Shifting to Virtual

Last April, the AUPresses Board of Directors made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person 2020 Annual Meeting. The 2020 Annual Meeting Program Committee, chaired by Laurie Matheson (Illinois), and Association staff, led by Membership and Events Director Susan Patton and Program Coordinator Angelica DeVoe, faced the challenge of transforming a fully developed in-person agenda to a virtual program in a matter of weeks. Through long hours of diligent and thoughtful work, they succeeded, creating and supporting a robust, two-week-long virtual Annual Meeting in June for nearly 800 participants.

The 2019-2020 Professional Development Committee, chaired by Christine Thorsteinsson (Harvard) led the transition of its Annual Meeting-centered mentorship program to a fully virtual program in spring 2020, ensuring that this initiative to connect newcomers in the profession to mid- and senior-level colleagues throughout the community would continue.

After COVID-19 concerns and travel restrictions caused multiple delays in scheduling the annual in-person Financial Officer Meeting during 2020, this event took place virtually in April 2021, organized by the Business Systems Committee, chaired by Al Bertrand (Georgetown), with Association staff stepping in to provide virtual conference support. More than 100 finance officers, business officers and operations personnel, and directors attended.

Read more about these successful virtual conferences.

The Association staff were experienced teleworkers prior to the pandemic, having shifted to a mostly virtual workplace in 2016. Still, a majority operated out of a coworking space in New York on a regular basis, and all convened there for monthly in-person collaboration meetings. Transitioning to fully virtual work presented many of the same challenges faced by our member presses, from rerouting mail and outfitting home office workspaces to establishing new channels for collaboration and striking new work-home-care balances. That we accomplished this transition with no disruption to the business of the Association has been a particular point of pride during this tough year.