I’ve been to a lot of industry events. And in evaluating conferences, there are a number of things that I look for when deciding whether or not I would attend again. When budgets are tight, there are a handful of key factors that reign supreme: (1) venue, (2) local logistics, (3) content, (4) speakers (5) networking and (6) overall event impact.
Let’s go one by one.
I found the E. Hartford Convention Center to be a fantastic location. The facility appears to be relatively new and well laid out. There were plenty of restrooms and strategically located to the ballroom and breakout rooms. No walking a mile to the restroom. Hotels are strategically located; literally a Marriott next door and other top name brand hotels within easy walking distance. My only negative comment would be that Hartford is a long way from the west coast. Overall, though, a great venue.
The Exhibit area was strategically placed outside of the main ballroom and designed to encourage foot traffic as the sessions broke. Additionally, IGI did a fantastic job of ensuring that the break goodies were placed within the exhibit area, requiring attendees to pass by the exhibit tables and encouraged conversation.
The event started with Barclay laying the groundwork for what we should expect over the next few days then we plunged into some extremely challenging and sometimes heated, yet professional discussions around information governance. One of the topics that created lively discussion was around whether we keep it all. I think that next year, we might consider boxing gloves for this session. Other topics included understanding how we as a society are so connected whether we realize it or not, from the alarm and utility systems in our homes to the cell phones tracking our every steps.
The speakers were absolutely fantastic. All of the speakers -- whether from in-house counsel, vendor, or law firm -- all contributed to a better understanding of the direction that the industry needs to either move, or at least what we need to be thinking about. Each came with a unique perspective based on their tenured experience in their industry and offered ideas and thoughts for best practices. I didn’t get to attend all sessions, but I can say that every session I attended the speakers were professional and knew their content.
Between the breakfast meetings, the lunches together, and then the cocktail time afterward, there were plenty of opportunities for networking with past relationships and developing new ones.
All I can say is ‘wow.’ I’ve been to a lot of events, and rarely is there this level of sophistication in such a nascent program! For a second year effort, I’d have to say that I was absolutely impressed. If you hadn’t been explicitly informed it was only the second year of conducting this event, you would never have guessed.
Overall, the experience was fantastic. I’m glad for the connections I made and the professional discussions I was able to have. But more than anything, I’m already looking forward to the 2016 event!