What required 3,200 T-shirts, 251 boxes and more than 12,200 miles of travel? United Methodist Communications' 2018 Annual Conference initiative.
During the months of May and June, 23 United Methodist Communications staff members attended 16 annual conferences, traveling from as far east as Wildwood, New Jersey, to as far west as Boise, Idaho.
Although the number of conferences attended is four less than 2017, United Methodist Communications leaders were intentional about having a stronger presence at the ones attended by adding trainings and workshops and, for the first time, having representation for both UMCom and United Methodist News in separate booth spaces at select annual conference gatherings, said Royya James, senior manager, U.S. Conference Relations.
The number of workshops doubled from 2017, with staff members presenting at 10 annual conferences.
"We were intentional about having an increase in trainings or having a presentation in front of the conference body because it increases our engagement at the display table," said Royya. "After the presentation, we've learned that people flock to the display table.
Because of feedback from previous years, UMCom sent laptops to use in the booth, rather than using Kindles, in an effort to simplify the sign up process for resources.
UMCom’s annual conference presence is a collaborative effort that spans nine months of planning, Royya said, among a number of teams in the building, including IT, marketing, communications, operations and news.
"The ultimate goal of attending an annual conference," said Royya, "is to connect with people face-to-face and come back with exciting stories and tips of things we can use at UMCom."