Matthew T. Phillips

2020 Annual Meeting Planning

I had a chance to sit down with a representative from one of the conference locations that I’ll recommend to the Executive Committee at our annual meeting in Savannah. Dan Herron has asked the executive committee candidates not to discuss our recommended meeting locations because of the danger that members vote for locations rather than leaders, so I won’t go into geographic details.

This conversation, though, was a great reminder of how special our organization is. As I talked with the representative about the group’s needs, I could imagine laughing tables of friends at the banquet, my colleagues and their kids playing at the pool, and choosing between restaurants to have smaller meetings. The hotel representative was fascinated as I described our group’s priorities: great places to meet with each other (she kept saying “networking,” and I kept saying “visiting, like with your family”), activities after our meetings that would give us a chance to reflect and think about big ideas, spaces that make everyone feel included, and a comfortable, welcoming environment. “Usually people just say 13,000 square feet of meeting space and 180 rooms,” she replied with a smile.

The best part about being a candidate for the executive committee is that I get to reflect about what makes this organization special, and how important it is to me.

In case you’re curious, Dan Herron will manage the final site selection and hotel negotiation as he always does; candidates just recommend cities, with some hotel information thrown in to help the Executive Committee make the final choice. I’ve been trying to find places that are easy to travel to (with a direct plane flight from as many places as possible) and where hotels are very reasonably priced, since we’ll be coming off a couple years of locations that often take a connection for air travel.