Back on the Road! Reflections from Annual Meeting 2021

The AMCI Annual Meeting 2020 in Long Beach, CA was one of the last events many in our industry attended before our travel declined and ultimately halted to a full stop. How fitting it was then to come together again in Orlando, FL for AMCI 2021 June 2-4th.

Showing up to our first event in over a year, it was hard to know what to expect for the “new normal” meeting environment, such  as something as simple as shaking a hand, which we took for granted a year ago in Long Beach! Besides the content and networking opportunities that waited for us at AMCI, this was also a learning experience for us to gauge how we should operate our client’s meetings and events in a post-pandemic era. We dusted off our suitcases, dug in the back closet for business clothes that haven’t seen sunlight in months, and hopped on flights packed with theme-park clad families to make it to AMCI.

Orlando was bright and bolstering, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel was a great fit for the meeting. Some of the staff onsite were showing up to their first day since the pandemic, and they shared the same excitement as attendees to be back. AMCI staff provided health screenings each day and the entire team did a great job being with changing protocols and requirements. The first night’s reception was filled with enthusiasm to be meeting in person again and set the tone for a welcoming and fun-filled event for the next few days.

The annual meeting content was centered around innovation, culture, and profit. Each speaker and session delivered fresh ideas and concepts that inspired us to take new action steps internally and with our clients. When they become available online, I would highly encourage you to watch each session to challenge your thinking on things like how you portray your company’s competitive advantage.

My personal favorite session at AMCI is the AMC by Size session, which allows for an open roundtable discussion. For an industry where many of our friends and family have vacant eyes when you explain how an AMC functions, it is an opportunity to have people outside your company understand your language. During this time, the AMCI Emerging Leader task force met face-to-face and shared the unique challenges and opportunities we experience.

Other Emerging Leader task force members were kind enough to provide their takeaways from the meeting:

 “More than anything, the 2021 AMCI Annual Meeting left me feeling energized. There are lots of new challenges to handle, from changing economic circumstances, to preparing a more remote workforce, and updating scopes of work to reflect the new reality for association clients, but I am already implementing some of the ideas generated and tips shared by fellow participants to help address these challenges. For example, the conversations around how other AMCs are examining their office practices has been hugely helpful as we develop our next steps in creating a hybrid workforce by design.”

Molly Marsh, CMP,  AMR Management Services


“My meeting takeaways:

  • There was a lot of optimism at AMCI 2021 about the association management landscape and the return of meetings. By and large, AMCs and their clients were able to weather the storm in 2020 and are currently looking at new ways to deliver value to members both online and in person. New skills were learned and we’re all trying to find the right programs and services to keep or remove.
  • There is no right way to do a hybrid meeting. Based on feedback and stats from the panelists, each association is approaching hybrid differently and a lot of groups are bootstrapping zoom or other technologies to provide virtual access.
  • Maintaining and growing your culture as well as motivating staff remain very important topics to AMCs. Listening to staff and remaining flexible on back to work policies was a common theme.”

 Michael Battaglia, CAE, MBA, Amped Association Management

My main takeaway is that it feels SO GOOD to be back to live events. Thank you so much to AMCI for setting the example for a safe, fun, and engaging face-to-face meeting, I look forward to many more!

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