More than 65,000 people from around the world congregated in San Antonio for the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference Session, held in July at the Alamodome, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and other venues across the city. The 2015 GCS marked the 60th meeting of Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders, delegates and parishioners. While it lasted 10 days, it took years of planning—and lots of teamwork—to pull off the massive event. Rejuvenate talked with Brenda Square, CMP, CTA, director of destination services for the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau—who was an integral part of bringing this piece of business to her city—to get the details from a supplier’s perspective.
By Michelle Martin
How much preparation are we talking, from initial RFP to the conference?
When dealing with a 10-day conference for 65,000 people, it takes years of planning rather than months. I first met Sheri Clemmer, CMP, their meeting planner, at a trade show in 2002, and asked her how San Antonio could host the GCS in the future. We stayed in contact and built a good relationship. San Antonio CVB presented our RFP in 2005, and Sheri notified us in October 2006 that San Antonio and Indianapolis were the two finalists for GCS 2015. I was nervous to be up against Indianapolis, especially when Sheri said we would be presenting to a committee of 384 people at the Seventh-day Adventist headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. But we were well-prepared and gave a strong presentation. We were delighted when San Antonio was selected to host GCS 2015, and Indianapolis in 2020.