Leadership Update: In-Person Meeting Safety, CEO Search Update, and Board Nominations

Association Forum Board Chair, Paul Pomerantz, offers an update on event safety, CEO search, Board Nominations, and upcoming the upcoming ISAE event.

By Paul Pomerantz, FACHE, CAE

paul leadership update

It is hard to believe that we are midway through October. The fall season is typically marked by changing colors, cooler and shorter days, and plans for Halloween and Thanksgiving. I say typical because what was normal only 19 months ago now seems elusive. This feeling may transcend our meetings and events, but this need not be the case. There is reason for optimism.

Meetings and events are the lifeblood of associations and October is the heart of the meetings season.  Many of you have had to make the hard decision of going back to an in-person meeting, moving to fully virtual, or investing in a hybrid meeting. I believe it is important to make the move back to in-person events with the accompaniment of virtual or hybrid components, as appropriate. Technology, digital community, and virtual meetings can certainly complement the in-person experience, but nothing matches the in-person experience. From building enduring relationships, sustaining community, energizing your members, and mentoring the next generation to connecting your members to industry suppliers.

As I write this message, we have just wrapped up ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021, the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ first in-person event in two years. We had 7,450 people on site and another 2,249 on our virtual track, about 65% of pre-pandemic levels. In making our decision, we were confident we could ensure attendee safety through vaccine/testing requirements, use of app-based health documentation, indoor mask requirements, and room layouts that facilitated social distancing. There is no doubt that we will be living with the ebbs and flows of COVID for some time. However, through careful planning, we can make the safe move back to being in person, continue supporting our professions and industries, and the many destinations around the country that support the meetings’ business.

This brings me to Association Forum’s upcoming signature event, Holiday Showcase (December 13-14, Hilton Chicago). The committee and staff are working diligently to ensure that this meeting is fully compliant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities. Our priority is YOUR safety.

We base our decision on the guidance and recommendations issued by the federal CDC and other public health authorities. The COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization and the vaccines that the FDA has fully approved have been determined to be critical in reducing the community prevalence of COVID-19. We also surveyed our exhibitors and are listening to you as well.

Currently, all attendees for Holiday Showcase will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (72 hours prior to the event).

Association Forum will also require registrants to submit a signed COVID Symptom Waiver Form prior to Holiday Showcase and all attendees will be required to wear masks while indoors.

All attendees will receive information and pertinent links to upload required information prior to the event. Color-coded bracelets will also be available to visually indicate comfort level with attendee proximity. Read more about Health and Safety Guidelines at Holiday Showcase.

On behalf of Association Forum’s Board of Directors, I want to thank you for your compliance and understanding. We continue to monitor guidelines and the health environment and will adjust as needed.

Now, I urge you to register and join us for a wonderful and information-filled event!

CEO Search Update

The Search Committee is pleased to report that resumes are coming in already. We are pleased with the response. If you are considering applying for the President and CEO position, find more information at the Association Forum Career Center.


I am pleased to report that we are planning an in-person meeting on October 26, for the ISAE chapter. Visit associationforum.org for more details.

Call for Nominations

The Call for Board Nominations for the 2022-2024 class of Directors is open. Consider nominating yourself or someone you know who would add to the diversity and quality of the board. The deadline for nominations and applications is November 18, 2021.

About the Author

Paul Pomerantz is Chair of Association Forum's Board of Directors, as well as Chief Executive Officer at American Society of Anesthesiologists®.

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