Welcome to the summer of 2020! A summer very different from what we might have envisioned at the beginning of the year. No doubt our winter dreams of summer vacations and activities have been dramatically altered. Sadly, as the result of COVID-19, many have endured much greater challenges than canceled plans for summer fun. Health and economic concerns have displaced our typical carefree, summer attitudes. COVID-19 has impacted us professionally as well. Many are working from home, and normal business routines have been disrupted. ISA has canceled all in-person events through the end of the year. What is most disconcerting, no one knows when – or even if, we will return to what once was called normal. Truly challenging times.
However, what I know to be true is that the people and organizations who will survive and thrive in the post-COVID world, are those who are able to adapt to the new normal. ISA is a good example. To counter the cancelation of in-person events, ISA has expanded its offering of virtual events, including webinars and conferences. The virtual events are a safe, convenient alternative to in-person conferences, and have a benefit over in-person events. Virtual events greatly increase accessibility to content for personal and professional development for those who normally could not attend an event. Go to the ISA web site for details and to register for an upcoming virtual event.
Although the virtual events provide increased access to valuable content, I should admit, for me, a virtual event is not the same as an in-person event. The best part of an in-person event is the opportunity to network and engage people that I might not otherwise get to see face-to-face. There is something special about the unexpected connections and conversations that occur at an in-person event which cannot be replicated virtually. Perhaps that feeling is accentuated with the isolation imposed upon us by COVID-19, especially for those of us working from home. Not surprising that many of us are looking forward to the expected return (fingers crossed) of in-person events in 2021.
However, back to the topic of adapting to a new environment. It is quite possible that going forward, some in-person ISA events will include a virtual component. Hybrid events are the best of both worlds – all the camaraderie of an in-person event, combined with increased accessibility to content of virtual events. Those who are unable to attend the in-person event would still have access to content for professional development. And those who do attend, will have the benefit of personal engagement, and access to content that might have been missed otherwise. Have you ever had to decide which session to attend when there are two scheduled for the same time slot? A hybrid event solves that problem. I’m excited about the possibilities ISA is considering for 2021.
In the meantime, ISA is developing new ways for members to connect in the digital realm. ISA Connect is a new, online platform for member engagement that will be rolled out in the coming months. ISA Connect will bring a new dimension to the member experience, and provide new ways for members to connect and collaborate. It is one more example of how ISA is adapting to our changing world.
We are facing uncertain times. However, as the old saying goes, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” If we are willing to adapt to new situations we will survive and thrive. ISA is adapting to meet the evolving needs of its members. I encourage you to take full advantage of the many resources ISA offers for personal and professional development. I also encourage you to get involved in ISA activities, whether it’s a division or a section – or both. Create your future by getting involved.
Wishing you the best summer possible.
WWID Director, 2020-2021