Hello, I’m LaTanya Jones, your RID Region I Representative.  I hope you saw the recent announcement of the Program Co-Chairs – Zito and CMK – so exciting.  I just love their energy and enthusiasm, and they are going to help us plan an amazing conference.

I wanted to share some things about the journey that the Board and HQ have gone through to get to this point with the conference, some of the decisions that we’ve been faced with, and what things will look like going forward.

The first and biggest challenge that we had was “what should this conference look like?” – and after some thought, discussion and input from a wide variety of members and stakeholders, we decided that we want YOU – the members – to drive the content for this conference.

The easiest way to do that is to use the RID Member Section leadership as “content leaders” for workshops, presentations, and other content that happens at the conference.  We’ve had very successful partnerships with Member Sections in the past – most notably with DPI and the Deaf Caucus for the Community Forum. We’ll be doing that again, for sure!

With this conference, however, we are also asking the Member Section Chairs to help us plan actual content.

When we talked with the leadership of the Member Sections, there are three questions that we have discussed:

        —“What do the members of your member section need?”

        —“What does the Deaf community need from the people in your member section?”

        —“How can we plan a conference to provide this needed content?”

So, the various “tracks” that are being planned within the conference are coming from these discussions.  Zito and CMK will be working with the Member Section chairs on this planning. If you have an idea for a presentation or a workshop – I encourage you to have a conversation with the chairs of your Member Sections.

Some Member Sections are specialty-based within the profession of interpreting – so the content that they would promote is within their specialty.  LIMS, for example, is working with the Program co-Chairs to offer workshops within the legal specialty.

Other Member Sections are identity-based – Deaf Caucus, DPI, ITOC, and BLeGIT*.  We are working with these groups to ensure that representatives from their communities are given opportunities to present – either about their identities, or about general or specialty interpreting topics that they can teach.  RID believes that we have a responsibility to foster and grow presenters and information from within historically, under-represented groups within RID; in order to do that, we need to build a system that allows those individuals to participate without being disproportionately impacted.

And that leads me to our budget and registrations costs.

Some of our costs are “hard costs”; for example, we need a venue that can handle 1000 people seated – which limits our options.  We need rooms that are large enough to handle the workshops. We need a hotel nearby that can handle the size of the crowd that we expect.

Our conference and the business meeting have substantial audio/visual requirements – cameras, lights, projector screens.  We also require a large stage.

Our conference spans four and a half days, with multiple CEU tracks, two sessions of RID business meetings, a keynote presentation, a celebration banquet, and multiple evening events.  These all add substantial costs to our budget.

With this conference, we are trying very hard to include the local Deaf community as much as possible.  We are doing several community-based events, intended to help try and build better relationships between the Deaf and the interpreter communities.

This year we are also making a substantial investment in presenters. In order to attract more diversity in our presenters, we have adjusted our presenter packages.  We looked at the best practices of the regional conferences from last summer, as well as what’s been offered at other recent interpreting conferences. We hope that this will have a favorable result on presenter diversity.

Presenter packages will include compensation, discounts on registration and hotel, and assistance with travel costs.  You’ll see more details on that coming soon from the Program Co-Chairs.

These hard costs, the unique requirements of our conference, and our commitment to improving the presenter package are all what lead us to calculate our registration costs.  To see registration costs, visit the link here.

We also would like to share the preliminary schedule with you so you may see the initial setup of how your conference will look when you arrive July 7th! You can view this at the link here. With so many active members in different outstanding organizations, we understand that this is a busy time for conferences and other meetings. We have kept these other opportunities for our members in mind, and have worked hard to create a schedule that allows for the greatest experience and involvement while still allowing others to travel to other events of interest happening around the same time.

Finally, I want to briefly introduce our 2019 RID Cares initiative. Aligned with our biennial conference and the associated region, RID CARES partners with an organization that encompasses the ideals of a world-changing initiative in order to bring awareness and support to difficult issues facing the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind and interpreting communities. Join us this year as we support our official 2019 RID Cares recipient, American Society of Deaf Children (ASDC).  We’ll hear more about that in the coming weeks and months!  

In closing – I am excited about this conference, and about the future of RID.  This is YOUR conference – YOUR opportunity to learn, YOUR opportunity to shape the future of RID and its relationship with the communities we serve.  We look forward to seeing you ALL in Providence this July!

Come Together, Work Together, Thrive Together