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We had a wonderful event in our 2021 FGIA Virtual Summer Conference, and we are so thankful our members enjoyed our speakers and work sessions. The FGIA team has worked diligently to continue to refine the virtual experience with meaningful content. That said, we are very much looking forward to our next event, because it will be the first opportunity we will have to be together in person in a year and a half.

The 2021 FGIA Fall Conference October 18-21 will be a hybrid event, meaning participants will have the option of traveling to Phoenix, AZ to gather or to join in on the conversation online as we’ve all done for the last several FGIA conferences. This new format offers two distinct but blended experiences. No matter which way you choose to participate, be it on-site or online, you can anticipate a thoughtfully crafted experience built specifically for you, complete with interactive sessions that bridge the in-person and online audiences.

There will be separate registration for in-person versus virtual participation. We will also publish separate schedules which will include a number of shared sessions. For example, both schedules may share speaker and council forum sessions from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Phoenix time, but the virtual schedule will end at that point with the in-person schedule continuing through the afternoon and into the evening social events.

Additionally, a staff person on-site at the in-person event will be assigned to moderate the virtual participation for each session to ensure full engagement and free-flowing communication with that segment of participants. There will also continue to be networking forums included in the schedule for online participants to engage with one another. The late afternoon sessions for the in-person participants will include hands-on workshops or demonstrations as well as roundtable or panel discussions – the types of activities that are most effectively delivered in person and that encourage participant interaction. Plus, of course, the evening receptions for networking.

We are thrilled to welcome back Janine Driver as our keynote speaker for the Fall Conference. Janine was a popular, dynamic speaker at our event in 2017, and we look forward to sharing her expertise in body language and non-verbal communication with both our in-person and virtual audiences. There will also be an additional late afternoon workshop with Janine for those attending on-site.

The FGIA Fall Conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand, a beautiful property that will deliver an excellent venue for our long-overdue reunion. The hotel has its own established protocols to safeguard its guests, and our events team is continuing to work closely with them to adapt our conference strategies to provide the safest environment we can. Plus, our Meetings Manager, Florica Vlad, earned her Pandemic Compliance Advisor Certification in 2020, so we are well-equipped with safety expertise.

The safety of our participants and our staff is of paramount importance. The venue is able to accommodate CDC-recommended spacing for our group under current operating capacity and currently requires face coverings in all indoor and public areas except for vaccinated individuals. With the warm October weather in Phoenix, we are sure to have ample opportunities to enjoy meals and social events outside. New FAQs have been added to the FGIA website to address questions about the Fall Conference’s hybrid format.

Online registration for the event opens in July and travel arrangements, especially hotel reservations, can be made as early as mid-July.

Save the date for the FGIA 2021 Fall Conference! I just cannot emphasize enough how much I am looking forward to seeing everyone there.