Fair GO! Conference Report

a a

WOW! What a weekend! I hope that you have had a chance to catch your breath, catch up on sleep, travel home, and just begin to process all of the information, wisdom and experiences shared, friendships and connections made.

Words used by our committee to describe the weekend include:
Awesome Full Worthwhile Wow Amazeballs Insane Fun Exciting Stressful Rewarding Exhausting Friendly Inclusive Professional Fun Fun Fun!!!!
…….I think we can all relate to this huge diversity of emotions and feelings.

Some very important messages:

…..and da winner is……NEW ZEALAND!!!!! \

For those who had to leave early and didn’t hear the AFA is collaborating with the Albinism Trust New Zealand to bring you the 2015 conference. Negotiations are underway to finalise details, but at this stage, the information we have, subject to change, is that the conference will be held at Massey University in Palerston North in the North Island in October / November 2015. As soon as details are finalised, we will let you know. We will be working tirelessly to bring you a reasonably priced package deal, possibly involving airline sponsorship…….watch this space and start saving your pennies!!

Feedback …..URGENT

Please complete this online survey about the conference so that we can make our future conferences cater to your needs. Click on this links below to complete in various formats. It will only take about 5 minutes and your feedback will be invaluable for future conference planning. Plus you get to relive all the things that the conference had to offer.

To remind yourself of the program, please refer to the conference program here:http://jollyninja.com/afa/Final%20Program%20AFA%20Conference%202013.pdf

Your responses will be anonymous. So please put in all your positive comments as well as your constructive suggestions.

Download in PDF format and complete by hand and return as per sheet http://albinismaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/AFA-Conference-2013-Feedback-form-and-health-professionals-form-PDF.pdf

Or word format

*****But by far the easiest – click here to complete online Feedback Questionnaire (kindly converted to this format by Dr Rachel Perry)


In her presentation, Pru Jobling referred to a resource document listing very useful and practical internet resources This can be accessed by clicking on this link:https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8023034/Visiting%20Support%20Teachers%20Resources%20for%20school%20and%20further%20education.docx

Your opportunity to ask questions of the presenters

As the program was so jam packed, some of the question times were cut short by necessity.
Did you have a question for one of our speakers but not get the chance to ask it?
Please email it to conference@albinismaustralia and I will forward it on to the relevant presenter

Friendship list

Ling the mum of one of our incred6ibly talented performers, Mathew Zhou, suggested we prepare a “friendship list” to facilitate ongoing connection and friendships. If you are happy for your email and name to be shared with the others who were at the conference, please email conference@albinismaustralia and I will prepare a list.

Share what you learnt

Knowledge shared is knowledge doubled.
Please take the time to write of your experiences at the conference, or maybe just three things you learnt either on our Facebook page, or send your articles to newsletter@albinismaustralia.org

Grant recipients

If you have not already done so, please forward copies of the expenses up to the maximum of your allocated subsidy through to conference@albinismastralia.org

We will process them and issue refunds ASAP.

Also, please write your conference article which is needed as part of the grant


Josie did an incredible job photographing all things at the conference. She literally took thousands of photos and is in the process of going through and compiling the “cream of the crop”. These will be shared in low res thumbnail version with a water mark in the coming weeks and will be available at a small fee (we are trying to build up our coffers to keep prices at the New Zealand conference as low as possible). Watch this space!!

Josie couldn’t be everywhere at once though! If you have some wonderful, candid happy snaps, you would like to share with the AFA community, please email through to newsletter@albinismaustralia.org so they can go into our next newsletter.

Here are the conference stats:

- 260 people involved
- 76 people with albinism
- 27 kids in the youth program
- 24 kids in the crèche
- 30 dedicated volunteers
- 50 presenters
- 40 professionals
- at least 1000 teardrops, 5000 smiles, 7000 episodes of laughter, and 10,000 moments of shared understanding.-
……Not to mention, conservatively 1600 combined years of experience related to albinism all in one room.

Thankyou from the conference coordinator

As you get back to your new normality, I would like to take a brief moment to make some very personal and special notes of appreciation to some very special people with whom last weekend would not be possible.

The biggest goes to the conference committee. Over 2000 emails were sent between the committee to make this conference happen. Planning started two years ago with Ted, Kim and Shari visiting over a dozen venues, taking into account the room, the lighting, the facilities, the staff, the price, the food etc before finally settling on Rydges. From there, we met monthly, then fortnightly, weekly, daily, culminating in the conference.

• Conference planning is an epic and very complicated beast. All manner of things were addressed, ranging from:
• Venue liaison, Negotiating an unexpected major venue overhaul (which actually resulted in improvements!), Our main venue contact left midway through planning process but was very ably taken over by Tanya Abrahams, AV requirements, Piano, Block booking for accommodation
• Deciding on topics to cover, Invite and liaise with speakers and all their requirements, including 7 international speakers and 50 presenters in total, prepare a program which would meet all the speakers preferred times, along with MCs for 11 sessions. Source speaker gifts and acknowledgements
• Source venues and entertainment for social activities, negotiate on inclusions for the before and after party, as well as ghost tour and bridge climb
• Source venue, staffing, program for youth program and crèche program which needed to cater to special needs of a diverse group of kids ranging from 10 months to 16 years to keep them entertained for over 16 hours, including legal requirements, excursions, food, transport
• Prepare a 72 program, feedback sheets, information sheets, AGM materials
• Source donors and sponsors for 4 competition fundraising including volunteers to sell and man the stalls. Source merchandise and prepare systems
• Source and negotiate with vendors
• Apply for FACHSIA grant, prepare application form, administer adjudication and administration
• Process all registrations, reply to questions by phone, email from individuals and institutions, send invoices and keep the conference to budget
• Keep the whole shebang running smoothly over a jam packed weekend with big happy face!!

Phew, it’s no wonder we are all a little bit fatigued!

I would like to thank each and every person involved in the program:

To the committee and other key lynchpins
• Bry – thankyou for your bubbly enthusiasm, for your wonderful MC-ing, for keeping those journos in check and for masterfully liaising with DJ Stanley on the cruise all during circumstances which weren’t always the easiest,
• Elizabeth – La Presidenta, what more needs to be said. Thankyou for your wisdom and your friendship and steadying the ship at all times.
• Kim – the social queen – thanks for liaising with all things social at the conference, for arranging our fun trial run on the cruise and for all you have done throughout five consecutive conferences.Thanks for your work throughout the weekend and for your MC-ing
• Madeleine – our new Vice President who proved herself even before taking on the role by seeing what needed to done regarding a rapid turnaround grant and made it happen BAM! like that Maddy, “welcome” and we value you as a valued member of “our tribe”
• Martin – thankyou for your Maestro performances on piano, for MC-ing the final session and preparing that fabulous entree into our next conference, for being Liz’s rock
• Mike, the Magnificent – thankyou for being the webinar guru and for spending so much time on your vacation helping us. Your wisdom and cheeky grin are something I will always remember from this conference.
• Rachel – the token pigmento in our core conference committee – the stalwart of the youth and crèche programs – your energy and precision to detail are without fault and highly respected amongst all. Thankyou for your friendship and your strength and your dedication,
• Simon, Max, Zoe and Ada – this conference could not have happened without your patience, your tolerance, your love and care. Mummy’s back now
• Tanya – Captain of the competitions – thankyou for your tireless energy and commitment to this and for all the other preparations you did in the lead up to and especially during the conference. Your talk was a real hit.
• Ted – Treasurer extraordinaire and driver of the Skype bus and maybe future direction in maritime management (!!) – Ted’s reliable wisdom and wit, his calm proficiency as our money man could not be done without. Lyn, he is a keeper Thanks too for your MCing skills and for your bootscooting!
• Tim Bellamy – for your wisdom on the committee and for the change table of course!!
• Tim B. Boye – the master of the AV. We were so impressed with your professionalism and your dedication and your skill. Great things will come of you. Thanks for all the things you just leaped in and sorted during the final weeks and also for your inspired presentation in the careers panel.
• Trish – thankyou for completing the National Disability Conferece Initiative grant application which gave us $12 000 to assist dozens of people with albinism and their family to attend the conference. We value your for your skills, your experience and as a dear friend.

To the Volunteers – for all the volunteers in the crèche and the youth program, for those who manned the stalls and who offered incidental assistance on the day, we thankyou.
To all the speakers who came from near and far, thankyou for giving up your free time to present without payment, for preparing some wonderful slides and for caring about the albinism community
And especially to everyone who came and participated in the conference program and we hope gained much that you can return to your community and your usual life with to make your life better and that of people with albinism.

And to anyone else I have forgotten, you know who you are, so go give yourself a huge pat on the back and maybe a chocolate biscuit or two.

Until New Zealand !
Signing off

Shari Parker
Conference Coordinator