Following up to Andy’s series about growing the pool of speakers, I thought I would detail an idea we’ve been kicking around for this years summit.

First some history

In 2009 PASS accepted 585 community abstracts submitted for a total of 113 community sessions slots that were available (including 10 pre/post conference sessions) of those 80 were regular sessions, and 23 were spotlight sessions.  We had 30 speakers give 2 sessions including the 10 pre/post conference sessions.  We normally ask that speakers accepted for a pre/post conference session also present a spotlight session, so that every attendee of the conference gets access to these high caliber speakers.  This left us with 20 regular speakers presenting 2 sessions in 2009.

The big idea

In order to give more speakers a chance to present at the annual summit, were proposing limiting all community speakers to 1 primary session per summit.  There would obviously have to be exceptions for panel sessions and co presenters since we wouldn’t want to discourage those types of sessions.  The benefits as I see them are that we’d open up 20 more slots, give or take from year to year, to new speakers thus allowing others in the community an opportunity to present.  The downsides (or risks) as I see them:  We stand to potentially loose coverage if we receive no abstracts on a particular subject that would be a currently chosen speakers second session.  Cost, that is 20 extra comped admissions to the summit.  Pass would need to decide if the value of these extra comped admissions are worth the expense.  What I mean to say is if we spend money on those extra comps, that money couldn’t be used on some other priority. 

I’d also like to mention that in my years on the program committee, no discussion of comps has ever occurred while deciding to choose one speaker over another.  This however is different since it would be a policy.

So, what say you? keep the current limit of 2 per speaker, restrict it to one, make the limit 15?