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Planner Resilience: Renee Dorval, Pacific Fishery Management Council

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May 26, 2021
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How were you able to adapt during COVID-19 when the meeting and events industry got disrupted?

Our small office of 16 was able to adapt during COVID-19 a year ago by relying heavily on our amazing IT Team.  They were already two steps ahead of me in utilizing our account with RingCentral, which held our main session and approximately 10 breakout sessions simultaneously - more than 150 people total and they could "enter" a breakout session or our general session by clicking the proper link.  We had online practice dry runs among staff and constituents offering several avenues of instruction, including YouTube videos on "how to" attend our meeting.     
 
One hiccup we had was that after the Zoom platform had some hijacking issues, the Government as a whole placed a moratorium over Zoom which is a subdivision of RingCentral.  We had move quickly offering extensive assurance and background information of the firewalls and safety measures in place in order to allow our constituents to continue being part of our process.  This actually took several months working through several layers of Government management and staff.  They could only join into our meetings via a telephone and logging onto our meeting separately via a personal device (non Government issued).  Not the best scenario, but this "workaround" helped.  Since those specific constituents are key to our process, the stress level was extremely high, as we were on decisive calendar deadlines and guidelines in order to continue the process of regulating fisheries on the West Coast. They are now finally allowed to attend our RingCentral meetings fully. 
 
As of a year later, we have successfully accomplished six Council meetings over a span 8 days each.  We are hoping to attend a live meeting in September.  We understand it will look differently and perhaps with less people attending, but it will certainly be a start in the right direction. 
 
This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where we celebrate the positivity and optimism shown by planners across the industry when navigating the turbulent waters that COVID-19 has brought the meetings and events industry.   Keep an eye out as we release more stories like this over the next few months. 
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