In 2021, the IASA Xchange conference, scheduled to take place in person in New Orleans, faced both a COVID-19 surge and Hurricane Ida, resulting in a move to an all-digital event. (Courtesy IASA)
The last time Convene checked in with Kerry Crockett, MBA, CAE, CMP Fellow, DES, the CEO of the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association (IASA), she was in the midst of finalizing plans for her annual event in a rapidly shifting environment. It was August 2021 and Crockett and her team were just weeks away from the kickoff of their annual conference, IASA XchangeTM in New Orleans, when they decided to switch to a vaccination-only policy due to a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. Some of the hundreds of in-person registrants started canceling as a result, but then the requirement became more than an association policy — the mayor of New Orleans announced a new citywide mandate requiring proof of vaccination or proof of a negative PCR test at all public spaces.
When Convene spoke with Crockett last summer, COVID was the only ever-evolving external factor she was closely monitoring. Then, just a short time after our interview and just days before the event, Crockett found herself up against a more formidable challenge — category-four Hurricane Ida.
We recently checked back in with Crockett to see how she handled a major weather event that ended up superseding the COVID crisis and what she learned in the process.
“We arrived on Thursday, made the call to cancel Friday morning, and we were on a plane home by Friday afternoon,” Crockett recalled. She “spent the time at the airport and during the flight, as well as all day until midnight Saturday working to convert most of the in-person sessions to virtual.” The efforts paid off. The virtual meeting — a version of which had been planned all along to complement the in-person event — went off without a hitch.
Crockett is no stranger to quick decisions and big leaps of faith. She worked for years as an occupational therapist, until a one-off stint working registration at the United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology’s (USCAP) conference changed her career path. She said she fell in love with the industry, and a year later, she stepped into the executive director role, planning meetings for its 10,000-plus members. “Throughout my life and throughout my career, that’s really what my mentality has been — you have to take that chance and you have to go for it, or you’re going to miss out on a lot of great opportunities,” she said. “And had I said no to this, I would’ve missed out on an entire career.”
Crockett shared with Convene how she navigates uncertainty as the leader of an association that represents a sector of the risk-management profession.