TCIA held its first-ever TCI Virtual Summit January 13-15, 2021. Using creative software that mimicked the navigation of a traditional trade show, the event featured industry-leading speakers, world-class exhibitors and plenty of opportunities to connect, reflect and have a little fun. And, with more than 1,200 registered attendees, plenty of people were able to take advantage of these offerings. By all accounts, TCIA’s first foray into virtual events was a major success.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused irreparable harm to many communities and businesses, this period has not been without its opportunities as well. Unable to hold its annual TCI EXPO, TCIA was able to dedicate more resources to the production of a virtual event than might otherwise be available. To be clear, the Virtual Summit was not intended to replace an in-person event, but rather to demonstrate the feasibility of using technology to connect with tree care professionals from all over the continent, and indeed all over the globe. It is in this regard – delivering a truly exceptional educational and networking experience to attendees – that the Virtual Summit was especially a success.
To be sure, the Virtual Summit was no small undertaking. Those who assume that a virtual event is somehow easier to organize than an in-person event simply have not tried it. Countless hours were spent with speakers and exhibitors alike to produce sessions and booths that were entertaining, engaging and educational. A great deal of thought was put into the end-user experience, particularly into how processes could be streamlined given the complexities of our database system. While the event was not flawless, our ability to quickly address issues was, thanks in no small part to the amount of planning done ahead of time.
To that point, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the staff who made this event a reality. The Virtual Summit required all of our staff to work together like never before, a challenge exacerbated by both the need to work remotely and our general unfamiliarity with producing a fully online event. Every single one of our internal teams contributed to the event, including Member Engagement, Member Experience, Marketing, Corporate Engagement, Business Solutions, Meetings & Events, Training & Credentialing, Industry Expertise, Publications, Advocacy & Standards, Information Technology and Administrative Support and Finance. All had a hand in the Virtual Summit.
While none of us may know what the future holds, you can be certain that the team of dedicated professionals at TCIA will continue to support you in advancing your tree care businesses.
David White, CAE, is TCIA president and CEO.