Written by Adrian San Miguel, 2020-2021 PLSP Fellow
2020 has been a year like no other. While many organizations had to cancel or postpone their professional development conferences, ACTE was able to pivot early on to ensure it provided members a meaningful and robust conference experience we come to expect. Vision 2020 was still successful this year because it provided a new opportunity and way to engage with attendees, visit timely topics around COVID-19 and communication in a digital world, and still provide the critical sharing of resources from leaders across the country on advancing career technical education.
Many of the themes around the conference sessions centered around reframing our work due to COVID-19. All of us have had to re-envision how we approach many aspects of our job, and so sessions at Vision provided timely and relevant information on the sharing of best practices and approaches. This year especially reinforced the strong community we have in CTE, with many presenters sharing their personal and professional experiences and resources to help others.
Our opening keynote with Sarita Maybin was a great way to kick off the conference on navigating conversations. With most our staff working remotely and connecting via Zoom and Teams calls, it has created new challenges on staying connected and communicating effectively. I especially appreciated the 50 phrases for all occasions resource Sarita provided. They are great and easy phrases that we can use to be mindful of in our conversations to promote collaboration, effective communication, and provide clarity in difficult conversations. I definitely plan to use this resource as I am working with my staff and share with my supervisors to help them in their own teams.
What I appreciated about Vision this year was a new way to engage attendees. Many times, at in-person conferences, it is hard to meet and get to know people at a session you are attending. It was great to be able to see quickly attendees and chat with them via the conference website. Because of this, I made new connections from sessions I attended or those that attended mine. The feature to link our LinkedIn account to the conference allowed us to make professional connections and add to my professional network fairly easily.