Some people know that my wife spoke one year at the conference. What they usually don’t know is that they found my wife because the person in charge knew us from the BYU law school, where the person in charge was an assistant dean. She was kind enough to spend time talking with us about the process, the conference and President Hinckley’s goals. I’ll discuss his most significant goal first.
- One of his significant goals was a desire to have more leadership from women in the Church. President Hinckley saw a significant need for more leadership from the sisters. It was a serious point with him and others, and one he took the time to communicate in person with the woman in charge of the conference.
- The conference arrangements and structure were put together by consensus. Rather than a hierarchical structure (where I could put together a conference in an afternoon, heck, I’ve done it, conferences take a couple of hours, a successful year long speakers series took me about fifteen minutes), it was more like a facilitation initiative. It was an incredible amount of work at a high level of skill.
- There was a real desire to have diversity to reach out to people in all circumstances and all of life’s paths. Having a female law professor as the coordinator was intentional, not accidental, as were many participants, intended to be role models for many paths through life that fulfill the measure of our individual creations.
- The amount of ego was extremely low. No one remembers Kathy Pullins in connection with years of conferences. Her name isn’t even on the title of the conference collected speeches. The same is true of others. They were serving the participants, not themselves.
If you were doing a conference, what would be your concerns and your goals? How do the conferences of various groups you have attended compare?