Monday, March 10, 2008

Conference: the winners

I've forgotten how hard daylight-savings time hits when it's in 'spring forward' mode. Thursday (gala night) was a 14 hour day for the AMPA team, and similarly for Friday (sessions day). If I seemed harried, well that's what I was going for....righhhht.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Alberta Magazines Conference March 6th & 7th (over 260 of you). This was our biggest, and many say, best, conference to date.

For those of you who couldn't make it, here's a quick recap of the festivities:

Thursday night
Banner sponsor Transcontinental treated Gala attendees to Transcontininis, their special (and secret) blue drink, complete with a cherry on top. In the middle actually. Blue and red, it was pretty as well as tasty.

Many people asked me if there'd be food at the Quebecor sponsored gala or if they needed pre-eat. Totally valid question as it's something I'd normally pounce on. Yes there were eats. What kind? You had to be there as it's making me quite hungry to recall it.

The lovely Matt Masters band performed a short set for the crowd, spoken word artist Robey Stothart, aka Sabo Forte, performed two pieces, one he wrote especially for AMPA members (check out the full piece in the next issue of MagaScene), and Chris Turner, author of The Geography of Hope, urged publishers to pay their freelancers more money. As a freelancer in addition to being an AMPA-ite, I definitely concur with that.

The Editor of the Year Award was announced at the Gala. The recipient of our inaugural award honouring excellence by an editor of an Alberta magazine is Michael McCullough, editor of Alberta Venture. Congratulations Mike! Check out for more details.

The silent auction featured over 50 items, and some of you got amazing deals on hotel packages, spa treatments, professional development courses and the like. The live auction also featured killer deals for those who bidded. Lucky.

Friday was a jam-packed day. Began with breakfast and a presentation from Neva Murtha of Markets Initiative. The smaller rooms were smaller than we would've liked, so we'll be looking into improving this for next year's conference.

Keynote Jason Brightman espoused the web's virtues and blew people away at his session, as did many of our illustrious speakers like Kim Machado, Charlene Rooke, and Kevin Menshik at their respective sessions.

Showcase Awards -
were announced during the wine and cheese at day's end. Congrats to all!
Winners of the Showcase Award are:
Best Editorial Short - Alberta Venture magazine for "Roughing It In the Patch"
Best Feature Layout - techlife magazine for "Corbin in the Kitchen"
Best Cover - CalgaryInc. magazine for "Philanthropists' Bright New Ideas"

Check out the entries at

I was in bed by 9:00pm Friday night from all the running around. Normally this is not something a 25 year old would gloat about in a public forum, however, I think given the circumstances there was no other outcome. The end of the conference is a bit sad for me, like a baby you've nurtured only to have it grow up and run off to school.

And now for the shout-outs...
Thank you to our volunteers: Betty, Don, Sheila, and to the AMPA team: Angie, Cathy, Colleen, Julia (and Ollie), Margaret, Committee members: Jim Z, AMPA Board of Directors: Rob T., Gary D., Merla T., Allan L., Karen C., Karen N., Tracy H, Tom T, Agnes Z, and all the attendees.

And we cannot forget the sponsors, with whom this would not have been possible: Quebecor World, Transcontinental, Calgary Colorpress/Central Web, CDS Global, Access Copyright, Travel Alberta, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, JuneWarren Publishing Ltd., Grant MacEwan College, Masthead magazine, McCallum Printing, Mount Royal College, PrintWest, Printworks, Prolific Graphics, SAIT Polytechnic, Teldon Print Media, Texterity.

And now...time to start planning next year's conference! Will keep you updated on how that goes!