HCLDR Conference and Sponsorship?

Blog by Colin Hung

July 1st is Canada Day and we’re celebrating our country’s 150th birthday. Up here we’re toasting each other with cups of Canadian beer while enjoying a table full of Timbits, poutine, pancakes covered in maple syrup and buttertarts.

This week’s #hcldr happens to fall on US Independence Day – a day when our American friends celebrate with BBQs, fireworks, hot dog eating contests and buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Given the double holidays, we are expecting a smaller audience for this week’s #hcldr chat. As such, we are going with a light topic: we’re going to discuss the potential for an HCLDR conference and potential sponsorship.

In the past several years, I have been asked by many people when we would be planning an HCLDR conference – one specifically designed for our community. I have always avoided giving a definitive answer. On one hand, I think an HCLDR conference would be a fantastic way for members of the community to meet in-real-life (IRL). It would also be a lot of fun to plan speaking topics and recruiting presenters. On the other hand, organizing a conference is a lot of work (I’ve helped to organize about 15 such conferences before) and you need a certain amount of capital (aka $cash$).

The time commitment never scared me. It’s the capital requirement that has been the challenge. One of the hallmarks of #hcldr is that we are not sponsored in any way. Joe Babaian and I do what we do because we enjoy it. We fund #hcldr personally and for that reason we keep expenses to a minimum. Our website does not have any advertising and we have not charged for any speaking engagements we have garnered through our #hcldr work. Joe and I have discussed the potential of sponsorship many times. Each time we have come to the same conclusion – that accepting sponsorship dollars is too risky for the HCLDR brand. We worry that people would be turned off if we had sponsors and that the community would decline. We believe that part of the reason our community is so diverse is because we are an open group – we are accepting of everyone and anyone because no one controls us. Our influence is solely the community. Taking $$$ might jeopardize that…or would it? We would love the community’s opinion.

As well, we would love to hear what the community thinks of an HCLDR conference. Now that we are almost at the 5yr mark for #hcldr, I’m wondering if now might be the right time to start working towards one. But what approach should we take? In-person? Virtual? A single event? Multiple cities? A combination? Should we charge people to attend in order to defray costs? Or should we find sponsors so that everyone can attend for free?

What topics would we cover? Should we try to be different than all other conferences out there? Should we aim for actionable outcomes versus just having a confab where people listen to presenters?

So many possibilities.

Please join us on Tuesday, July 4th at 8:30pm Eastern (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1 Would HCLDR be helped or hurt by corporate sponsorship for a conference or the community as a whole?
  • T2 What would be your deciding factor to attend the conference or not? Cost? Speakers? Location?
  • T3 What topics would you like to see covered at an HCLDR conference?
  • T4 What ideas do you have to make an HCLDR conference memorable/different than other conferences?

Image Credit

Flags Inside Conference Room – Kena Siu https://flic.kr/p/5cZUHy

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