UBC Conferences & Accommodation (C&A) is a lesser-known, but big part of the SHHS family. A fundamental part of their operation is their summer conference season, which takes place from May to August each year.
We sat down with Lisa Kanavaros, a Sales Manager with C&A, to go behind the scenes and find out how it all comes together.
Lisa’s role as a Sales Manager means she’s one of the first points of contact for potential clients, along with her colleague Callie Service. Lisa works primarily with academic and association-based clients, while Callie is the point person for clients like sports groups, youth programs, and religious groups.
“Sometimes we’re starting the conversation with clients as early as nine to ten years out, sometimes just one or two. For some of the big academic or international conferences, the process really is years in the making.” – Lisa Kanavaros, Sales Manager
One of the things that Lisa loves most about her job is the diversity of clients and, specific to her academic clients, getting to learn about amazing research that has a big impact in our world—everything from medical innovations to cultural research to advances in geophysics.
Some of this summer’s notable conferences include:
- NAISA 2017, a major conference for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, which brought roughly 900 delegates to campus in late-June.
- ICHAC 2017, the 12th International Conference of Heteroatom Chemistry, which brought roughly 150 delegates to UBC in early-June.
- CGU 2017, a joint annual scientific meeting for the Canadian Geophysical Union and Canadian Society of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology in late-May.
One really interesting conference that Lisa is working on for July 2018 is the World Sanskrit Conference with Dr. Adheesh Sathaye from UBC’s Asian Studies department. This conference is the premier international forum for academic researchers and educators of Sanskrit language, literature, history, religion, and culture.
Non-academic groups that C&A is hosting this summer are:
These are just a few of the 150–200 conferences and groups that C&A brings to UBC each summer.
“Colleagues from around the world who attended the conference commented on the smooth running of the event, and the friendly and helpful treatment they received while here.” — Mona Gleason, Professor & Chair, Society for the History of Children & Youth Conference 2015
Each group needs different levels of support during a conference. C&A provides a basic package of conference services, including coordinating bookings for meeting space, classrooms, and social events. They are also able to provide, if needed, customized services that include everything from conference websites to delegate registration to financial management and off-campus venue bookings.
“It’s our job to make sure that everything is easy for the client, so that they get to enjoy their conference and relax.” – Lisa Kanavaros, Sales Manager
Where do conference guests stay? They stay right here on campus! C&A’s accommodations not only include the West Coast Suites, during the summer they include Walter Gage, Ponderosa Commons, Orchard Commons, Totem Park, and the Pacific Spirit Hostel at Place Vanier.
Of course, at the heart of every conference is the food. C&A is proud to be partnered with Scholar’s Catering, UBC’s catering company.
“Having the IVNC [International Vacuum Nanoelectronics Conference] on campus was a great experience. The attendees seemed to really enjoy the accommodations, conference venue and beautiful surroundings. The UBC Conferences and Accommodation staff were extremely helpful and supportive…. [They] were truly instrumental in making the conference a great success and never hesitated in helping me with whatever I needed. Thank you so much!” — Dr. Alireza Nojeh, 2016 International Vacuum Nanoelectronics Conference (IVNC)
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