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SIOP Houston 2013: A Welcome From Your Conference Chair

April 11-13 (preconference activities on April 10)
Robin Cohen
Bank of America

SIOP’s 28th annual conference is almost here. You won’t want to miss this premier event where we will celebrate the ways in which we have and are extending our influence as I-O psychologists (Doug Reynolds’ presidential year theme). In addition, throughout the conference we will challenge our members to think about how we can continue to expand and enhance our influence beyond our organizations and our profession. And don’t forget about all of those opportunities to connect, network, and learn!

Our Houston conference is destined to be one of the best yet, thanks to the incredible dedication of hundreds of volunteers and our stellar Administrative Office staff, headed up by none other than our fabulous Executive Director Dave Nershi. Are you ready to start planning for Houston? Here’s a little roadmap of what you need to know…

Immediately (as in, Right Now. Really!)

If you have not yet done so, make your hotel reservations. The Hilton Americas is the largest convention hotel in Houston. It is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Houston and is steps away from Discovery Green Park, Toyota Center, and Houston Pavilions premier dining and entertainment center. It is only a few blocks away from Minute Maid Park, Dynamo Stadium, and only minutes from the theater district, which includes Jones Hall, The Wortham, and Hobby Center. What more could you ask for? Staying at the conference hotel provides you with the utmost convenience for all of our conference events. You can book online using the convenient link on the SIOP website conference hotel information page, or you can call the hotel directly at 1-713-739-8000 (and mention that you are coming for the SIOP conference). As you’ll see below, we have many great preconference events planned for Wednesday, and we have a full day of programming on Saturday capped off with a not-to-be-missed closing plenary and party on Saturday evening. So, book your trip accordingly!

If you have not yet done so, register for the conference and preconference activities.  To get the best conference registration rate and to receive your program book in the mail (great airplane reading!), you will need to register by February 18. The registration process is entirely online.  And, as the workshops, preconference events, and Friday Seminars are all first come, first served, you’ll want to get on this right away!  If you do register after February 18, you can pick up a copy of the program book at the conference registration desk while supplies last.  Or, for quicker access to information, use the online program and conference scheduler to make your own personalized schedule.

Preconference (Wednesday, April 10)

Preconference tours.  The local arrangements team, headed by Irene Sasaki, has put together a few preconference tour options for SIOP members.  The first is a 90-minute boat tour of the Port of Houston Ship Channel, a 25-mile-long complex of diverse public and private facilities. Participants will enjoy passing views of international cargo vessels and port operations. The second tour will appeal to beer lovers who will not only tour the Saint Arnold Brewing Company facilities but also have the opportunity to taste their beers. Participants will receive a souvenir glass to remember their festive afternoon in Houston!

If you can’t make the tours, there is still plenty to do in the Houston area before, during, and after the conference, and the local arrangements team will make sure you are well prepared with a summary of ideas that you will receive in your conference bag.

Workshops. Mark your calendars! The Workshop Committee, headed by Liberty Munson, has prepared 12 outstanding workshops for the 2013 conference. These professional development opportunities include a diverse selection of innovative topics designed to meet the many different needs of our SIOP members. Check out Liberty’s article in this issue of TIP for an overview of the extraordinary panel of nationally and internationally recognized experts from both inside and outside of I-O who will be leading this year’s workshops. Be sure to register early to ensure your first choices. Never been to a workshop before? Maybe this is the year to start!

For the first time, we are offering an opportunity to register for one workshop (either morning or afternoon) at a reduced cost of $300 for members and $485 for nonmembers. Because workshop attendees find the networking opportunities available during workshops to be one of the most valuable aspects of attending, the registration fee will include lunch as well as the fabulous workshop reception. For those of you who find it difficult to attend a full day of workshops, this option should give you more flexibility to attend, learn, and network!

Placement. The Placement Center continues to be a one-of-a-kind resource to connect employers with job-seeking I-O psychologists. Employers and job seekers get access to a networking database, helping employers and job seekers make matches before, during, and after the conference. Employers can meet with job seekers in our center or use the center to arrange an off-site interview. Applicants can send out targeted resumés and inquiries to specific hiring managers.  New this year, reserved specifically for registrants, are complimentary mock interviews to help prospective applicants brush up on their interview skills in a low-stakes setting. The center is equipped with IT resources that are specifically used for Placement Center registrants. Adam Hilliard and Matt O’Connell manage this year’s placement activities, with registration and preconference matching opening prior to the conference and on-site services provided from April 11 through 13.

Student volunteers. Student volunteers are needed to help the conference run smoothly. Volunteers assist in a variety of ways such as helping with registration, assembling materials and signs, and serving as direction and information providers. Interested students should indicate their wish to volunteer when they register for the conference. Any questions should be directed to Tori Culbertson (satoris@ksu.edu), Volunteer Coordinator, who will be in touch with volunteer assignments as the conference approaches.

The 28th Annual Lee Hakel Doctoral Consortium. The Lee Hakel Doctoral Consortium is designed for upper-level graduate students in I-O psychology and OB/HRM nearing completion of their doctorates: third-year students or above who have completed most or all coursework and are working on their dissertations. The consortium will feature an impressive lineup of speakers, both academics and practitioners, chosen for their outstanding contributions to the field and unique perspectives on the opportunities and challenges faced by I-O psychologists at different stages of their careers. Nomination forms will be sent via e-mail in January to each program’s director. Enrollment is limited to one student per program, up to a maximum of 40 participants. For further information on the 2013 consortium, please contact Tracey Rizzuto (trizzut@lsu.edu).

The 7th Annual SIOP Master’s Student Consortium.  The SIOP Master’s Student Consortium will be making its seventh appearance this year. The consortium is designed for students enrolled in master’s programs in I-O psychology and OB/HRM. The program will include a lineup of speakers who graduated from master’s programs and have excelled as managers and consultants. Each master’s program may nominate two students per program to attend the consortium. Students will attend two workshops and a Q&A roundtable. Nomination forms were sent in November to each university’s program chair. If you have questions about the consortium, or would like to nominate a speaker, please contact Alison Cooper (acooper@ti.com).

The 8th Annual SIOP Junior Faculty Consortium. The Eighth Annual Junior Faculty Consortium (JFC) is designed to assist the untenured faculty members of SIOP to develop and hone the skills needed to meet their career objectives. It has also served as a “realistic job preview” for participants considering entering academics. Again this year the JFC will provide insights from journal editors and academics who have recently achieved tenure, as well as hosting concurrent sessions on research funding and teaching. As always, the JFC will include an impressive lineup of speakers in these areas. New this year are multiple networking sessions where JFC participants will have the opportunity to meet and make connections with other JFC attendees and speakers. The JFC changes from year to year, and as a result past participants have found value in attending multiple SIOP JFCs. Whether you would be a first-time JFC participant or one of our JFC regulars, please join us for an informative, supportive, and enlightening event. Sign up early because seating is limited. For more information, please contact Liz Boyd (drlizboyd@gmail.com).

SIOP Conference Ambassador Program. In an effort to welcome first-time attendees to the SIOP annual conference, we are looking for participants for the Conference Ambassador program. This program will allow new professional SIOP conference attendees (“Newcomers”) to select seasoned SIOP conference attendees (“Ambassadors”). The goal is to help the newcomer network with fellow professionals and provide a better overall conference experience for all.

Participation as an Ambassador involves only minimal effort, including:

  • Connect with the Newcomer at least once before the annual conference via e-mail or phone.
  • Meet with the Newcomer at least once on-site at the conference (coffee, a drink, whatever you prefer)
  • Help the Newcomer network at the conference by introducing him or her to some of your colleagues.

It is as simple as that! You can sign up to be an Ambassador (SIOP Member, Associate Member, or International Affiliate and 2 or more years attending SIOP conferences) or a Newcomer (first time attending the conference) through the general conference registration process.

New member/new attendee/ambassador reception. Program Chair Eden King and Membership Chair Mo Wang invite all new SIOP members, first-time conference attendees, and Ambassador–Newcomer pairs to attend this reception, with a short presentation entitled “How to Get the Most From the SIOP Conference.” This session is held at 5:00. It will start with a short introduction to the conference with many helpful tips and pointers and will be followed with some great networking and mingling opportunities (accompanied by some appetizers and cocktails!). This is an excellent way to meet some other new people at the start of your SIOP conference adventure as well as to meet some seasoned SIOP leaders who will be there to welcome you.

All-conference welcome reception. Be sure to kick off the eve of your 2013 conference right at the all-conference welcome reception. Reunite with your conference pals and make some new ones.

The Main Event: Conference Programming (April 11–13)

Opening plenary. The conference officially begins with the all-conference opening plenary session on Thursday morning. After a brief welcome message from your Conference chair (that’s me), the announcement of award winners (Awards Chair Leaetta Hough) and the new Fellows (Fellows Chair Jerry Hedge), SIOP’s President-Elect Tammy Allen will introduce our SIOP President Doug Reynolds. Doug’s presidential address is sure to inspire us as we kick-off our 28th conference. The incredible main program. Of course, much of what makes the conference great is our main program, comprised of symposia/forums, roundtable/conversation hours, panel discussions, posters, debates, and master tutorials submitted by our members and others in our field. We had over 1,400 submissions this year and are very excited about the program. In addition to the vast number of peer-reviewed sessions, our Program Chair Eden King and her many subcommittees have put together an amazing array of special sessions. Please check out Eden’s article in this issue of TIP for the full scoop. A few of the key highlights include:

  • Thursday Theme Track: Bringing I-O Innovations to Life: Making Our Work Stick
  • Special invited speakers and panels
  • Four Friday Seminars, three of which offer CE credit (check out Laurent Lapierre’s TIP article for details)
  • 12 Community of Interest (COI) sessions

Fun run. Join race director Paul Sackett and local coordinator Mikki Hebl early on Saturday, April 13th, for the Frank Landy 5K Fun Run. The course will be a circuit of the Rice University campus, which is a 10–15 minute trip by light rail from the conference hotel. Participants will meet in the lobby of the hotel at 6:15, and will travel as a group to Rice for a 7:00am start. The race fee is $25, which includes a t-shirt. You can register online as you register for the conference. You can also register at the conference, but it would help greatly with race planning (and t-shirt ordering) if you registered in advance.

Networking and social events. As always, the program has been designed to afford multiple networking/socializing opportunities for all conference attendees. Please take advantage of them! These include sponsored coffee breaks and general receptions. There will also be a wi-fi lounge, multiple sitting areas, and plenty of space for meeting up with friends and colleagues. In addition, some special activities to promote networking are being planned.

Closing plenary. It is a great honor and privilege to announce that this year’s keynote speaker will be Reverend TJ Martinez, Founding President, Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep of Houston. You may be saying to yourself “I have never heard of Father TJ Martinez.” Well, I hadn’t either but I can assure you that his keynote will be motivating and inspiring and will reinforce how important it is to extend our influence. A little bit about Father Martinez:  Father Martinez entered the Jesuit seminary after receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors from Boston College. During his training for the priesthood he earned five graduate degrees including a law degree from the University of Texas and a school leadership degree from Harvard University. While at Harvard, Father Martinez was honored with the 2008 Intellectual Contribution & Faculty Tribute Award and was selected to deliver the Harvard Graduate School of Education Commencement address. Immediately after, he returned to Texas to found the newest Jesuit college preparatory school in the country—Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep of Houston—an innovative work–study high school program that targets the poorest children in the city, getting them off the streets and into college in 4 years. In 2012, Paper City named Father Martinez one of four New Influencers in Houston, and in 2013 he will receive the Phi Beta Kappa Outstanding Contribution to Education in Houston Award. Trust me, you are not going to want to miss this closing plenary.

Closing reception. As I put the finishing touches on this article, it is October 28 and Hurricane Sandy is rapidly approaching the Northeast. So as you can imagine, I could not be more thrilled to have the planning of the SIOP conference to distract me from potential floods and power outages. The closing reception theme is still in the works, but like Father Martinez’s closing keynote, this will be an event that you will not want to miss. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this party to end this conference right. I’ll be looking for you on the dance floor….


Conference evaluation. Shortly after you have returned home filled with ideas and memories from your great experience in Houston, expect a postconference survey from our Conference Evaluation Chair Rustin Meyer. Next year’s Conference Committee will use this feedback in their plans for our next amazing conference in Hawaii. Yes, in case you have not yet heard, our 2014 conference is in Honolulu, Hawaii. The dates are May 15–17, 2014, and it is not too early to start planning!

I hope after reading this you are getting as excited as I am for SIOP 2013! I look forward to seeing you there.