Water Haller: The demand for live events!
I have sat in on so many webinars about the "new normal” and the future of live events. The repeated message was that, at worst, we would likely NEVER return to events as we once knew them and, at best, it would take years to build up confidence in travel and live events again. I always argued the opposite – that people were sick of webinars and craved real people and live networking. I felt that people (like me!) would rush back to live events as soon as we could. One-way information has its purpose and is perhaps best delivered virtually, but the true value of a professional conference is the gathering of individuals and the building of networks.
I was certainly proven right (of course) this month as I began the new conference season. Conferences are back and attendance is better than ever…even if last minute. Registration began slowly for the OWWA conference in Niagara with just a few hundred signed up two weeks before the conference. But registrants doubled in the two weeks leading up to the event and some 200 water professionals lined up to register on site. This is unheard of! And NOT recommended if you don’t want to give the organizers a heart attack (we need a little warning to ensure seating, coffee, food and badges).
Pretty much the same story was repeated in Victoria for the BCWWA conference. The event saw wonderful attendance for a wonderful program. This also happened to be the BCWWA Conference’s 50th anniversary. Most amazing was that they assembled 25 of their Past Presidents on the stage together (several of these leaders had also served on our CWWA Board).
June holds a trip back to Niagara for the Canadian Water Summit where I am on the first plenary panel. Then AWWA’s ACE in San Antonio, where I expect to see them back over 10,000 in attendance. I wrap it up for the summer in London for the WEAO event where I share the stage with Barry Orr to discuss those damned flushable wipes. I’ll admit that I had some initial anxiety being back at a conference in a full room with barely any masks, but the warmth of seeing friends and colleagues helped me forget quickly.
All that said…I had BETTER see you all in Halifax for our first National Water & Wastewater Conference in 3 years!
The Window on Ottawa
Forget everything I said above about being tired of webinars ? because this series is worth it. Actually, even before COVID-19, we had determined that CWWA’s iconic Window on Ottawa might be better presented virtually so that we could reach as many members as possible with critical information about federal policies and programs.
We have presented 3 of the 6 sessions in May (Canada Drinking Water Guidelines, Plastics, Biosolids) but the other 3 are coming up in June (Climate Change, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity). You can still register here: https://cwwa.ca/events/#window
BCWWA President Linda Parkinson (in red), welcomes a long row of Past Presidents as they celebrate the 50th Anniversary of BCWWA’s Annual Conference.