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Home > Convention > 2018 Recap - Go West > Convention Schedule > Programming Highlights

Don't miss out on exciting convention programming, including
Keynote Speakers, Ticketed Events, and Industry Trends

Keynote Speakers

Meet Dr Rita Murray, 2018 WFA Keynote Speaker

Generational expert Dr Rita Murray sits down with WFA Communications Director Chris Pickering to discuss her upcoming keynote address at the 2018 Convention & Trade Show in Anaheim. 
"Gear Up" to Survive & Thrive in your Multi-Generational World

Dr. Rita Murray is back by popular demand from our 2016 Fall Manager’s Conference and she’s bringing with her a big dose of reality on the nonprofit business operations front. Workforce demographic and socioeconomic events continue to collide across our Fairs producing the biggest employment, management and engagement issues ever – a perfect storm of opportunity. And, the changes we are facing won't disappear after a year or two. This isn't the hundred yard dash, folks. We’re signed up for a marathon. By 2020, Millennials will comprise nearly 50% of the US workforce. More than ever, it is urgent that we understand the “new rules of engagement” and value the four different generations and the gaps between them, which have many applications and implications -- the ways we buy and sell, lead and follow, communicate, and interact with authority and technology. One area that Dr. Rita will not sugarcoat is the glaring difference between older and younger Millennials – Millennials born 1981-1990 vs. Millennials born 1991-2000 – and the high cost of delay in acknowledging their differences.

You will discover how each generation achieved its identity based on numerous variables: work ethic, values, idiosyncrasies, conflict resolution preferences, and styles of managing and being managed. Exploring attitudes that affect team building and on the job work habits, you will hear how to enhance the success of your Fair and all its contingent generational relationships. Determine to become more “generationally relevant” and make better business decisions. You will gain an understanding of the basic generational differences and how to start developing strategies for working more successfully with members of all five generations.

So don’t just prepare yourself for continued extraordinary challenges. Show up and confidently shout, BRING IT ON!

Jim Teece

Future-Proofing Your Fair

A provocative, inspiring, funny and thought-provoking session, "Future-Proofing Your Fair" recounts the journey of the Jackson County Fair & Expo in Oregon as they moved from the brink of bankruptcy to sustainable fiscal strength and community leadership by applying “Future-Proofing” ideas and concepts that will work for any fair. Community expectations have changed, and fairs must change to survive. It takes the entire fair family to “Future-Proof” successfully, and Jim will show you how they did it. This talk is perfect for Fair Managers, Board Members, and Service Members alike.

Jim is currently serving on the Jackson County Fair & Expo Board (President), Southern Oregon University Foundation Board, and the Northwest Telecommunications Association Board (President). Past boards include Ashland Chamber of Commerce (President), Asante Foundation, JPR, and the Software Association of Oregon.

Jim has been an all day, every day volunteer at the fair for the last 20 years. He created the award-winning “Technology Pavilion” at the fair that introduced the internet to Southern Oregon and evolved every year for 15 years.

Jim is the President & CEO of Project A, a global ecommerce digital agency and software developer, founded with his wife in 1990. He is also President and CEO of Ashland Home Net, Ashland’s largest Internet Service Provider (ISP), Cable TV and Phone company. As an innovator, public speaker and educator, Jim has a best-selling app in the app store, “Art Authority,” and has created community services such as TodayInAshland.com, aLocalHero.net and FreBa.com.

Ticketed Events

Leadership Luncheon

Wednesday, January 3
12:30 - 2 pm

Want to get involved more in WFA, but aren’t sure how? This luncheon is the perfect opportunity to gain an inside perspective on the numerous facets of our organization.

Join current WFA President, Joe Anderson, and President Elect, Patricia Conklin, for a preview of the year ahead and a review of 2017. Hear reports from all key committees and a call for service (committee membership sign-ups will be available). The program will also feature a preview of the 2017 Merrill Award Finalists – recognizing the very best of the fair innovation, vision and leadership.

Industry Awards Dinner

Friday, January 5
6 - 8 pm

Come dressed to the nines as we celebrate excellence and recognize service. Hall of Fame and the Barham Award will be presented, along with announcing the winner of the prestigious Merrill Award.

Dinner is open seating with the option of reserving a table for ten in advance. This is recommended for large groups wishing to sit together.

Fair Directors & Executives

Leadership Workshop

Saturday, January 6
8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Director Track

Fairs & Foundations
Success Stories

8:30 – 10:00 am
Breakfast included with workshop fee

One of this century’s largest industry trends has been the development of the charitable Fair Foundations, often known as the “Friends of the xyz Fair,” while this is a great concept, it can lead to challenges if the Fair Board and the Foundation Board have differing priorities. Join us to hear several success stories and strategies to build strong partnerships.

Fair Directors
Roles and Responsibilities

10:15 – 11:15 am

Fair directors are the cornerstone of the fair sector and in many cases, the board predates professional management. Fair directors have broad responsibility which can conflict with the professional staff, or complicate their roles. This session will examine best practices and provide take home examples of solutions that work!

Fair Directors
Break Out Meetings

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Several hands on topics in a close up setting designed to support director leadership.

Executive Track

Fairs & Foundations
Success Stories

8:30 – 10:00 am
Breakfast included with workshop fee

One of this century’s largest industry trends has been the development of the charitable Fair Foundations, often known as the “Friends of the xyz Fair,” while this is a great concept, it can lead to challenges if the Fair Board and the Foundation Board have differing priorities. Join us to hear several success stories and strategies to build strong partnerships.

Fair Executive Development

10:15am – 12:30pm

Network Building & Stress Management for your professional Fair Executive Development

Leadership development isn’t just the board’s job…it’s yours, too. Learn to build your network, both inside and outside the industry, your organization, and your unique community. Understand your role in working with the board, not just working for them. How do you insure that everyone on the team is striving for more? Strategically plan your meetings for optimal productivity. Enhance internal communications. Provide robust orientations. Judiciously navigate situations. Purposefully set goals. These are just a few topics that we’ll cover as you learn to manage your stress when you understand your role as a Fair Executive in development of the leadership of your organization.

Last Chance Elephant Experience

Saturday, January 6

Lunch and bus transport included
Limited to 50 participants

After 40 years in California, WFA members Have Trunk, Will Travel will be relocating their elephant family in 2018. The Perris compound is a world renowned elephant facility and this tour will allow you a unique, up close experience with North America’s biggest stars! Famous for their movie and television work, these elephants have been a part of the fair industry landscape for decades. Don’t miss this last chance to see, touch and enjoy their amazing beauty.

*WFA will be donating all proceeds from this tour to fund the elephant quarters at their new home.

Industry Trends

Cannabis Events Workshop

Faigrounds throughout the west are either being used or considered for cannabis related events and shows. Hear from event promoters and fair executives as they discuss the opportunities and challenges these new events present.

Business Planning as a Tool to Weather Economic Conditions

Wednesday, January 3
2:15 - 5 pm

The challenges facing a fair organization in today’s market and economic conditions are significant. It is critical to plan carefully and with consensus - pointing everyone in the organization in the same direction, each with a clear idea of their role in making immediate operating decisions that are consistent with the types of action required for long-range growth and development of the fair’s business.

Business plans are unique to each fair, based on the unique characteristics and environment of the local community, market and fairgrounds. This session will review the various elements of creating a business plan for your fair including analysis of current business, understanding highest and best use of facilities and grounds, creating goals and objectives for business development and preparing a financial summary of projected business results.

IAFE's Institute of Fair Management

Join leaders from around the industry for Public & Media Relations #220, a required course in IAFE's Institute of Fair Management.

Links to specially-priced Disneyland® Resort Theme Park tickets presented on this website will open an email to the WFA team. Please include your name and business or fair, as we will verify your convention registration before providing the active Disneyland® link.

Click here to purchase specially-priced

Disneyland® Resort Theme Park tickets

These special ticket prices are not available once you arrive at the Resort.

Our ticket store closes at 9:00 PM PST on Sunday, Dec 31, 2017.

Don't delay! Prices are subject to change without notice.

These specially priced tickets are intended only for guests that are participating in this Event. Only the registered attendee is allowed to purchase tickets from this discounted ticket store link and they can purchase up to 6 tickets maximum. We reserve the right to contact the ticket purchaser to request event registration confirmation. If it is discovered that the purchaser of the ticket is not participating or attending this event it will be considered a misuse of this offer and ticket, and the ticket(s) will be blocked and will not be eligible for a refund. In addition these tickets cannot be purchased for the purpose of being resold.

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