I’ve been attending my first full virtual conference this week. It is being held by the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA), and is providing two days of information from regulators, carriers, employers and more. The first sessions concluded yesterday with a regulator panel representing about 20 states and an employer panel with representatives from Delta Airlines, BMW, Chik-Fil-A, Georgia Power and Wellstar. Tim East, Director of Risk Management for the Walt Disney Company, also participated in his role representing the California Self-Insurers Security Fund. It was a powerhouse day of discussion.

Attending this particular conference was a bit tense for me, if only because my company is hosting it for SAWCA. It is one thing to sit idly by and watch someone else’s operation go off the rails, but quite another when you are ultimately responsible should any derailment occur. Fortunately, with the exception of a small glitch during the opening minutes, the day went very well. We will hope for a repeat of that with today’s closing sessions.

There are a few differences to note when attending a conference like this. Most notably, there is no one around to buy me drinks when the day is done. Also, there is no exhibitor hall where I can get my fill of corporate tchotchke. But SAWCA did one thing that I consider brilliant in this new age of COVID affected conferences. They sent a “Conference Care Package” to all registered attendees. It contained items provided by sponsors; coffee mugs, insulated food bags, snacks, and more. In a nod to the current times, it even included hand sanitizer and face masks. It also contained a single red raffle ticket, so that SAWCA could continue their long-held tradition of prize drawings during their conferences. It of course also came with a box of grits. You simply can’t have a SAWCA event without grits.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the killer flashlight stylus pen that was in the box. The fact that it was provided by WorkersCompensation.com does not have any bearing on why I would mention that particular item.

The care package was simply a stroke of genius, as it tied the virtual reality of the event to the physical tradition of the organization and its past productions. Kudos to Gary Davis and his team for thinking outside the box on that. It provided an appreciated human touch in what can be a fairly sterile cybernetic world. 

Now, if they had just sent me bacon……

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