Riki WilchinsA Conference—and an App—to Remember

By: Riki Wilchins In: 2013 Annual Conference| Media and Technology| Philanthropy

12 Apr 2013

I had a great time at the Council’s Annual Conference in Chicago. There were so many highlights and packed workshops, especially the lunch plenary featuring the mayors of Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans.

One thing that made it especially fun was the cool new app sponsored by the Knight Foundation. When I first downloaded it, I didn’t get it. Where was the heavy, glossy-sided brochure we’ve all have to carry around at every type of conference for decades?

But once I got into it, it was a game-changer. It was a whole different experience.

For instance, I scanned all the workshops and presenters, clicked on the ones that looked especially interesting, and it automatically built my own personal conference schedule. No more notes scribbled in margins or post-its. It included a hotel map, evaluation forms, and updates in real-time with any changes. I downloaded and installed it on Apple and Android and it worked on both. Good work Council!

Another development that other conferences should adopt is the “speed dating” some workshops incorporated. We go to conferences to make connections, right? This is networking on steroids. Everyone sits in two concentric circles. You share your story and then the person opposite you does the same. Then everyone shifts a seat. Repeat until done. You quickly connect with many folks you might never meet otherwise.

One of the things I enjoy about the Council’s Annual is the affinity group events. I attended some very intense, honest, and often raw workshops by the Association of Black Foundation Executives. And Hispanics in Philanthropy put on a really nice reception right before the Council’s big event at the beautiful Art Institute of Chicago. I’m all ready for next year’s conferencein Washington, D.C.

Riki Wilchins is executive director of TrueChild

Comment Form

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact webteam@cof.org.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


Mena Amin
Susan Hoechstetter
John Tyler
Noel McLaughlin
David Styers
Rich Westfall
David Colby
Jessica del Rosario
BH Kim
Chris Cardona
Adrienne Mansanares
Tom Vilsack
Judy Sjostedt
Susan Barry
Carol Goss
Kate Schrauth
Sam Davis
Joop Rubens
Kathryn Merchant
Diane Melley
Stuart Comstock-Gay
Karen Archer Perry and Chauncy Lennon
Phil Hall
Manikka L. Bowman
Hillary Nather-Detisch
Bruce Trachtenberg and Michael Hamill Remaley
Rene Cabral-Daniels
Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker
James Head
Lisa Jordan
Javier Alberto Soto
Lance E. Lindblom and Laura Shaffer Campos
Jennifer Lentfer
Matt Robertson
Sidney Hargro
Ronn Richard
Ed Miller
Riki Wilchins
Craig Muska
Linda Wood
Brooke Bailey
Frank Alvarez
Robert K. Ross
Chet Hewitt
Tim Walter
Andrea Lubov
Niamani Mutima
Sam Stern
Owen Heleen
Jennifer Leonard