IGLTA Convention in Toronto - May 2009 - Take 2
So here we are, Thursday morning... our only moment of reprieve as the board meetings are now over and the members are all arriving in waves. The main event begins at 2 pm, but as I go down to the registration area, everyone is doing exactly what they do best... reconnecting, schmoozing and networking. It's a frenzy as old friends who sometimes only see each other during these conventions get together and catch up. I love this moment in the IGLTA conventions each year... this and the opening reception are always the most energized moments of the convention.
The convention opens up with our presentations by John Tanzella and a board of directors Q&A. Perhaps because this Q&A was positioned at the very beginning of the convention is the reason the participation and interest from the membership as to where the organization is going was so energized... it was great! We received feedback ranging from a re-orientation as to what it means to be truly "international" to what we can do to help increase our outreach to more and more regions around the world and make that outreach mean something in terms of our mix of suppliers and retailers in the GLBT travel world.
Next came the new potential board members and their presentations (tight election with only 5 positions available to 10 potential candidates), and then we convened... one so that everyone could now have plenty of time to grill the potential new board members over the course of the convention, and two, to give everyone time to prepare for the upcoming events of the evening.
There were a few pre-party events... one was the local Canadian member reception, which was packed and overflowing with an open bar of fantastic local wine. Next came the first timers reception held at The Bay in downtown Toronto, tied in with a Barbie exhibition and some hot models to boot! The first timers reception seemed to go very well... our goal is to allow the new members an opportunity to both get oriented and connect with the group before they become overwhelmed with everyone meeting and greeting at the main opening reception, and it seemed to work... kind of like "divide the crowd and conquer" so that everyone can maximize their opportunities to meet those they flew all the way into Toronto to see.
The main opening reception was flawless... great food, excellent company and a gorgeous venue made for one hell of a night! It was here that the excitement was at a frenzy, as everyone reconnected with each other and some of the new attendees which ranged from Manhunt.net introducing their new gay travel product to Earhart Adventures bringing a new twist to lesbian global adventure travel. Locals who really stood out included Robert Sharp and his partner from OutAdventures.com, as well as all of the Pride Toronto team who came to make sure there was not a moment lapsed in our entertainment for the night!
As it was my birthday on this day, a group of us headed straight on out to Lola's, a fun little martini bar in the gay village... we had the place pretty much to ourselves, and a few tequila shots later we all headed over to Woody's where we not only go to hang out with a whole new group of IGLTA members who had all wandered on over, but we also got to see a Hot Chest contest with a few IGLTA members joining in on this as well... crazy, I tell you, crazy, but all in good fun (and all "after hours" and not on the IGLTA clock, may I remind you! LOL)
Stay tuned for part 3 coming up next!