From the Desk of the Executive Director (which is piled high with conference planning material)

June 14th 2018

by Vicki Reich, Executive Director

I haven’t had time to think about much besides planning to make this year’s conference the “best one ever” (as the board and staff like to say at the end of every conference).  There is so much good stuff happening this year, I think we have a shot at that prediction coming true.

You might  have picked up bits and pieces about our plans through the e-News or the Members-Only Facebook page, but I thought I would corral all of the exciting events, workshops and changes we are working on into one article.  Here goes:

We are going paperless this year!  In an effort to reduce our environmental footprint, we have contracted with CrowdCompass to provide us with a conference app.  It’s my opinion that the app will give attendees more information and more connections than a paper program.  You’ll be able to plan your conference before you arrive, see who else is attending and get in contact for a meet-up.  You’ll have access to all the material presenters supply for their workshops, whether you go to a particular workshop or not.  Meet Your Makers participants will each have their own “page” so you can dig deeper into information about each company.  Plus there are interactive maps so you always know where things are happening.

This year’s Intensive with Story Gorge is going to be awesome.  If you have a story to tell and want to learn how to tell it better and tell it through video, you won’t want to miss it.  Story Gorge teaches kids, non-profits and businesses how to tell better stories and they are coming across the river to teach us.  Check out their work at

We’ve got a new addition to Wednesday evening’s programing.  We’re unveiling ProvX.  You’ve heard of TedX, well, ProvX is going to be even better.  Attendees can apply to get up on stage for 8 minutes and teach us about some aspect of our community they are passionate about.  More information on ProvX will be sent out with your registration confirmation.

The workshop and keynote line up looks amazing!  We’ve posted the schedule and descriptions of all the workshops and keynotes we have finalized on the website (check it out).  We are still working on a few more workshops but wanted to get you excited about all the great learning opportunities we have in store for you this year.

Meet Your Makers will be bigger and better (and longer).  We are hosting it in the Gorge Room, the largest meeting room at the hotel, so there will be plenty of room to wander around, ask questions and try samples.  Exhibitors can sign up for a table now, register on-line here.  And new this year, we have a special registration for Meet Your Maker participants.  If you buy a table, for a small additional fee, you get access to the Thursday Keynote, two workshop sessions and lunch.  If you are a manufacturer who can’t make it to the whole conference, this is a great way to get a taste of the conference, and we’ve specifically geared many of the Thursday workshops toward our manufacturer members.

The conference app gives us a great opportunity to promote our Sponsors.  We have a great new list of benefits for sponsors.  If you want to find out more about what we are offering to Sponsors, you can read about it here or contact Vicki for more information.

There are many things that aren’t changing.  The Snack Room will be right where you left it last year (albeit with fresh snacks).  Provender awards will be given out (nominate someone for an award here).  We’ll give away a scholarship to One Person Who Makes a Difference (applications available here).  The Logo Raffle and Silent Auction will raise money for Work Trade and Scholarships. We are bringing back Mad Hatter Croquet (you long time members know what I’m talking about).  The Board will get up on stage and tell you what’s been going on with Provender all year (while making slight fools of themselves).  And, of course, Karaoke From Hell will close out the conference with a bang.

Please mark your calendars for October 3rd thru 5th and look for on-line registration to open on July 15th.  We’d love to see you in Hood River this year!