Ode to the Conference Committee

**First Friday Flashback, from Sept. 2014**

The Call for Papers for the 2016 NAJIT conference in San Antonio has been announced! Remember, even if you can’t submit a proposal, you can recommend a great presenter! This year’s Conference Committee needs your input – click on the NAJIT home page for more information. Hope to see you there! 


Hats off, applause, three cheers,
To conference volunteers.
Who dedicate months and years,
In the service of their peers.

They search all around, everywhere,
For the best of the best,
For professionals to come and share,
A noble but challenging quest.

And when the day finally comes,
They stand aside,
Watching from afar,
As attendees arrive.

Will their efforts bear fruit?
Will the event be a hit?
Will their horns toot?
Perhaps not even a bit.

Because we often forget,
Sad but spot-on,
All the work and effort,
Even after we’re gone.

Take this ode to heart,
And lend a helping hand,
Pay it forward, do your part,
To make the efforts grand.

A simple thanks,
A heartfelt pause,
To the conference volunteers,
Who promote a worthy cause.

This fun, perhaps corny, poem comes from the heart. I’ve been involved in various parts of conference planning for our profession at this point, and I think each of us should have conference committees on our minds. It is hard work to organize these events!

When you come across an expert or a presenter who you think has something great to share, please get in touch with the continuing education division of your favorite professional organization and provide contact information. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the best presenters are referred by somebody we know.

Remember, not all presenters have to be members of our profession or experienced in speaking at our events. Who wouldn’t enjoy a fresh, unique, or innovative presentation that looks at an old topic in a new way? Committees are always searching for creative ideas to help us continue to grow while we network and socialize with friends.

Short and sweet, for all they do, my heartfelt thank you and respect to the volunteers responsible for the amazing continuing education we enjoy!

6 thoughts on “Ode to the Conference Committee”

  1. Gio Lester says:

    So true, Jen! We are usually so concerned with is right in our faces we forget all the background work. Thank you for bringing our Life Support Staff to the fore. If you extrapolate your poem to encompass life, you will understand what I mean.

    One of my favorite conference clients always made a point of thanking the technicians, support staff – including venue staff, planners and interpreters besides organizers, speakers and attendees. That made working with them an extra pleasure. But this was someone who was aware of his own beginnings and could appreciate the help he received to be where he was. Being thankful was part of his core values.

    We should all practice a bit of that.

  2. Kevin Mercado says:

    I planned my first conference for CCIO last year; lots of work. Wouldn’t have been possible without all the folks who pitched in to make it a success. This year I’m playing more of a support role, and its still a ton of work. I’d encourage folks to get active and participate in helping to strengthen the profession, even if its the smallest amount of help, things are at their best when we all pitch in what we can. Hopefully, I can make it to Atlanta.

  3. George Gage says:

    Beautiful, Jenn!

    If you have a need for an EDU session, ie, teaching interpreting and translation, I might be your guy.

    Un abrazotototote,


  4. Jennifer De La Cruz says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Indeed, we need more volunteers. In general, I think folks may have the impression that volunteering to assist a colleague for an educational event is overwhelming. I say that if more people volunteered, the work would be better divided. 🙂 Besides, even helping with something minor can be a huge relief. I’ve also noticed that it’s a great way to network and even learn skills that go above and beyond what we typically do in court or behind a computer screen.

  5. Janis Palma says:

    Jen, it is always very touching to see someone “in the limelight” take a moment to thank the people who work so hard behind the scenes to make conferences succeed. I am sure your Ode made the day for many colleagues, and I certainly hope a lot more will feel inspired to volunteer for the next one. Thank you for this “heartfelt pause.”

  6. Judy Jenner says:

    Lovely indeed! It’s important to volunteer and to give back to the profession, and we sure do need more volunteers. As a NAJIT conference planning committee member, I especially appreciated this nice poem. And I look forward to volunteering again for next year’s conference.

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