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Success Story: CalDental

Cal Dental

By: MPI Northern California Chapter | Sep 30, 2021

We are excited to share a behind the scenes look into the success of September's California Dental Association citywide convention held at Moscone Center South. Attendees had the opportunity to showcase products, services, and technology to thousands of dental professionals in a face-to-face environment.

Below is our interview with 
Debi Irwin, CMP, the Vice President, Meetings & Conventions at California Dental Association.

1.     How was planning for this year’s convention different than previous years, due to the new regulations and COVID protocols that your team had to take into consideration?

There were a lot of differences beginning with the timeline.  We normally have a year to plan for an event but with the uncertainty of this year, we had a much shorter timeline to plan.  Adding to that, there were a number of new protocols we had to take into account: vaccination check-in, testing, security considerations for COVID safety measures, room capacities.  There were also workforce and material availability for a number of vendors which affected our normal plans.  We also had major cost considerations to plan for given that we knew our attendees would be less than normal.

2.     Were you surprised by any of the logistical changes you had to make when planning this year?  Did the restrictions make anything EASIER?

We were monitoring the situation very closely so I wouldn’t say we were surprised, but the timing of the delta variant on our planning did have an effect.  The restrictions made things very clear as to what was needed and it was helpful to have consistency with the City and our safety measures to require vaccination and masks. 

3.     How was the overall attendance and attendee’s experience? Do you think today’s environment of meeting ‘live’ affected your attendance?

Our overall attendance was lower than in a normal year.  We expected the environment to have an effect.  Many exhibiting companies continue to have travel restrictions and some of our attendees just are not able or ready to attend events live. 

4.     Did you offer a virtual component to your convention?  If so, can you elaborate on the logistics and challenges of that component? 

We did offer a virtual component to our meeting to meet the needs of our members and their staff who were not able to attend the in-person meeting.

5.     Do you think the changes you made to this year will continue for CDA’s future conventions and meetings?

We will continue to implement the safety measures in accordance with the state and local health officials but also with the health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors and staff in mind.  We will also continue to offer virtual education offerings into the future.



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MPI Northern California Chapter

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