Our 6th annual community conference, TheCR Connect kicks off today.
It is not the event I thought it would be, or wanted it to be. At The Community Roundtable we each try to find the work that energizes us, and for me it’s always been Connect. I love the planning, fitting all the puzzle pieces together, designing meaningful experiences, helping the right people find each other, creating a safe and dynamic space for our members and participants. I love watching everyone come together, watching first-time participants light up when they realize they’ve found their people, looking around as a speaker sparks dozens of ah-has in the audience.
But, this spring it became clear that Connect would not happen this year the way it had in the past. Scrapped were my plans for elaborate 20/20 vision-themed puns. So, no this event is not the event I thought it would be, or wanted it to be. As it turns out, it’s more.
Without the constraints of times zones or trying to jam everything we wanted to do into three days, new possibilities opened up. We could connect speakers from around the world on one panel; members who couldn’t even attend before due to time or budget constraints could take on active roles. Finally, we could explore multiple tracks and more specialized content.
Over the next month, we’ll host 74 sessions on 17 days. We’ll feature 101 speakers from around the world, from New Zealand to New York, Boston, Austin, and so many places in between. Our nine tracks range from inspiration to wellness to technology – encompassing the whole person a community manager is, not just their job.
We’ll host virtual chocolate tastings (though trust me, the chocolate will be real), live demos from technology partners, internal and external community strategy sessions, fundamental, advanced, and executive case studies from community experts, keynotes from thought-provoking leaders like Mia Birdsong and Priya Parker – all anchored by an interactive event community filled with AMAs, discussion threads, a wellness challenge, and yes – a pet thread.
And the secret ingredient? Our incredible members, clients, and partners, who trusted us enough to make this major pivot with us. We could not have done this alone. We built a framework, planted the seeds, and I am so excited to see what grows this month.
A year ago when we started planning Connect 2020 I could not have imagined the event we have created and we are just getting started. I hope you will join us for this month-long adventure. More than ever we need to connect – I hope to see you there.