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2020 Standards of Excellence Seminar - CANCELLED


It is with great sadness that we announce that the Board of Directors

has decided to cancel the Standards of Excellence Seminar scheduled for October 15-17, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

This was not an easy decision to make, but after careful consideration, the Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of canceling Standards. We believe that this action protects the health and well-being of our membership as well as the financial health and well-being of our organization.
Although some restrictions on gatherings and travel will likely be lifted by October, it is equally likely that many restrictions will still be in place. These restrictions would make holding a conference difficult (if not impossible), and a poorly attended conference could put us in a precarious financial position. By making the decision to cancel the conference early, we reduce the financial impact to the Guild.
The Guild’s annual business meeting, which is normally held in conjunction with Standards, will not take place as an in-person event this year. Details regarding a virtual meeting will be announced soon.
All four presenters scheduled for this year’s conference have agreed to present at the 2021 Standards, which will be held on October 28-30, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
We know that you probably have questions about how and why this decision was made and how it will impact the Guild moving forward. We have attempted to answer some of the questions below. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We thank you for your patience, encouragement and understanding during this time - and we wish you good health and stability in these trying times. Here’s to reconnecting together in person in 2021!
The Board of Directors
Will the Guild have to pay a penalty fee for canceling the event?
The Guild will pay a penalty for cancelling our contract with the hotel. That amount increases as the event date approaches. At present, the cancellation fee will be about $27,000. We expect to be able to negotiate a deal with the hotel that allows us to use a percentage of that fee towards rebooking Atlanta for 2022. Had we waited until September to cancel the event, that fee would have climbed to $55,000. By contrast, the projected cost of holding Standards in 2020 was $51,000.
Wouldn’t we lose less money if we held the conference, even if it was poorly attended?
Probably not.
If Standards was held and was poorly attended, the Guild risks even higher financial losses. Our contract with the hotel stipulates that at least 80% of the rooms in our room block be filled. The Guild would be required to pay for any unused rooms in the room block. In addition, the hotel would have the right to charge additional (unspecified) fees for meeting rooms and A/V services. The hotel contract also stipulates that we spend a minimum of $10,000 on food and beverages. If the full amount is not spent, the Guild would be charged the difference, plus 40%, plus tax. 
In short, without knowing how many people would have attended Standards, we can’t calculate the exact cost of penalty fees, nor could we predict how much income we would have raised through registration. However, we do know that lower attendance rates would have meant less income and thousands of dollars in fees.
With so many unknowns, cancelling the event and beginning negotiations with the hotel early makes the most financial sense for the Guild.
Can the Guild afford this?
Yes. We have adequate funds in reserve to cover the cost of canceling the event and will not need to raise additional funds to cover our losses.
However, we are also bracing for a difficult year. We know many of our members will be feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we expect to see a temporary drop in membership and contributions. Because we rely heavily on membership dues to fund our
operations, we will need to adjust our budget for FY21-22 accordingly.
We welcome your financial support during this time. For information on how to make a donation, visit our website at and click the “Give” button at the top of the screen.
Are there other ways I can give?
Visiting the vendor room at Standards is a unique and delightful experience. Although we can’t shop in person this year, please consider supporting one of the amazing small businesses by shopping online.
You can find a list of past exhibitors and links to their websites at
What will happen to the scholarship fund?
Scholarship funds raised at the 2019 auction will be held in reserve and used to fund scholarships for the 2021 meeting.


What about the annual business meeting that is normally held in conjunction with Standards?
The annual meeting will not take place as an in-person event this year. The Board is exploring how to hold this meeting in a virtual format while complying with our organization’s bylaws. Details will be provided in the coming months.
Will awards be given out this year? How will the awardees be honored?
Each year, the Guild gives out two awards – The Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes service within the field, and the Laura Young Award, which recognizes service to the Guild. Both recipients are given complimentary registration to Standards, and are honored at the banquet on Saturday night.
Both awards will be given out this year. The recipients will be announced in the October newsletter and we will honor the awardees virtually at the annual businesses meeting. We also plan to invite the awardees to the 2021 Standards seminar so that we can honor them in person.
Will the Guild be hosting other virtual events in place of Standards?
Canceling Standards means that we are suddenly faced with many new and urgent tasks – we must continue negotiating with the hotel, figure out how to plan and implement a virtual annual meeting, and rework our budget for the coming years.
We have no plans to hold a virtual event in place of Standards, but we do plan to celebrate past Standards seminars in the October issues of our newsletter, as well as on our website and on social media. Stayed tuned for more details.