Annual Meeting is a Wrap

Since the AENC Annual Meeting was in Wilmington, the Hollywood of the east coast, nothing could be more fitting of a headline. And what a meeting it was.
We started out the meeting with the AENC Golf Classic @ Porter’s Neck Country Club and were treated to the first hole-in-one since I have been at AENC by Brent Hazelett. Sorry you didn’t earn a free car Brent, but you earned a lot of respect and I will make sure that get’s back to the VSAE folks in-time for this year’s Executive Cup.
The 56th Annual Meeting went through some changes this year as we really focused our attention on schedule and professional development. That meant free-time was included prior to the meeting, rather than right in the middle of the meeting and lots of folks, nearly 85, took advantage of that. Half of those folks came along for the Haunted Pub Crawl.
On Sunday, the official opening day of the meeting, we began with a nice lunch cruise aboard the Henrietta and then the meeting was on.
Annual Meeting attendees were treated to an awesome opening session from Ron Rosenberg. And that set the tone for the rest of the meeting. This was followed by some time with exhibitors, break-out sessions, and then the closing session was a panel on the state of the Meetings Industry.
What came next was something, I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared for. I had seen the BEOs and I knew we had a huge amount of Silent Auction items. But the Wilmington Convention Center blew us away with the facility, the food, the decorations and the buzz. It was amazing. I felt like I had walked into another association’s meeting. I couldn’t believe this was AENC. The bar was certainly raised that night. And so was the amount of money from this year’s Silent Auction. We raised over $15,000 for the AENC Scholarship Fund and had a great time doing it as we ate Seafood Chowder, Shrimp and Grits and sipped on local beer from the Cape Fear area.
Monday, which would normally be day 2 of 3 was our last day. We started out again with education and networking and wrapped up with an awesome Awards Luncheon (and event that was two events last year). Special congrats go out to our Award Winners – Wendy W. Scott (Lowry Award), Ginny Fountain (Distinguished Service Award) and Andrew Schmidt (Patsy B. Smith Award).
Also, congrats to our outgoing committee chairs and our 2010-11 Board of Directors and our 10 and 20-Year members. A very special thank you to Tina Gordon, CAE, our 10-11 AENC President. We had a great year with her leadership and we look forward to 2011-2012 President Paul Stone. Who, by the way, said one of my favorite association quotes –  “Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged.  No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is trying to improve conditions within his sphere.”
And that is the business of AENC – to advance the profession and we thank so much all those who had a role in this year’s annual meeting and helped to make it so successful.
We must especially thank the Wilmington/Cape Fear CVB, the Hilton Wilmington, the Wilmington Convention Center, the AENC staff and committee volunteers. It couldn’t have been done without each of you.
For those interested in seeing some of the photos from the event check out the AENC photos here. More will be coming soon!!