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ICHRIE News and More

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Going Global… not at the moment

By Maureen Brookes, Immediate Past President, ICHRIE

Many of you will be aware that we have been investigating the potential of hosting an ICHRIE global conference.  While I know this topic has been debated in the past, in my ICHRIE Board lifetime, the proposal was put to the Board during my tenure as Vice President.  It was agreed that we should formally investigate the potential of hosting a global conference.  

As the (then) Chair of the Past Presidents’ Council (PPC), Martin O’Neill was tasked with setting out a research brief and appointing someone from the membership to conduct research that would enable the Board to make a fully-informed decision on the feasibility of the conference. ICHRIE was very fortunate to have extremely capable and diligent members who agreed to undertake this task: George Fenich, from East Carolina University; Lisa Young Thomas, from DePaul University; and, Amanda Cecil, from Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. Together they set out a clear research plan to gather the necessary data from the six CHRIE federations and from the membership.  They produced a report of their findings for the Executive Committee and George and Lisa subsequently presented their findings and detailed recommendations on a potential reconfiguration of our current conferences to the PPC in Dallas, July 2016. The PPC voted to accept the report, and George, Lisa and Amanda were thanked for their considered efforts.  

While the Executive recognised the commendable efforts by the research team, their data collection was frustrated by the inability to access clear financial information on the federation conferences.  It was agreed therefore that it would be impossible to make a fully informed decision on the financial viability of hosting a global conference as originally envisaged.  As a result, the PPC were subsequently asked to vote on whether to conduct further research to ensure the Board could make a fully-informed decision, or to table the idea, at least for the time being.  This vote was held in December, 2016 and members of the Council put forth clear arguments to support their vote.  

Those in favour of asking for more research clearly valued the idea of a conference that would celebrate ICHRIE as a global community and felt that it was too important an initiative to table at this time.  Others in favour of further research suggested we needed a more specific and detailed brief to gather the required information and a tight timeline to deal with the matter effectively and efficiently and once and for all.  

Those who voted against further research did so on the belief that the current systems of hosting 6 federation conferences plus the annual ICHRIE summer conference, provides members with a great deal of choice and the opportunity to attend conferences in different locations, within the US and internationally. For some federations, and indeed for ICHRIE, the conference is a key revenue generator and opting for a global conference might have a negative impact on federation conference attendance and thus revenue generation. Other financial risks identified related to the implications of any currency fluctuations, the willingness of exhibitors and sponsors to travel internationally and the costs of shipping materials outside of the US. These risks and the inability of some members to get funding for international conferences could also negatively impact on the global conference attendance and thus the revenue stream for ICHRIE. Thus, as much as they liked the idea, they felt it was too great a financial risk.

Those in favour of tabling the global conference initiative won the vote and the results were reported to the ICHRIE Board in Baltimore in January, 2017. The Board voted to accept the decision of the Past Presidents’ Council and so for the time being we will stick to our current pattern of 6 federation conferences and the annual ICHRIE conference for members to choose from. That said, the option is open to revisit the idea as well as the recommendations put forth by George, Lisa and Amanda in the future.  In the meantime, we are working hard on keeping our current conferences both relevant and valuable to our members.  Some of you may also be aware that EuroCHRIE and APacCHRIE have recently announced a joint conference to be held in 2019.  The exact destination will be determined by a special conference committee comprised of members from both federations.  Hopefully, we will learn some valuable lessons from their efforts to inform any future decisions on our conferences.

On behalf of the ICHRIE Board of Directors, and indeed the membership, I would like to thank George, Lisa and Amanda again for their hard work and excellent report.

With kind regards,
Maureen Brookes
Immediate Past President ICHRIE

 

 

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