As many of you read about last week, Anna and I are thrilled to have gained the rights to keep VO Atlanta going through a sale agreement with the previous owner and conference founder Gerald Griffith. Most of you have read the articles that were published by various media sources about the acquisition, but I wanted to use this space to give you a more personal look at the reasons for the acquisition, and what comes next for the conference.
I’ve been speaking at VO Atlanta almost since the beginning, and Anna has joined me there for the last several live conferences. In some ways, it’s become a bit of a VO home for us, where we get to see our friends and colleagues, meet new ones, and it is also where we’ve watched the JMC Demos team form and come together into a cohesive unit. It’s where we met A.J. McKay, Jenn Henry, and numerous other people that our various businesses would not be as strong without…..in addition to becoming some of our dearest friends.
We’ve also watched VO Atlanta serve as a launchpad for more careers than we can count. People who are fresh off the bus one year, and expert speakers with thriving careers three or four years later. That kind of magic is something we couldn’t let disappear, so when Gerald made it clear he was stepping aside, we knew we had to find a way to step in.
As you’ve heard, I’m actually taking a secondary role in all of this. My job will be coordinating the presenter lineup, X-sessions, and making sure that the content is of the quality you have come to expect from this signature industry event, and then some. Anna, however, will be quarterbacking the event experience in her role as CEO. Indeed, her new LLC, Anna Collins Events, of which she is also CEO, is now the entity that owns VO Atlanta. I’m proud to see the strong woman that I’ve known and loved for so many years take the lead in this venture.
For those of you who have come to our EURO VO Retreats, or attended the One Voice Conference USA in Dallas in 2021, you have seen firsthand the attention to detail and quality that an Anna Collins-managed event offers. Going forward, we expect to bring the same level of personal touch and care to VO Atlanta. While we probably can’t have lobster night and serve Dom Perignon like at the retreats, we CAN make sure that the attendee experience is foremost in everything we do. That means things like free coffee and water stations, without long lines. And it means finding ways to make the experience more affordable without compromising on quality…..indeed while always looking to raise the bar.
Anna has already been engaging with hotel leadership to make clear that we’ll be expecting service improvements for future conferences. More staff, a return of room service, more frequent housekeeping, and faster service at restaurants. We expect our guests to be looked after. And this is just the start.
I do want to address the question of our relationships with other industry events because I think this is really important. Just like in the voiceover business, and the demo production business, we approach the conference business from a perspective of abundance. It is our sincere belief that there are plenty of ticket sales to go around, and that voice actors should attend a variety of events throughout the year, not just those we are involved in. VO Atlanta is our new baby, but we are excited to continue to partner with our colleagues in England to co-produce the One Voice Conference USA in Dallas. We’re also big supporters and sponsors of the other top events in our industry like That’s Voiceover and the Voice Arts Awards, VOcation, MAVO, Voxy Summit, VO North, WoVO’s mini cons, and more. Find the ones that are right for you in terms of proximity and content, and do as many as you can. They will all enrich your career in one way or another.
The voiceover industry is a community. It’s a wellspring of kindness and quality humans doing amazing things. With the continuation of VO Atlanta, our goal is to provide one of many wonderful homes for the people who make this industry such a special place. With your help, we’ll achieve that goal and more!