Rounding out my second week of work at the Body-Mind Centering Association, I am already feeling like a valued member of the team. As mentioned in my previous blog post, the people in this association really value diverse opinions and open the space for everyone to share their thoughts and perspectives. The way they relate to me is no different. Even though I am only an intern, many times throughout Executive Meetings and Committee Meetings they ask me personally to chime in with my thoughts and comments.
These past two weeks I have been mainly working on the marketing and promotional research efforts for their annual conference. It was originally supposed to be in person this summer in New York, but due to current circumstances had to be moved online and pushed back to October. This was so they would have enough time to replan and figure out the online formatting. It was a good thing they changed it from the summer because it already has led to a lot of scrambling, especially since it moved all of the presenters and presentations scheduled for the in-person conference to next Summer 2021. Therefore, we have to now find an entirely new line-up of people to present for the online conference this year, which has proven itself so far to not be an easy feat.
We are still in the “Call for Proposals” phase and have been trying to market to all Body-Mind Centering Association members to sign up to be presenters and lead virtual talks this fall. However, in addition to searching for these new presenters, we are also looking for volunteers to be hosts and facilitators for them (introducing them before they speak and leading the Q&A at the end). We are also offering the option for people to sign up to be social group leaders (creating virtual “happy hours” for somatic practitioners and BMC students to meet one another) and also the ability to create panels of people who want to talk about current topics of interest.
When I sat in on the Conference Committee’s Zoom meeting this week, there was a lot of stress in the air. Members were worried about the sign-up form and how no one had yet signed up to be anything but a presenter. This is a huge problem because it is secondary roles like these that allow events to run smoothly and increases audience engagement. I went onto the sign-up form to see if anything was off about it and immediately noticed glaring issues. First off, they only had created a single form for all of the roles and had placed asterisks next to all the information needed from presenters. From an outsider’s perspective, this made it seem as though you had to be a presenter, or at least be applying to be one, in order to hold any of the other roles I aforementioned. Another issue I saw was that in the email blasts they were sending out to all of the BMCA members with the link to the sign-up form it had “CALL FOR PRESENTERS” emphasized with a paragraph explaining the role beneath it with only the final sentence mentioning the other positions you could sign up for. However, why would a member go through the process of reading the entire paragraph if they didn’t want to be a presenter in the first place and only wanted to commit to a smaller role?
Because of the open nature of the company, I took to the microphone and expressed my concerns on the call. After I finished laying out my thoughts, I was met immediately with enthusiasm saying how they had not considered these nuances before but that they agreed that these changes needed to be made immediately. Right after the call, the head conference chair sent out an email to the executive team and messages were then sent back and forth with our website administrators and designers. In less than 2 hours, the changes that I had suggested were implemented. The ability to make this beneficial change within just the second week of me interning not only made me feel very valuable, but I believe speaks volumes to the company’s culture and leadership teams.