The number “725” may not bear significance to many, but to the Academy it’s been the unintended record-breaking number of days that (prior to our 28th Annual Fall Summit) we had been withheld from reuniting with our Members in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A streak we were happy to end just a few short weeks ago when we gathered at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego for what would become a momentous Summit unlike any before it in a number of ultimately positive ways. The Academy Team was presented with a unique opportunity to create a memorable return to events while integrating some new and improved features – which based on the positive feedback of our Members and their teams, we hope we succeeded in doing so!
The theme of our 2021 Fall Summit was, In Good Company: Connections for a Lifetime, and the outcome did not disappoint. After two years of virtual events, we learned that there were some interactions that could not be effectively replaced by Zoom or online experiences. The ballroom was a buzz with energy while the microphone was passed between firm representatives and the message was clear; it was good to be back with Academy friends, and in the company of some of our newest Members. The participation was at an all-time high in each session; attendees eagerly presented their questions to main room speakers, openly shared examples in breakouts, and gave invaluable advice to colleagues during hands-on activities. New friendships were made during coffee breaks and at the cocktail party, while old ones were reinforced over specialty meetings and social activities.
Innovation was key to both facilitating safety and executing to a higher standard of technology at this landmark Summit. We implemented a new and improved registration system that allowed for a quick and contactless check-in, where name badges were printed onsite and attendees were presented with gift bags containing essentials one may need for increased safety; disposable K-95 masks, antimicrobial wipes, mints (for pesky mask breath), a handout of our COVID-19 policies, as well as the option to elect a colored wrist band to express to others their level of physical comfort. Green signifying one was open to accepting hugs and handshakes, yellow for elbows and fist-bumps only, and red for maintaining physical distance. The Academy also made the transition to a nearly paperless event in an effort to reduce waste while also minimizing the amount of physical contact between items. Our Event App came pre-loaded with attendee, speaker and sponsor contacts, personalized agenda features, session descriptions, a restaurant guide, a map of the hotel meeting space, and of course the ever-popular Activity Feed – which was quickly filled with snapshots of excited attendees and their adventures in San Diego, both inside and out of the hotel perimeter.
We truly enjoyed facilitating the same great connections as always, with a new and improved Summit experience. If we missed you at the 2021 Fall Summit, we hope to see you in Austin this coming Spring!
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128