It was a painful decision for each member of the 2021 Convention Planning Committee to pull the plug on their plans to host a live convention in Topeka. For more than a year, I sat in on many of their planning sessions. I was impressed by the energy and attention to detail as they planned their marketing strategy and put together what I think you will agree is an impressive lineup of speakers and workshop presenters. Multiple times, some members of the committee met with the director of events at Ramada Inn, or simply wandered through on their own, to examine the facilities and make sure they understood what would happen where.
Because this is a virtual convention, you can never have a full appreciation of how much work went into planning those aspects of the convention that had to be scrapped. For a year, they planned for a live convention under the cloud of uncertainty created by COVID, knowing that much of their planning might be of no avail. Then, in early spring, as numbers of cases and deaths dramatically dropped and the pandemic appeared to be running its course, they voted to forge ahead full speed with their plans for a live convention.
The emotional roller coaster they then endured as the Delta variant heated things up again made it all the more difficult for them to cancel the live portion of the convention. But it was clear as they discussed their decision, that what they dreaded most was the thought of feeling personally responsible for some of you becoming sick or even dying as a result of infection at the convention.
Because this is a virtual event, you can never have a full appreciation of how much work went into planning those aspects that had to be scrapped. I could sense their disappointment as each one raised his or her hand to vote to torpedo much of their own plans. Through their determination to bring you and me a high-quality convention, these individuals serve as role models for us all. We can learn from them how to pivot and persevere when confronted with circumstances we cannot control.
I hope you will give them a thumbs up as we call out their names.
Members of the committee are:
Janet Jenkins Stotts
Barbara Waterman Peters
Connie Rae White
Nominated by: Duane Johnson