On behalf of the ICE Board of Directors, our primary hope is that this communication finds you, your family, friends, and colleagues in good health.
These have been extremely challenging times and they have also placed a spotlight on the importance of the work that we perform on behalf of our organizations. As an association of collection professionals, we take pride in the contributions made and the leadership displayed through this difficult period.
The purpose of this communication is to share with you that regretfully, but out of an abundance of caution and with our highest priority being the health and well-being of our attendees, the ICE Board of Directors has decided to cancel our 2020 Conference.
Many factors, some known, some still unknown contributed to this difficult decision. We are aware that several of our member companies have already announced travel or other budgetary restrictions and questions remain about a possible Fall resurgence of the virus. We have also been considering hotel restrictions concerning social distancing requirements, traffic flow throughout our event, the elimination of self-service food and beverage stations, heightened safety protocols (i.e. mask wearing), and additional costs associated with increased service requirements. Additionally, questions have yet to be answered regarding the potential liability exposure incurred by host associations like ICE.
I’m certain that we have all shared the hope that the timing of our late-October event may have allowed us to enjoy, even celebrate at our annual gathering. I think we can all agree that we’re not quite ready to proceed with our traditional conference format.
Conference alternative plans were already under consideration; with this decision finalized we can now move forward to ensure that you continue to experience the benefits of your ICE membership. The ICE Board and Conference Planning Committee will immediately turn their attention toward the development of virtual programming that will be offered throughout the year. Early discussions have even included the possibility of our hosting some form of abbreviated conference experience, featuring virtual events spread throughout October. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re working hard to ensure that ICE maintains our shared sense of connection to one another.
As an example of this type of programming, we know that many of you appreciated our recent program featuring Pete Smith, our 2019 Conference Keynote speaker. Plans are nearly finalized for a June event that will feature a panel of our own members who will share their personal experiences and on-going organizational challenges associated with adjusting to our new normal. These are the type of programs you can look forward to throughout the year.
The Board thanks you for your continued support and welcomes your suggestions as we transition from a face-to-face conference to alternative planning for 2020.
Stay Healthy and Stay Connected!