Volunteers Wanted! by Suzanne Purkis

As our members know, Ottawa-Gatineau Branch of Editors Canada is hosting the 2017 conference. Plans for the conference are being drawn up right now, and it promises to be an exciting event. Such a large-scale affair depends heavily on the efforts of dedicated volunteers for its success, and we are looking for help. Specific positions and their responsibilities are given below:

All volunteers will participate in weekly teleconferences with conference committee and national office staff; meetings take about an hour.

 Volunteer Coordinator

  • Recruit and coordinate conference volunteers, including on-site volunteers at the conference (e.g., to set-up/tear-down registration area, staff registration desk, run errands, etc.).
  • Compile contact lists of volunteers; we need this info for thanking and recognizing them, such as the annual report, website (with links to their websites and/or ODE listings), list on program, etc.
  • Prepare schedules for on-site volunteers and coordinate their requirements.
  • Ongoing communication with volunteers via email and phone.
  • On-site training or instruction for volunteers at the conference.

 Speaker Coordinator

  • Research and compile contact information for potential speakers for discussion and selection.
  • Coordinate outside speakers.
    • Approach selected speakers as directed by conference co-chairs.
    • When speakers accept, follow up with standard info request (e.g., bio, photo, technical requirements, handouts, presenter agreement); if speakers decline, thank them.
  • Coordinate Editors Canada member speakers.
    • Prepare call for conference proposals (modified from previous conferences).
    • Organize and compile proposals into spreadsheet to facilitate evaluating, selecting and tracking speakers (conference committee and advisory committee selects speakers).
    • Inform speakers if they’ve been selected or not selected.
  • Handle all communication with speakers: changes to session, follow up for missing elements, requirements for materials or equipment.
  • Edit session information provided by speakers as needed: summaries, titles and bios; this information will be used on website, printed program, promotion, etc.
  • Assign sessions to rooms in time for final program design.

 Social Media Coordinator

  • Initiate and coordinate conference communication and promotion on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr (on Editors Canada’s account), Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, etc.

We will also be looking to fill the following positions: Billeting Coordinator, Conference Buddies Coordinator, Local Experience Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Session Host Coordinator, Speed Mentoring Coordinator, Speed Networking Coordinator, and Vendor Fair Coordinator.

If you are interested, please let us know at conference2017_chair@editors.ca. We hope to hear from you soon!

To chair or not to chair by Gael Spivak

To chair or not to chair

What’s it like co-chairing an Editors Canada conference committee? Well, it depends.

I’ve done it twice. Once, by design. The second time, totally by accident.

The first time was for the 2012 conference in Ottawa. The national executive council approved Christine LeBlanc as the chair and she then asked me to be her co-chair. We’d worked well together on the branch executive and I thought it would be fun. It was (mostly!). A lot of work but really fun.

And I learned so much. I learned

  • how to supervise a team (we had about 15 core volunteers),
  • how to use social media to market,
  • how to run a big event, and
  • how to split tasks with a co-leader.

All of those are transferable skills that I took back to my workplace. I’d just been laid off in the big sweep of government cuts, so I knew I’d be looking for work once the conference was over.

I went on an assignment in another branch at my workplace. After a few months, my new boss said something about my volunteering (on the conference and on the national executive council). He commented that with all my skills, and all the things I’d learned in my volunteer work with Editors Canada, there was no doubt they’d find a place for me. That really struck me, that he noticed that (it wasn’t something I talked about a lot but he’d seen my resumé). And they did. I got hired back on, in another job. And I was told that my volunteer work contributed to me getting the job.

The second conference I co-chaired, the international one that happened in June of this year, I did not intend to be so involved in. Yes, I am the director of training and development but I figured that would be it. And with Greg Ioannou chairing, there would not be much for me to contribute (except cajoling him to submit chair reports). Then he asked me if I’d help him by providing some input and advice, and maybe working a little bit on getting speakers.

After I agreed to that, this conference (to some unusual circumstances) ended up being almost entirely volunteer run (instead of the usual volunteer–office division of tasks). And I got completely drawn in to helping.

It was a ton of work but we had such a fabulous team (and we never did really settle on if I was truly the co-chair or if we actually had five co-chairs). And I got to be part of something brand new and huge: the first ever international editing conference, a pretty cool thing to get to work on.

Things I learned about this time around included

  • figuring out how to effectively work with someone whose style is utterly different from my own (and everyone else’s on the team),
  • learning how to delegate with no strings but still keep a good grasp of the overall picture, and
  • creating mini-communities of editors from around the world, to talk about how to run editing associations.

I also learned that there is more than one way to run a conference and both ways are right. There often is not one right way to do something.

Those are also things I can take back to my workplace. In fact, the people at my work who got really excited about the last point (creating international groups) are two executives. They immediately understood the significance of that kind of experience, as a volunteer but also for government work.

Running a conference is a big deal. It’s a lot of work. But it’s also a lot of fun, and you learn so very much. Co-chairing these conferences were a big investment of my time but the return on my investment was pretty big.

Call for volunteers

The Ottawa-Gatineau branch of Editors Canada is hosting the Annual Conference for 2017, and we are looking for volunteers for the position of co-chairs. We will need two (or more) co-chairs. According to Appendix II of the Editors’ Association of Canada Conference Handbook (2015), the conference co-chairs have the following responsibilities*:

Conference co-chairs

  • Two (or more) co-chairs.
  • Co-chair weekly teleconferences with conference committee and national office staff; meetings take about an hour.
  • Establish conference theme (approved by NEC) and steer conference direction.
  • Recruit, hire and manage committee members.
  • Manage work of committee to meet deadlines; prepare task lists or other tracking methods.
  • Recruit advisory group (optional); ask advisory group for input on theme, speaker line-up, marketing.
  •   Review and approve all communications.
  • Source, evaluate and recommend conference venues (NOTE: all agreements, quotes, contracts must be approved and signed by the executive director).
  • Facilitate branch/ twig involvement in conference. Your branch or twig will organize and promote pre-conference workshops, promote conference to branch members, host welcome reception, share connections to potential speakers, etc.
  •   Source and coordinate sponsorships; keep track of amounts committed, contact info and mailing addresses (sponsor thank you letters prepared and sent by the office).
  • Source and coordinate donations, samples and giveaways, such as items for conference bags; keep track of items committed and received, including contact info and mailing addresses (donor thank you letters prepared and sent by the office).
  • Find opportunities for ongoing informal and formal volunteer recognition.
  • MC the Awards Banquet (optional); main role as MC is to introduce award presenters.
  • Write thank-you notes to conference committee volunteers after conference.

If you believe  you can help organize our conference, please contact  Director_Training@editors.ca. We look forward to hearing from you.

*Reproduced with permission from Editors Canada