Assembling Your Committee
One of the first steps to running a conference is choosing a conference chair and key committee members who will be responsible for all aspects of the event. It is important to be inclusive when forming your event committee.
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Choose a General Conference Chair & Conference Committee
Every conference has a General Chair, appointed by the sponsoring organization.
- Should be a member of IEEE or of a co-sponsoring organization
- Often selects the conference location
- Appoints the conference committee
The Conference Committee runs the conference. They hold meetings as needed to ensure that the conference is on track and report to the sponsoring organization. Most conferences have at least a Proceedings Chair and Finance Chair/Treasurer.
Conferences often set up by committees for specific functions. Some examples include Finance/Treasurer, Technical Program, Publicity, Registration, Exhibits, Audit, and Local Arrangements. The chairs of these committees usually serve on the conference committee. Be sure to create a clear definition of roles and responsibilities and identify to whom each committee reports.
Key Roles & Responsibilities
There are five key roles for any conference.
General Chair: Appointed by the sponsoring organization. Often responsible for selecting the conference location. Appoints the chairs of other committees that make up the conference committee.
Finance Chair & Treasurer: Depending on the size of the conference, a committee may be necessary to ensure all financial, tax, and audit requirements are met. Some of these requirements include establishing conference bank accounts, indirect tax, insurance and bonding, budget, expenses, financial reports, and conference closing. Also responsible for the final audit, if required.
Program Chair: Ensures that a well-balanced, high-quality program is organized and presented at the conference. Handles the Call for Papers through the selection and review of every paper. Assists in the scheduling of session rooms and helping with local arrangements for the program.
Publications Chair: Responsible for the coordination of conference content production (e.g., papers from special tutorial sessions or colloquia, summaries of conference papers, programs, etc.) and serves as the point of contact for all Xplore® submission-related inquiries before and after the conference.
Publicity & Public Relations Chair: Gathers, maintains, and utilizes lists of media contacts and past and potential attendees for targeted outreach; promotes the conference through placements in various publication calendars and advertisements in IEEE and non-IEEE publications and news media. May also develop and manage the website and any social-media applications.
Depending on the size and scope of the conference, chairs may establish committees for these activities.
Typical Conference Committees
Your conference may establish committees to assist with specific functions. These committees are merely suggestions; feel free to establish the number and type of committees particular to your needs. Be sure to create a clear definition of roles and responsibilities and a reporting structure.
- Registration Committee: Plans and runs conference registration (both advance and on site) procedures and logistics, including handling of credit card fees, cancellation policy, and creation of name badges; or, it manages a registration-management company.
- Exhibits Committee: Ensures proper handling of contracts, floor space, exhibitor registration, security, and other logistics; or management of an exhibits-management company.
- Local Arrangements Committee: Works with local vendors, management companies, the conference, and other committees in the planning of the conference space, including room set-up, hiring of entertainment, tours, and other local logistics. This committee also works with the local Convention & Visitors Bureau, if applicable.
Securing Approvals in Advance of Publishing Names of Committee Members
The IEEE Board of Directors (BoD) passed an update to Conference Policy (IEEE Policy, Section 10) that includes new language on securing approvals in advance of publishing names of individuals in conference roles in conference promotional materials.
- Before publicizing any conference roles, including committee members, conferences must invite contributors to join, discuss responsibilities, and document their agreement to contribute.
- Additionally, participants must consent to have their name, photo, contact information, and biographical information listed on the conference website, social media, or promotional materials.
We recommend the following courses in the IEEE Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE). First, use your IEEE Account to log in to the CLE and then click the View Course link to go directly to the recommended course.
Conference Committee Keys to Success and Legacy – Playback from Convene 2018 – John Barr IEEE Volunteer, Kevin Hanft IEEE (Building your team – best practices)
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