Omega Home Network/ABODE
ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying hosted this year’s conference in San Antonio, with attendees coming from as far away as Alaska and New York – and all points in between.
I was delighted to produce the conference – three action-packed days of innovative content delivered by world-class speakers including Frank Ostaseski, pioneer in end-of-life care and author of the top-selling The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.
Along with securing and preparing the more than 20 presenters, my team and I collaborated with ABODE staff, board members and volunteers, established the conference goals, objectives and theme, created the conference branding and materials (thank you, Nikki May), promoted the conference via social media, e-newsletters and online community calendars and oversaw every detail associated with the conference – including negotiating contracts with the awesome Marriott Rivercenter.
I was happy to partner with PR pro Nancy Cook-Monroe who pitched this story to the Rivard Report – one of many initiatives designed to raise awareness for ABODE and the close to 30 similar homes across the United States, with another 30 in the works.
Our conference significantly elevated the attendees’ experience and the conversation around death and dying. Frank Ostaseski’s keynote set the tone as he shared his unforgettable experiences and images he has collected, sitting by the bedsides of so many at the ends of their lives.
Executive Coach and Writer Michele Woodward and facilitators Tracie Shelton and Leigh Anne Preston guided attendees in the art of storytelling for marketing and fundraising. Closing keynote speaker Rockey Robbins brought down the house with his big heart, sweet humor and Choctaw and Cherokee prayers.
Every breakout session hit the mark – even the controversial ones. And we were mindful to mix in ABODE’s signature contemplative approach of ritual and reflection at key points throughout the conference.
We celebrated in the unique culture of our region, as well, with the building of a Dia de los Muertos altar followed by dancing to the lively music of Mariachis Internacional. We also hosted visits to the ABODE home, where attendees could experience the magic that happens there firsthand, with performances by the Threshold Singers.
Participants left the conference feeling validated and even more inspired, returning to their homes with new connections to colleagues and tighter bonds with their co-workers. And Omega Home Network now has an expanded conference blueprint that’s repeatable for years to come.
Photos courtesy of Aziz Jumma, Shan Video.
Among the Reviews
“You did a beautiful job planning the conference and coordinating hundreds of details. It had such a good feel to me – so supportive and well organized. You have been such fun to work with.” – Cyra Dumitru, Poet Medical Practitioner, Conference Speaker
“Thanks again for the wonderful job you did in organizing the conference. My only disappointment was that I couldn’t stay longer to support the participants. I appreciated your attention to detail and the ways you cared for me during my visit.” – Frank Ostaseski, Author, Conference Keynoter
“I’ve wanted to hear Frank Ostaseski for years. I totally appreciated this opportunity. I felt like a rock star groupie and loved getting my book signed. Thank you!” – Conference attendee, via electronic survey
“This conference was awesome. Our deep gratitude for all your leadership and expertise.” – Patsy Sasek, Co-Founder, ABODE
“The moment I interviewed Mary for the task of producing the national conference for ABODE, I knew she was the right person. With a very tight schedule, Mary secured speakers, a venue, organized the speaker program and the theme for the conference. Mary’s organizational skills are only outmatched by her ability to coordinate the contributions of the speakers, volunteers, supporters and funding sources. She exceeded our expectations, and I am looking for another excuse to work with her. I highly recommend Mary.”