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Wow, what a great LMA Annual Conference! Thanks to 2011 Conference Co-Chairs Cherie Olland and Adam Severson and LMA President Jeanne Hammerstrom for generating such enthusiasm and giving us so many great ideas this year. They set a high bar for the 2012 conference, but we like a challenge! 

2011 was terrific for many reasons. First, thanks to the 1,000+ people who attended. That was an all-time record and it created a great environment for learning, connecting and networking. Replicating that is easy: just come again next year -- and bring some new people. Also, the professional development was outstanding. The programming was highly substantive, and having it organized around four tracks gave it thematic consistency and made it easy for people to identify sessions that best fit their needs and interests. As CMOs, we particularly appreciated the Roundtable sessions with our peers, but there was literally something for everyone. Our vendors showed up in force and created a terrific Exhibit Hall with all kinds of learning opportunities -- thanks so much to all who participated. Betsi Roach and the LMA staff, and Kristy Perkins and all her colleagues at ACI made the whole thing run like clockwork. And finally, the Disney Institute gave us valuable insights into their formula to create the happiest place on earth. Most of us were escaping a long, tough winter and it was a real treat to spend a few days in nice weather and, for those who brought family, have lots of fun diversions.

So how in the world are we going to top that in 2012? The Board has already told us their expectation for next year is "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet." (For those of you younger than 40, that was a song by Bachman Turner Overdrive, a band that was a household name in the '70s, at least in the Bachman and Turner households up in Winnipeg.). Well, all of you who came in 2011 are coming back in 2012, right? And you're going to bring someone who didn't come in 2011, right? Trust us, the energy that comes from a big crowd just builds on itself and creates a great environment, so let's all do that together. We'll do our part as well. As great as the programming was this year, we are already working on ideas to tailor it more precisely to different areas of interest and level of experience, and also to present more sessions in a more interactive, roundtable-type setting where we can learn from each other and raise the questions that matter most to us. To our fellow CMOs: we want to provide content you can't get anywhere else, so help us determine what you would value most. And, of course, you all know everything is bigger and better in Texas. If you have any doubt about that, just ask a Texan.

See you next March. In the meantime, don't hesitate to let us know what would make the 2012 conference a great experience for you.

Jill Weber Mark Usellis

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.