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Planner Spotlight Series- Amanda Safdar, IAOP

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August 25, 2021
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Reading time: 2 min

This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlight's planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 


 

Name: Amanda Safdar

Company Name: IAOP

Job Title: Managing Director, Global Events & Member Services

Years of Experience: 10+ years

How were you able to adapt during COVID-19 when the meeting and events industry got disrupted?
 
While we were lucky enough to be able to hold our annual conference in mid-February 2020, even then, we had no idea what the rest of the year would bring us. I quickly got to work finishing my DES certification and sat for the exam in June. While I had begun working on this before the pandemic, I didn't want to waste any time finishing the program. Although so much of what we learned through 2020 was trial by fire, it was important to me to distinguish myself as an expert in digital events which, in turn, set my association up for success and instilled confidence in our members that we were prepared. That fall, we launched our first completely virtual conference series, which included both established events that were being moved virtually as well as a new topical event. In addition, we spent much of the year supporting our industry by creating a free COVID-19 resource page, which included real-time content from our members and how they were pivoting during the pandemic. Finally, I also became a Pandemic Compliance Advisor which will help us navigate back into in-person events, with our first scheduled for October 2021.
 
 
As a planner, what was the number one thing you learned over the past year?
 
We all know the saying, content is king, and that proved to be more true than ever. Without being together in person, the spotlight shines very brightly on the quality of the content that members are looking for. The type of content and the manner in which our members were digesting it changed rapidly. So we had to adjust how we were developing and delivering content to keep up!
 
 
Is there anything you are changing in your planning process moving forward as a result of the pandemic?
 
The way we're contracting has definitely changed. There have always been risks associated with hosting events, but now we were forced to look at it head-on and adjust course as we go along. We're also taking this opportunity as a way to rebuild our event. It's going into its 25th year and simple isn't the same as it once was. Nothing is one size fits all anymore, so everything is being customized, from our agenda to our sponsorship opportunities.
 

This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlight's planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 

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