Connexions 2018 - What's in a name?

It seems hard to believe, but the Canadian Public RelationsSociety (CPRS) national conference is just eleven days away. Right now, theteam from Atlantic Canada is busy preparing for the arrival of professionalcommunicators from across Canada in Charlottetown, from May 27-29, 2018.

I am pleased to be the national board’s liaison to the LocalAdvisory Committee helping to plan the conference.  I was also honoured to stand on the stage atlast year’s conference in Kelowna, BC, and help invite delegates to Canada’sEast Coast. And I’m now even more honoured to welcome you all to the East Coastin a matter of weeks.

Planning for this year’s conference started long before theKelowna event.  Hotel and meeting spacehad to be sourced, social events identified, workshop ideas discussed, andcommittee members assembled.  There wasalso a conference theme to select.

So, how does one go about developing such a theme?  Well, first you review past conferencethemes.  Over time, the national officeand conference planning teams have learned that one or two word themes workbest. 
For the 2018 conference, it was important to note that thisis an Atlantic Canadian conference.  Andwhile the East Coast is shaped by the Atlantic Ocean, maybe you don’t want tobe too closely aligned to a nautical theme?

In the end, whatever theme was picked had to weave togethertopics like the future of public relations, fake news, artificial intelligence,as well as public and employee engagement. No small task.
Interestingly enough, after one of the committee’s planningmeetings in April, my wife, Susan, and I took a little day trip.  As we drove, we brainstormed ideas.  What connected these things?  What connected these ideas?
Finally, it was my wife who noted that we kept using theword “connections” as we talked about the conference.  And the more we talked, the more the“connections” grew.
  • The Atlantic Provinces are “connected” to each other by a shared history of first settlers, explorers and the sea.  Our history is amongst the oldest in the country. 
  • We are “connected” to the rest of the country as a family of provinces and territories.
  • PEI is “connected” to the main land by the Confederation Bridge; a 12.9 kilometre bridge that is the world’s longest over ice-covered water.
  • Communications professionals make “connections” all the time … with each other, our audiences, the media, and the public in general.
  • While we are continually “connected” by technology, CPRS values and promotes face-to-face communications and engagement as the foundation to effective stakeholder relations.
  • The French word for “connect” is connecter.  A “connection” is « connexion » en français.  
A conference theme was born. “Connexions 2018” was submitted as an idea to the Local AdvisoryCommittee.  They liked it; the nationaloffice started using it right away. It was announced in Kelowna.
This month, I look forward to “connexing” with you, andalong with the Local Advisory Committee, welcoming you to Atlantic Canada andthe “Connexions 2018” CPRS conference in Charlottetown, PEI.
Wayne Knorr, APR
CPRS National Board of Directors