GALA 2009: The business of language. The language of business.
James F. Hollan III, CAE, GALA
GALA’s new executive director shares the scoop on GALA’s first conference, slated for September 2009.
GALA 2009: The Language of Business. The Business of Language. is our association’s first step towards creating a new “Must Do” industry-wide event. GALA is moving to emulate that which works well for the vast majority of successful trade associations. It is our goal to create an umbrella event that invites all segments of our industry into “the tent” so that we can learn and share and network with one another.
Our industry must move away from the current glut of far too many small overlapping and often repetitive meetings. Great meetings offer a broad palette of workshops, education, services and networking opportunities. Great meetings include the large and small players in the industry, and by their nature they bring larger and more diverse audiences to all of those partners in the industry.
It is ironic that our first step simply creates another meeting in an already overcrowded field; some observers have focused on that apparent contradiction. The simple truth is that you cannot get to step two without taking step one. I expect the GALA annual meeting will attract thousands of attendees several years down the road but you don’t just snap your fingers and put on a great event. You build it.
It is important to remember that this “new” event is the result of a long and involved survey and planning process on the part of GALA’s membership that came together in a 2007 document called the 2010 Plan. That document outlined core actions that our member companies determined were necessary for our association and our industry to grow. At the base of that plan is a belief that “a rising tide raises all ships” along with a desire from our membership to develop and manage our own industry events. We all know that we are still a low-visibility industry. We know that many thousands of potential end users would benefit from our products and services but they don’t know who we are or what we do. Great meetings not only allow us to communicate with each other, they allow us to tell our story to the world.
Our program committee of Aki Ito, Kim Harris, Hans Fenstermacher and Kevin Fountoukidis is focused solely on developing great workshops for this event. Our board and program committee are currently reviewing a remarkable group of potential keynote speakers. We recognize that modern associations address the needs of the “entire person” and we have made this meeting both user friendly and family friendly. It is a good thing for great meetings to also be “fun.” It is smart to be family friendly. And it is smart to be in a beautiful location that encourages networking and communication.
We are building something new here and I invite all of you to join us. I want you to be a participant but I hope you will also be an architect as you contribute your ideas as to how we will make GALA 2010 better, bigger and even more valuable to you individually. I hope to see you in Cancun.
James F. Hollan III, CAE, is the executive director of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA).