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Prior to the start of each regional conference, staff and volunteers fill thousands of conference bags with programs, gifts and vital information. PHOTO BY BERNADINE WILLIAMS STALLINGS Delta Newsletter SPRING 2015 • 19 It starts with the meeting planners along with the national president, executive director, conference coordi-nators and regional directors visiting the selected cities. They take walk-throughs of the convention centers and hotels visualizing how the locations can best meet the needs of each regions’ expected number of attendees. “The National Headquarters staff should be commended for the months, weeks and even years of preparation they do in order to ensure that the mem-bership has everything they need to have a successful conference,” said Dr. Walker. “Delta Sigma Theta is an ongoing cycle of activity because when one event ends, the planning stage of another begins – occasionally with-out a break in between. This is what I wanted sorors to see and appreciate – the sacrifices that our small staff (of just over 50 people) make and the phenomenal works they accomplish.” It is a weekly cycle of heading to the airport on Tuesday morning and returning on Sunday afternoon (sometimes Monday morning depending on the time zone) only to leave again that following Tuesday. In most cases, especially if the conferences are back-to-back, staff members have one day to rest, repack and take care of personal and family business before hitting the road again. On the Road While members are in the beginning stages of selecting their attire for the various conference events they will attend, the headquarters staff is already on the road en route to the conference site. The majority of the time they travel by plane, but sometimes, depending on the proximity of the next conference site to Washington, D.C., a bus ride proves to be a more economical option. By Tuesday afternoon, the staff has checked into their hotel rooms and only has a couple hours before they meet later that evening to discuss the tasks required, possible challenges, and assignments unique to each region. “It was important for me to attend the staff meet-ings for every conference because I not only wanted to be in the trenches with the staff, but I wanted to make sure we were all on one accord in every location,” said Dr. Walker. “If there were any problems or unexpected obstacles, we could resolve those issues together in that meeting. I just had three rules for all the conferences— that we start on time, end on time and stay in budget— and they surpassed those and all my expectations.” It is all hands on deck—including personnel that remain in D.C. to run the office. The days are never eight hour days for staff onsite. The work day can begin as early as 6 a.m. and end as late as 12 a.m. The laundry list of duties for staff during a conference can include: serving as liaisons to presenters and committees; provid-ing technical assistance during workshops and plenaries; assisting with crowd control during subscription events; working registration; organizing and distributing confer-ence materials; coordinating vendors and their booths; and maintaining financial records of the membership. In addition to their regular duties, staff members who are also members of the Sorority attend all seven opening sessions. “This is just a glimpse of how our staff operates during the regional conferences,” said Dr. Walker. “There is really not a way to accurately and adequately verbalize how hard our staff works for Delta. I appreciate them with all my heart and once our members see this article, I hope they will have a new and greater apprecia-tion for them as well.” Dennis May organizes and stores conference bags for bag distribution. PHOTO BY BERNADINE WILLIAMS STALLINGS Meeting planners, Vida Smith and Patrea Logan, must carry binders like the one seen here to keep all elements of the conferences organized and make key contacts quickly accessible. PHOTO BY BERNADINE WILLIAMS STALLINGS


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