First-ever Virtual Forum Forward an Overwhelming Success

Forum Forward 2020 delivered a full-day experience that was as compelling as an in-person event.

By the <i>FORUM</i> Magazine editors

FRM NovDec ITK ForumForward

From yoga to live video chats to panels of industry influencers, Forum Forward 2020 delivered a full-day experience. Although attendees joined virtually — from home, from an office or somewhere else — the conference experience was as compelling as an in-person event.

Nikki Golden, CAE, strategist for Association Laboratory, Inc., said: “Great job, Association Forum. This is exactly what we needed right now. Great content, and great to be able to do some of the live networking. Love ending with a wellness session!”

Association Forum’s education team pulled off a one-of-a-kind event that had all the trappings of an in-person experience. They knew that an all-day online conference could be draining, which is why they incorporated plenty of breaks and wellness content. But they were also contending with the use of new technology. CadmiumCD provided a sleek meeting platform that was far more robust than your typical webinar. Since many attendees were new to this format, Association Forum hired Karen Millsap to facilitate the meeting and guide everyone through the platform.

Millsap’s high energy and conversational tone provided continuity to the day. She introduced the keynotes, offered tips on using the discussion and question features, and she popped in to tell attendees when to take a break or go grab lunch. By the end of the day, Millsap felt like a friend you were experiencing the conference with — exchanging notes and reactions to sessions.

This year’s theme was “Focus Your Future,” yet the underlying theme of many presentations was how to remain focused despite these uncertain times. Presenters struck a balance between providing insights into moving forward and also recognizing the challenges of this past year, given the pandemic, financial crisis and social justice movement.

Attendees may have missed the free food and handshakes this year, but they didn’t miss any of the education. Forum Forward 2020 was an overwhelming success. This conference was the culmination of Association Forum’s tireless efforts to deliver top-notch education no matter the circumstances. The success of this event is a win for not only Association Forum, but the entire association community. As an industry, associations are stronger than ever and well-prepared to weather this storm.

Written by FORUM Magazine editors.

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