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ISTE 2015 – Affiliate Summit

June 29, 2015


This series of posts is from the ISTE 2015 conference, and they reflect my notes from various sessions. – Todd

The Affiliate Summit is definitely the highlight of ISTE every year. This is the day when representatives from ISTE Affiliates from all over North America and around the world get together for a full day of learning, learning from each other, and a tonne of visiting. This year we had around 125 people participate, from as far away as Australia.

I have the unique opportunity to be on the planning committee for this day, along with 9 other folks, and Susan Larson, ISTE Director of Volunteer Leadership, who plan and brainstorm this day, and then help put it all together.

We usually come in a day early, and do the setup (as much as we can) on Friday afternoon, so that the day will be as ready as possible. Then starting around 7:30 AM people start to arrive. This year’s agenda included:

  • Affiliate Highlights
    • About 18 different affiliates each had two minutes to talk about anything unique that they accomplished in the past year, which helps others get started, and encourages them to do other things too.
  • ISTE Announcements
    • This year we had the privilege of listening to Jenna, Carolyn, and Craig, who updated us on a number of the ISTE initiatives
  • Affiliate Program and Online Community
    • Susan briefly led us through some of the changes and the new features this year, as well as some tips and tricks
  • Choice of one of the following three sessions
    • Affiliate Representative 101 – Susan Larson hosted a discussion with attendees on the roles and opportunities available to Affiliate reps
    • Be the Spark: Influencing others – Craig and Jodie from ISTE talked about strategies and tools for groups to influence and work with their elected representatives
    • Pricing for Profit and Growth – Lori Gracey worked with the group on pricing and growth strategies for their local affiliates
  • Keynote Smackdowns
    • This is a really fun mini keynote session. This year we had nine speakers. The goal for this session to get a preview of potential keynote speakers for the various affiliate conferences. Essentially it’s like a job interview in front of 125 people. Each speaker gets exactly four minutes to make a presentation, complete with whatever slides or props they want to use. This is incredibly high pressure on the speakers, but it is a lot of fun.
  • Poster Sessions
    • Affiliate representatives have an opportunity to present to their peers on a topic or activity that they have been successful at this past year.
  • ISTE greetings
    • Brian Lewis (CEO) and Kecia Ray (Board Chair) talk about some of the ISTE activities, and things that affiliates can be involved in.
  • Round Table Discussion
    • This is probably the highlight of the day for many people. We run three consecutive sessions, and each session has 14-15 topics. Each table gets a topic, and attendees can choose which one to participate in. We have one facilitator and note taker assigned to each table, and the sessions run for 40 minutes at a time. Everyone has an opportunity to share, and to learn from everyone else’s challenges and successes. Many, many, many secrets, tips and other pieces are disseminated. The notes from the various sessions are available here.
  • Prize Give-aways
    • Susan always manages to find some ISTE swag that we can give away as prizes. One of our affiliates also brought some shirts to give away, so that was a lot of fun.

This day starts officially around 8:00 AM, and usually finishes at 4:30. In the evening we move to the Affiliate Reception, which took place in the Marriott Hotel. We had a live band, lots of great food, and the annual Affiliate basket exchange. The evening wound down around 9:00 PM – another incredibly successful day.

A huge thanks to Susan Larson and everyone who participated and made the Affiliate Summit a fantastic day!




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