Advice for Making the Most of the Annual Conference

The 65th Annual Employee Benefits Conference is just a month away, taking place October 20-23, 2019 in San Diego! If you’re one of the 5,000 attendees who will be joining us, I’ve got eight tips for you to make the most of the conference.

Advice for Making the Most of the Annual Conference

1. Download the App

Available a few days before the conference, this is a must-have. The IFEBP US Annual Conference app puts the entire conference in the palm of your hand. You can access session handouts on the app, plus it includes the Conference Guide, Exhibitor Guide, Speaker Directory and more all in one place. Why carry a bag loaded with heavy booklets when you don’t need to? You can also quickly fill out evals, plot out which sessions you want to attend and more.

2. Build Your Conference Schedule

With more than 200 sessions offered at the conference, it can be overwhelming to arrive at the event and wing it. The sessions are organized by track (ranging from fiduciary responsibility to health and welfare to pensions to apprenticeship and training) to help you focus your selections. Many sessions are repeated, so be sure to have a second choice in mind if your first session fills.

Annual Employee Benefits Conference

3. Get a Health Screening at Health Island

This is a great opportunity to get not only the standard blood pressure and glucose test but also some of the more unusual health checks. Get a hearing check, bone mineral density screen and a derma scan. One that I’m particularly interested in is the mental health. We all have down days, but when is it something more?

4. Get Social 

I’m an introvert, so this can be tough, but I find it oh-so-valuable. Conversations on the shuttle bus, during the down time before the session starts and over lunches can be some of the most informative and eye-opening moments of the event. This is where you find others who are in the same boat as you, dealing with the same challenges. You get ideas, and in a moment you shed the “I’m not alone in this” feeling. You might even make a new friend.

5. Explore Front-Row Seating

After a long day, it’s very tempting to sit in the back and coast through a session, but remind yourself you’re here to learn so you can best serve your participants. When I’m getting tired and my head is starting to fill from a long conference day, I head to the front row. It’s the conference version of a double espresso. Being really close to the speaker forces me to follow their thoughts, keeping me engaged.  

6. Pack Smart

Bring at least two pairs of comfortable shoes. You’ll find that even your most comfortable shoes will start to rub you the wrong way after a long day, and it’s nice to have an alternate pair to slip into. Stash a light jacket or sweater in your bag, since room temperatures can go from icy to toasty once a few thousand people fill a space.

7. Stay Hydrated

You’re outside of your normal routine, and it’s tempting to indulge in too much caffeine or snacks. Drinking lots of water will help you stay alert and feel less sluggish.

8. Free your mind. 

As En Vogue preached, free your mind and the rest will follow. Attend all sessions with an open mind, being ready to absorb anything from economic trends to how to treat your colleague who is having a rough time.

Haven’t Registered Yet for the Annual Conference?

There’s still time! The 65th Annual Employee Benefits Conference is the largest gathering of multiemployer and public employee benefit plan representatives. The event offers you the opportunity to network with your peers, be surrounded by industry experts and learn the latest in the industry so you can make the most informed decisions on behalf of your funds. Register here.


Stacy Van Alstyne
Communications Director at the International Foundation

Annual Employee Benefits Conference

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