SLA 2016 Annual Conference Report from Britt Mueller, 2016 President SLA San Diego Chapter
There was a real sense of renewal and energy at this conference. The hard work and many efforts to manage change over the past year and a half seem to have resulted in a cohesive sense of direction. With the new management structure in place and a new Board there was a push to continue the work to make SLA financially viable, meaningful for members, and highly relevant to information professionals overall.
A nice part of this conference was a really useful Conference App that was easy to use and provided a lot of information on sessions and events in a useful manner.
The conference numbers have not been finalized, but as of May reporting:
- 1,891 registrants including 907 full registrants, 562 Exhibitors, and 143 one-day or CE only.
- This does represent about a 15% decline from 2015 attendance numbers from the same time period.
AMC (Association Management Consultants) . New Executive Director and New Staff:
- SLA’s new Executive Director, Amy Lestition Burke, was appointed just a few short weeks prior to the conference. She brings a strong track record to the organization. I was impressed with her visibility and interactions with members during the conference. She repeatedly mentioned a focus on financial viability, organization excellence, and making the organization successful.
- Press Release Announcing Amy’s appointment as Executive Director: http://www.sla.org/about-sla/media-room/press-releases/sla-welcomes-amy-lestition-burke-cae-as-new-executive-director/
- Find a list of all SLA Staff on the website at: https://www.sla.org/about-sla/staff/
Financial Reporting and Support for Units and Unit Treasurers:
- First, there is a new wealth manager for the pooled fund that looks very promising. It is the RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) and they have been brought in to take a much broader look at the pooled fund needs. They also have significantly lower fees than the old fund managers and there is a promise of a high level of transparency and communication. They had only been brought on the week prior to the conference, but overall SLA is hoping that the pooled fund can see better returns and be better constructed to meet the longer term financial needs of the organization and the units.
- Second, SLA is encouraging using a unified structure that relates to simplifying and unifying some of the unit treasurer requirements. One such effort is making sure there is a common SLA signer (in the current case, Michele Jerome, SLAs interim COO). They are also unifying around annual reporting, audit and key controls. They seem to be considering encouraging units to use a a common bank.
- They will have a lot of financial and budgeting resources on the new communication platform, SLA Connect, including the new Unit Financial Handbook.
Chapter Unit Meeting:
San Diego Chapter representation from President, Britt Mueller and Incoming President, Greg Sorini. Both present for roll call.
Most of the discussion at the Chapter Unit Meeting was around a motion to re-instate the mid year leadership forum meeting to be in person rather than online. This meeting usually took place in January and unit leaders were invited to attend to network with others in SLA and obtain working knowledge of the organization and guidance on best practices as SLA leaders. SLA created this as a virtual “boot camp” this year, and had a much larger turnout. The motion that eventually passed was that the Chapter Units recommend that the Board consider reinstating the mid year leadership meeting to take place as an “in-person” conference.
The new platform is being widely rolled out and members are encouraged to use it and communicate to their membership via the Connect platform. List serve communications will be discontinued as of August 1st 2016. At present you must be a member to access SLA Connect. There are discussions underway as to different levels of access potentially being offered in the future.