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How NCDD Conferences Take Shape

This page outlines the planning process for our National Conferences on Dialogue & Deliberation.

NCDD conference content and design are driven by our members’ interests and passions, which is why our conferences look different each year and we’re always trying new things!

Workgroup at Sydney R&P meetingOur conferences are always unique experiments in collaborative planning, and we have managed dynamic planning teams of at least 50 people for each of our five national conferences. One year we had 90 people on the planning team!

Our planning teams are structured so that a core group of people play key roles (see the list below), while the overall planning process remains flexible and nimble to encourage creativity and allow for new ideas to emerge.

Potential planning team members are asked to complete a short survey so we can find out what you’re interested in contributing and learn about your particular skills and knowledge. You may be asked to serve on a longer-term team, like the DC Area Team, numerous shorter term working groups (i.e. to evaluate workshop proposals or help reach out to a particular audience), play key roles at the conference itself, or some combination of these.

Planning team members are encouraged to find their own niche in the process, and form new working groups if you have ideas or priorities you’d like to pursue.

Planning team for the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation

Conference Director: Sandy Heierbacher (galvanizes involvement and support from community, secures sponsorships and funding, manages budget, provides overall direction, ensures continuity, supports Core Team, leads outreach efforts, etc.)

Conference Manager: Courtney Breese (facilitates core team calls, manages new volunteers, checks in with team leaders, manages the workshop selection process, serves as go-to person at the conference for design issues)

Core Team: Sandy, Courtney, and facilitators of key teams (responsible for overall theme and direction of the conference and for ensuring that all teams remain in communication and collaborate when appropriate)

Design Team: leader TBD (responsible for designing the plenary sessions and ensuring they flow from one to the next meaningfully; deciding which workshops are selected; coordinating a dynamic arts component; and coordinating networking opportunities)

DC Area Team: Marla Crockett, team leader (responsible for ensuring that D&D programs and innovations in the DC area are highlighted meaningfully at the conference; determining how the region might benefit from the event; overseeing local PR and outreach efforts; assisting with local logistics)

Logistics Team: led by Polly Riddims (responsible for venue logistics, exhibits, book sales, workshop scheduling, registration and help desk, conference decor, coordinating evening activities and options, creating a list of local restaurants and map to show people where they are, etc.)

The overall 2014 conference “Planning Team” consists of everyone serving in any of the above teams or positions, and numerous others who have volunteered. Not everyone will serve in one of the above sub-teams. Shorter term teams will form throughout the planning process as needed to perform tasks related to outreach, logistics, networking activities, trips, the arts, tech needs, and more.

What happens when I join the Planning Team?

All members of the planning team for the 2014 conference will be subscribed to a main listserv for the whole team.

You may be asked to serve on one of the sub-teams listed above depending on what you expressed an interest in doing. Your team’s facilitator will use email and other technology including conference calls and collaborative documents to explore issues, generate ideas, explore options, assign and review tasks, and make decisions. You may be asked to try some new technology you’re not used to (this year it’s Hackpad and Springpad!), but that’s all part of the fun.


Interested in contributing your knowledge, time and talents to help ensure that NCDD’s 2014 conference in the DC area is our best event yet? We’d love to have you on the Planning Team! Please complete the questionnaire for volunteers at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2014/interest-form today.

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