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I'm Hearing IFVP Voices (They Aren't All in My Head)


The 2020 IFVP Conference is brought to you this year and chaired by the IFVP Board of Directors. The organizing team comprised of Board members Sunshine BenBelkacem and myself,  along with our committee volunteers Sam Bradd, Lynn Carruthers, Susan Kelly, Malgosia Kostecka, Nevada Lane, and Leslie Salmon-Zhu, are all working hard to make our 25th Anniversary a top notch experience, starting with the choice of the Claremont Club and Spa as our venue. We heard your issues and suggestions from the 2019 Montclair University Conference.

 “Location, location, location. Everything in one place. Less walking, especially up and down hills. Good to be near a major airport. Would have been nice if local services were within walking distance: coffee shops, eateries, drugstore, etc.”

“Onsite accommodations. Perhaps a downtown location in a major metro area with access to surrounding restaurants and attractions.”

“Would be cool to do an “unconference” with more informal gathering / organizing / hang out time. I think a lot of us value connection with one another quite a lot. We should also be modelling unique ways of meeting outside the over-done conference format.”   

A retreat or campus style conference center might be a good choice to allow lodging on site and meeting spaces with natural light.”

“This was my first one, and I was pretty impressed… I would have loved some space to do yoga or self-reflection to help digest information throughout the days.”

Based on your feedback we felt that the historic Bay Area landmark luxury hotel would be the ideal retreat. It is an urban resort, with tennis courts, a world-renowned spa and three heated, outdoor saline pools. The Club was awarded Best Hotel Gym by Shape Magazine. The hotel has 3 distinct restaurants and is known for its award-winning culinary team. (No plastic plates and cutlery at our meals!) The Claremont is accessible to 2 major airports and walking distance to 2 thriving communities with boutiques, thrift stores, grocers, and drugstores. There are 32 restaurants and 8 tourist attractions within less than a mile. The meeting rooms are bright and airy.

I recently took advantage of my airline rewards for a site visit to see if the hype was true. The hotel and its grounds and surroundings are gorgeous and have many little spaces to relax with friends or catch some quiet time alone. The view of San Francisco is amazing. The towns’ choice of bars and restaurants is almost overwhelming. Make sure to check out Sunny’s blog post highlighting our visit.

I’m not going to reveal any agenda details now but I’m excited to say that we took programming ideas to heart as well:

“Design an overall facilitated creative visual experience for participants to identify who they are, what they’re doing, who they serve and how they want to make a difference and change the world with their work … drawing of visions of our futures. We would work in cohorts and by the end of the three days we would have clear visions of how we were moving forward and how each of us could contribute, support and check in later about those goals... a big gallery of all the ideas that were generated.”

“It would be so nice to work on a collaborative project together while we're all in the same space. Walking away from the conference with something that we all took part in creating would feel really satisfying. I would also love for the location to allow us to all stay in the same place together, so we have more continuity from the sessions that take place all day to some fun evening activities.”

Our Conference planning is still a work in progress. We’ll keep you in the loop as we have updates on speakers, presenters, and activities. I just wanted to share that you are part of our plans and to let you know there are some big surprises coming your way! Visit our Conference page as we release more information in the upcoming weeks. The team and I are looking forward to seeing you in Berkeley!

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