By: Emma Wadel
As I hope many of you are aware, we had our annual October event entitled BEEing Diverse: Inspiring Leaders in Beekeeping on September 30 and October 1, 2022. I am happy to report that it went fantastic!
Over the past three years, Bee Culture had been trying their best to host this event. Unfortunately both in 2020 and 2021, it was canceled due to the public safety concerns from the still on-going, COVID-19 pandemic. They chose to completely cancel rather than move it to a completely virtual event because they didn’t want to lose out on the spirit of having the event in-person, especially with the speakers we did. I am thankful they chose to postpone!
For anyone who does not know, I am the designer for Bee Culture Magazine. I started here in September 2021, just as they canceled the event that year. I got to spend the remainder of the year learning everything I could from Kathy and for some reason that didn’t include almost anything about the event. I got a couple small notes here and there for it, but since we weren’t planning it, it wasn’t at the forefront of the teaching. Learning the magazine was much more important. But that’s okay since Kim and Kathy are close by and always ready to help!
That being said, from behind the scenes it was wild, chaotic, crazy, basically any synonym you want to apply during the planning and lead up to the event. Since Bee Culture’s entire team is new as of November 2019, none of us have ever planned this event before. Two of us hadn’t even attended one! Luckily, back in early June, Kim came in and gave us a rundown of what we need, when we need it and a best course of action to get going. From there we enlisted the help of some people around the A.I. Root Company (if you didn’t know – that’s the company Bee Culture is owned by!). We needed help with getting our conference room booked, making sure we could actually get in the room, set-up of tables and chairs and a million other tiny details but most importantly, making sure we had food for everyone! A sincere thank you to all of the Root employees who were involved in helping us with this event. We could not have done it without you!
As we planned and time flew by, so many little details kept coming into play that none of us had even thought about! I can’t tell you how many pages of notes I filled up as we had meeting after meeting about the event. An event of our size (we had about 75 people in person) isn’t the biggest event, especially in the bee world, but for three people with minimal experience, it was tough! Planning 14 speakers, in-person and virtual tickets, catering, social media, many Amazon purchases for everything from hand sanitizer to table cloths and everything in-between was difficult to juggle while also putting out a monthly magazine, a daily email blast, some renewal mailings, posting articles online, plus everything Jerry and Jen do. I even went on a week vacation in there!
But overall, we somehow did it and we have received only positive comments. So many people were glad to finally be able to meet in person and have that many speakers with such a wide range of knowledge and expertise to share stories with and ask questions. We are so glad we finally made this happen and it was a great success. We want to do it again in the future, but check back in a few months to see if it’s a yearly event… we’re still tired.
Before I go, I wanted to announce that we will have the recordings of each talk available for purchase on our store website (www.Store.BeeCulture.com). I am writing this on November 7, and so far I have five recordings done out of 15 total recordings. Unfortunately, based on our previous knowledge of technology and programs, software limitations and various other reasons, I am the only one who can work on these. While I do that, I am also doing the rest of my job, so it’s a very slow process. We also had a surprise technical issue (because what good event happens without one), we almost didn’t have our microphone system. That being said, it was up and running but not at top quality. Our amazing IT person was able to get it up about two days before we started. But the day of, we noticed a slight buzz in the background and when he went to fix it, the microphone system broke again for about 10 minutes so we collectively chose that a microphone with a small buzz was better than no microphone at all. With this detail explained, the buzz was more apparent in the recordings than we originally anticipated. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but some of our speakers are soft-spoken people. We want to offer the absolute best product possible, so I am going through and editing everything, and at the same time, I am transcribing and subtitling each talk. Because of this, the recordings are taking significantly longer to finish and upload than we had originally thought. We will have them up on our store as soon as all the recordings are ready. Please be patient with us with the timing of this because as of now, I cannot guarantee or even estimate a date. We will make sure to let you know on our social media pages, in our daily email Catch the Buzz and in the magazine as soon as they are all ready! Until then, we hope you join us at our next event!