Mark Your Calendars!
NRTA's 2015 Annual Conference
Scheduled for September 27-30, 2015 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, FL. Watch for more information coming in February 2015!
Conference Success is a Story of Commitment!
(a look behind the scenes)
by Paul Kinney, NRTA Executive Director
Nearly two decades have passed since the first NRTA conference took place in Boston. In the years since, NRTA has attracted an incredible pool of talented and dedicated professionals who have come to believe in the NRTA basic principle that education must always remain our primary focus.
It was this thirst for information that brought those 200 attendees to our first conference. And that same desire for knowledge continues to attract hundreds of participants to this annual education experience. Now, entering our 20th anniversary, NRTA is a beacon for professional development and best practices. This unselfish sharing of information allows the NRTA to bring recognition to our members and an ever-growing respect for our profession.
Throughout this year’s annual conference in Reno I had so many people ask “how in the world do you do this?” Meaning the quality dynamics of an education forum that offered 51 classroom presentations, 15 small group workshops, numerous networking opportunities, and a successful trade show. So, let me share with you a little “behind the scenes” look at how this is accomplished.
The conference experience begins with the conference performance surveys that were completed and collected. Participant evaluations, opinions, and suggestions are compiled, ranked and shared.
Classroom presenters receive the commentary on their particular presentations. This is coupled with a review by each track leader, who is asked to assess the performance and value of the presentation. Did the class meet expectations, both in terms of content and understanding? One major challenge is to avoid duplication of content within a curriculum offering over 50 course presentations. These questions are considered heavily as the curriculum group begins preparation for the next conference in Orlando in 2015.
While individual classroom presentations are reviewed, Curriculum Committee co-chairs study the overall conference surveys which were completed by a large majority of participants. Committee members collaborate to identify areas of strength, as well as areas requiring improvement or alternatives.
Putting lessons learned to work
Armed with participant reviews, the curriculum co-chairs for each track–lease administration, occupancy cost, real estate, legal, office, and professional development–work with their assigned team to evaluate course offerings. Over a period of many weeks, each course–and the track as a whole–is vetted to make sure that the course content was vital; the individual presentations had value; the speakers and topics were matched up for the best fit; and whether the overall education track delivered an appealing choice of subject matter. These teams also evaluate whether to add new courses, delete existing ones, and make content modification recommendations. This extensive process is now very much underway, as we assess what worked; what was missing; and how attendees scored the value of the three-day learning experience. In fact, the first curriculum review is planned for early November.
This development exercise culminates with a multi-day curriculum summit meeting to be held in February. All curriculum teams come together for the purpose of presenting their respective track visions to the full curriculum committee. Each team shares its course proposals and speakers; new course offerings are reviewed; existing content and refinements are considered.
Once the full curriculum group reaches a consensus of courses and content, the track team is now enabled to turn their attention to speaker preparation, and further content development. From this point track coordinators work closely with selected speakers to refine presentations and support materials.
Let’s not forget the Conference Committee, who determines menus and AV needs, then negotiates with the hotel to ensure a quality experience. In addition the Trade Show and receptions take a tremendous amount of administrative time and energy to give attendees what they need.
I wanted to share the “behind the scenes” process of what goes on in the months between conferences, and how the NRTA works to make the conference an annual “must” for professionals who care about the management of real estate leases. It’s a huge undertaking; what is most impressive is that this cadre of curriculum leaders consists of volunteer NRTA members.
Behind all of this work lies one of NRTA’s guiding principles, which is: As tenants, the more we work to be informed, educated and disciplined in sound business practice; the more our industry improves and our relationships with landlords can be conducted at a very high level of professionalism.
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