“Wildly successful. Loved every minute,” said Jay Verkler after the conclusion of the inaugural RootsTech Conference. Apparently attendees agreed; during the closing session audience members gave organizers a standing ovation. Verkler’s grand experiment to create synergy between genealogists, vendors, and technologists had been a big success.
“RootsTech 2011 was an amazing accomplishment,” wrote blogger Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt. “It's not about the technology, it's about how the technology draws us together.”
“It is a big mindset change,” said conference chair, Anne Roach, “from ‘coming to a conference’ to ‘coming to a conference where part of your responsibility is to give.’” I think you have it wrong, Anne. It was an easy change to go to a conference where I had the privilege to give—and take. The spirit of collaboration generated an energy level that was felt throughout the conference.
Roach said that inventing a new kind of conference and organizing it in a mere eight months had been a monumental challenge. Perhaps that is why she so willingly and constantly volunteered that she will not be chairing next year’s conference.
During Roach’s short, closing remarks she took some comic relief from funny suggestions gathered while naming the conference:
- Gu-Roots – this pun did not test well among either gurus or root-seekers.
- HeriTech – short for Heritage Technology, this suggestion was summarily rejected.
- GCon – the G stands for geeks and genealogists. To techies, con is readily understood to mean conference. But to genealogists, G and Con suggested FBI agents and con artists. To Anne personally, it suggested roach killer. :-)
Roach has been quick to acknowledge the contributions of others:
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this great event. It will be an experience that I will never forget.
I cannot claim credit for the success of RootsTech. The success belongs to the outstanding band of committee chairs and members who worked so hard to pull this off. The success belongs to the hundreds of volunteers who offered their time and talents to help support this event. The success belongs to the speakers who prepared and presented over a hundred innovative and collaborative classes.
And finally, the success belongs to each and every one of you who chose to participate in RootsTech 2011.
In my final interview with her, she gave final thoughts about this year’s conference and next year’s:
Of this year: “Amazing. Completely amazing.”
For next year: “I really look forward to participating… as a participant.”
RootsTech 2.0 will be held February 2-4, 2012, again at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City.