Just back from the AHEAD conference in Orlando, Florida. My most immediate emotions are of being inspired, moved and motivated to do more and more to enable access, to support the raising of aspiration and to work with an amazing group of professionals. What a challenge the organisers had to provide platforms to so many new initiatives – over 1,200 attendees, all seeking to make a difference!
Sue Sanossian, our Company Secretary, and I were on the Ai-Media stand listening to the challenges faced in meeting the ever-growing need to provide access to a widening range of people in colleges and universities throughout the States. We were positioned opposite the poster presentations and were able to see the creativity and innovation happening in HE institutions all across the US, and to re-establish relationships made in previous visits and make new ones. It was great to see you all.
Leaving the stand to listen to presentations was something we had to organise, but we were never disappointed – innovation, equality and access all demonstrated by articulate presenters, passionate about their work.
Our Facebook Live captioned broadcasts, being shown on our screen, drew a lot of attention from attendees interested in Ai-Media’s range of captioning services. We are delighted to be having continuing conversations with the Disability Services we met at the conference and are in awe of the challenges you all face.
The final night’s awards gala, which recognised both contributions to the development and growth of AHEAD and individuals who had made outstanding contributions to the world of access, was moving in itself. Dedicating the evening to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre added a poignant element that brought us all to tears. Sue and I painted our stones along with many others.
This was our first AHEAD conference, but it won’t be our last. Re-energising ourselves to work alongside such dedicated professionals was a privilege and, as a sponsor, something for which we thank the organisers. Congratulations, AHEAD. It was amazing!
Ai-Media Executive Director UK