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A Community-building Conference, in More Ways than One

Anyone in event management knows there’s always more that goes into an event than meets the eye.

But the same can be said for what a host gets out of an event – and that’s certainly the sentiment this year’s CANHEIT host is taking into the three-day conference.

Terry Nikkel is Associate Vice President, Information Technology Services at UNB. He’s been working with his team to organize this year’s event, since shortly after CANHEIT 2014 wrapped.

“We know the people at PEI and the people who hosted the year before that, so there’s lots of experience to draw on,” Terry said. “We’ve also had some conversations around what we liked, what we didn’t, and what we’d copy or adapt from previous years. This year is intended to be a combination of existing things we liked, as well as some entirely new components for CANHEIT attendees to enjoy.

As Terry explains, the fact that CANHEIT is taking place at UNB Fredericton is actually quite serendipitous.

“It originally wasn’t intended that CANHEIT would be in the east at all,” he said. “But since CAUBO is in Saint John prior to our dates, the idea is to leverage the opportunity to exchange sessions, bringing the two groups together to help develop those relationships.”

Terry says it’s a coincidence that has worked out wonderfully for UNB, and that acting as host organization has been a fulfilling experience.

“One of the nice things about CANHEIT is that the host gets to put its own stamp on it,” he said. “There is a fair bit of freedom for the CANHEIT host organization, which I think adds to the enjoyment.”

“My team also draws a lot of enjoyable experience from putting the conference together and welcoming guests,” Terry said. “It’s good for my staff – it gives them experience with new organizational tasks and networking with people in a different way.”

Looking ahead to the conference, Terry thinks that delegates will particularly enjoy the keynotes and vendor presentations.

“The vendor experience is going to be particularly good because everybody’s going to be in the same place – 25 of them – all having displays in a single facility,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for CANHEIT attendees to explore the latest and greatest, and we’re lucky at UNB to have a really big space through which to give them such strong exposure.”

While Terry has acted as team lead for this year’s CANHEIT host organization, he says it all comes back to his team and the work they’ve put into the project.

“My job has been made much easier and much more straightforward by having an excellent team to call upon,” he said. “Our dedicated project manager makes sure thousands of details are looked after. We’ve been spreading out the work and we’ve had eager and happy participation. It’s not just UNB’s ITS team, but also conference services, food services, facilities people, classroom technology, our Saint John staff. It’s absolutely great team building. People who don’t typically work together are working together very well. It’s going to be a great conference.”

For more information on CANHEIT 2015, visit the website.