distribution to members of the association. Develop the style and content of the form and arrange with the marketing agency for posting/mailing. Liaise with social chair for networking activities, pricing and applicable taxes. Form content includes all conference fees, activity fees, non-delegate pricing and cancellation date.

    • Liaise with suppliers and inform marketing agency of any business arrangements/discounts that have been procured by the CIAA. Previous arrangements have been secured with Air Canada, WestJet, AVIS car rental, discounted hotel parking and a shuttle service to the airport.

    • Tabulate completed registration forms and remit funds to the CIAA administrator. Payment options include on-line or cheque and roughly there is a 50/50 split of how attendees pay. Forward cheques for deposit. Keep Conference Director informed on numbers of registrants. Ensure cancelled registrations receive refunds.

    • Chair will have password-protected access to the database that is generated by the on-line registration. All information is at your fingertips as it generates list of attendees, companies, selected activities, non-delegates information, food requirements and payment information. It is printable.

    • Reconcile number of attendees registered with revenue received and verify with hotel registry. The CIAA has attendees book their hotel room separately so they are responsible for upgrades, special requests, etc. The CIAA provides a link and conference code to ensure favourable conference rates.

    • Monitor the status of hotel room block. The Chair will receive a weekly report from hotel of rooms picked up to date. Reconcile hotel list to registration's list of attendees. Keep committee informed as a block of rooms are held to a specific date and must be released in order for the CIAA not to incur any penalty.

    • Reserve rooms for conference speakers. Liaise with the Business Program Chairperson to obtain dates and details.

    • Provide to marketing agency, a list of attendees and organizations to be included in conference program. Late registrants are welcome.

    • Liaise with marketing agency as to which sponsors are providing promotional material/giveaways for the conference registration package. Typically we procure some 10Ñ15 items that need to be included in each package. Examples include pens, portfolios, industry reports, keychains, etc. If industry-related material, the non-delegates are not included in the distribution.

    • Staff the registration desk at the conference (typically the Sunday afternoon prior to conference welcome party) and welcome all delegates and non-delegates to the conference. Coordinate printing of nametags (with CIAA administrator) to be distributed at registration.

    • Confirm at conference registration: the chosen networking activity for the delegate and/or non-delegate and provide any details. Offer support to first time conference-goers.

    • Troubleshoot any registration-related issues. Welcome late arrivals to the conference and make sure they receive package. Share ideas or recommendations for future improvement.

  • Duties for Marketing agency, CIAA annual conference

    • As we know the conference committee is strictly a volunteer effort. Saying that, the conference contracts the services of a marketing agency to bring the committee's vision to life. From print material, to on-line work and liaising with sponsors, the agency works at the direction of the conference director and the committee. Here is an abbreviated overview of what services the marketing agency provides to the conference:

    • Participate in all committee conference calls and provide progress reports as required. The agency reports directly to the conference director and assists chairs as required.

    • Assist in the development of a conference theme. Typically some options are provided, as well as concepts/mockups of the Ôlook and feel' of the conference. Approval is sought from the conference director.

    • Research and submit ideas for keynote speaker. This may involve some Ôdue diligence' in checking out speaker references or negotiating terms with selected speaker. Approval by conference director.

    • Handle all editorial, creative and production work for the following: conference teaser (hard copy and on-line versions; conference registration kit (includes brochure and form); conference booklet/program with speaker bios and business program; powerpoint of logos on a loop during conference, carry me around card for lanyard; all signage for levels of sponsorship; a post conference micro web site which includes photo gallery and speaker presentations. Editorial services include conference director's messages, speaker profiles, business program descriptions, social program publicity, non-delegates program, charitable organization material, etc.

    • Work closely with sponsorship chair to ensure sponsorship agreements are handled professionally and with attention to detail. Starts with a two sponsorship sell sheets, one for Farm Mutuals and generic sheet for all repeat and/or potential sponsors. Following up with sponsors, ensuring logos are accurate, inviting giveaways/promotional items for attendees, liaising with all delivery instructions with hotel, liaising with registration for inserts into conference packages. Ensure Gold sponsors are handled expertly as their benefits are more detailed.

    • On the business program, marketing can play a variety of roles depending on the chair. Secure speakers, brainstorming ideas for local talent, filling ÒgapsÓ in the program or bringing an innovative idea to the table. Once speakers are secured, marketing works to profile them in conference program liaises with keynote sponsor for introductory remarks, obtain professional photos, etc.

    • Public/media relations. The marketing agency attends the conference and handles a variety of public relations duties on-site from being point of contact for keynote, to arranging photography, taking minutes at the AGM, group photos of Board of Directors and following up with Canadian Underwriter for insertion into magazine. Depending on the speaker program, the agency may cover the events and submit editorial content to the magazine.

    • Registration is available on-line and the agency coordinates the back end database so registration chair is able to see and tabulate all registrant information.

    • Advertising. Agency can create and submit original artwork promoting conference to suitable audiences.

    • Agency liaises with local charity to obtain approval for conference book, secure a representative from charity to attend and accept donation. May coordinate an e-mailer inviting delegates, sponsors and speakers to donate to CIAA raffle.

    • Act as a senior public relations person during the conference. Act on the direction of conference director and chairs, performing duties as required.

  • Duties for Sponsorship chair, CIAA annual conference

    • Simply put, sponsorships help keep the CIAA conference affordable for our members. We run a first class conference and so we ask companies for sponsorship dollars to help us defray costs. But, as we know, asking for money is always a challenge so you must be organized, tenacious and enjoy being a promoter of the CIAA and its mandate. The good news is, we get plenty of repeat sponsors and our sponsorship program is efficient and economical to purchase. Having the use of an administrative assistant is most helpful. Here is an overview of what is expected if you decide to handle this portfolio:

    • Participate in all committee conference calls and provide progress reports as required. You report directly to the conference director.

    • The Chair receives a detailed spread sheet from the previous year's chair which outlines previous sponsors, level of sponsorship, contact names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. This is your most important document as the CIAA enjoys many repeat sponsors from year to year.

    • Develop the sponsorship package for distribution to repeat sponsors and new potentials. Package includes a full colour PDF developed with marketing agency outlining sponsorship packages, pricing, and the benefits of each. This is a sponsorship sell sheet. Package also includes a welcome letter signed by the conference chair. It is typically emailed and requests a response by a certain date. Once a positive response is obtained, an invoice is sent out and the cheques are collected by the sponsorship chair. They are then forwarded to the CIAA administrator.

    • The Farm Mutuals are targeted separately as they typically come together to purchase a single gold level sponsorship. The Chair approves a targeted PDF to the Farm Mutuals outlining its agreement and features of sponsorship. There is typically a contact person who coordinates the Farm Mutual response and liaises with the marketing agency.

    • The Sponsorship chair solicits input from the committee as to new potential sponsors and contacts. The Chair often works the phones to engage a positive response or to follow up.

    • Sponsorship works closely with the marketing agency to ensure that the perks of sponsoring are fulfilled and sponsors get the service they expect. For example, the sponsor of the business program gets a full-page advert. The marketing agency is regularly updated with a list of sponsors to contact as the agreements are made.

    • The Chair liaises with the marketing agency to ensure that sponsors are given the opportunity to send giveaways/ promotional items/reports, etc to the conference for distribution to the attendees.

    • The Chair liaises with the Conference Director to ensure that the sponsors are thanked from the podium during the course of the conference.

    • The Chair ensures that professional signage thanking the sponsors is in place at the conference. The marketing agency is responsible for contacting all sponsors to obtain a current, quality logo from each sponsor.

    • The CIAA does a 'post- conference' web site whereby the sponsors' logos and live links are available. The Chair ensures the accuracy.

    • Sponsors' logos are printed in the conference program as a feature of their sponsorship agreement. The Chair approves all sponsorship pages in the book, including any advertisements or advertorial pages.

    • The Chair is responsible for the integrity of a sponsorship spread sheet which keeps a detailed record of sponsors, contacts, phone and email addresses, payment received, etc. This consolidated report is handed off to the subsequent chair for the next year.

  • Duties for Social chair, CIAA annual conference

    • The social side of any conference is memorable. People want to have fun, socialize and network and for some attendees, this is the only conference that they attend every year. Great social events do not just happen É they require planning, good food, ambiance and attention to detail. You are also responsible for setting up a program for the non-delegates to keep them entertained while the business sessions are happening. The good news is hotels, such as the Fairmont, have experienced staff that guide you every step of the way. We also use the services of a local event planner if necessary. Here is an overview of what is expected if you decide to handle this portfolio:

    • Participate in all committee conference calls and provide progress reports as required. You report directly to the conference director. You may enlist a couple of CIAA members to assist you.

    • Participate in hotel on-site visit to ensure venue is suitable and plan menus/get ideas for conference social program. The location of the hotel and city often dictate points of interest that drive the social program.

    • As conference date gets closer, keep in constant contact with hotel representative and event planner to ensure all is on schedule.

    • Maintain a budget for the social program that includes meals, entertainment, networking activities, decorations, transportation costs etc. Budget scenarios are based on the projected number of attendees. You will receive a template from the previous year's program chair as a frame of reference.

    • Select all meals and beverages and arrange for all entertainment for delegates and non-delegates as agreed to in the budget presented and accepted by the Conference committee. Please consider wine for the tables during dinner and factor in the drink tickets into your costs.

    • Organize an all day excursion for non-delegates that meets our needs in terms of timing, price and entertainment value. Bear in mind that non-delegates are not factored into lunch costs, but are there for breakfast and dinner costs.

    • Propose at least three networking activities for the Tuesday afternoon that meet (or exceed) the expectations of attendees. Ask the hotel for suggestions as well. Typically activities are in the same price range and offer attendees an opportunity to experience what the area has to offer (i.e. hiking in the Rockies).

    • Liaise with hotel staff to ensure that all facilities are provided as agreed and event functions are properly planned, monitored, start on time and resolve any problems that may arise. You are the on-site troubleshooter for all social events.

    • Approve bills presented for all event functions and verify to ensure guarantees and numbers of meals are as contracted for at the price agreed.

    • Responsible for the pre-conference committee event, book restaurant, invite committee members and guests, confirm numbers, arrange transportation.

    • Liaise with marketing agency for all related material to be included in conference registration package and conference program. Marketing agency will source images for use from tourist boards or event planners. Chair will approve all copy and images selected.

    • Troubleshoot any social program-related issues. Be available as point of contact for all food and beverage matters on site. Act as CIAA ambassador at all functions. Share ideas or recommendations for future improvement.

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