Published on June 25, 2019

We’re less than two weeks away from the 9th #PSEWEB conference! We’re excited to welcome a great mix of new and familiar voices this July.

Looking for a preview of our July 8-9 conference? Interested in the behind-the-scenes work of running a conference? To get those answers, the #PSEWEB blog team had a chat with #PSEWEB executive director, Courtney Raybould.

Courtney Raybould photo
Courtney Raybould, #PSEWEB Executive Director.

2019 #PSEWEB features

PSEWEB: We are officially less than two weeks away from the 9th #PSEWEB conference. What are you excited for #PSEWEBers to experience this year?

Courtney: I’m so excited for the #PSEWEB national to make its way to Saskatoon! The University of Saskatchewan has already held two successful regional conferences there, which is a big reason why we chose Saskatoon as our 2019 host. Additionally, the conference has never been held in the Prairies, yet so we’re getting one step closer to having held #PSEWEB truly nation-wide.
As with every #PSEWEB, I’m most excited for higher ed digital comms pros to come together from across Canada to meet and learn from each other. Whether you’re in a big shop, a small group, or a solo practitioner, I think folks will find a lot of commonalities and inspiration from each other. That’s what makes #PSEWEB so special.

I’ve also heard a TONNE about how beautiful and sunny prairie summers can be, so this waterlogged Torontonian is more than a little amped for some sunshine and warm temperatures.

PSEWEB: Jack Saddleback and Dr. Josie Ahlquist are this year’s keynote speakers. When deciding on the keynote speakers, was there any connecting theme or topic that you wanted to stand out at this year’s #PSEWEB?

Courtney: We definitely wanted to amplify some local indigenous voices, so when Rob Blizzard suggested Jack as our opening keynote, we jumped at the chance. His story is an important one to tell, and I think that it’ll give us an important framing for the way we approach thinking about content at the conference and beyond.

Landing Josie as our closing keynote is a really exciting win for #PSEWEB. As a researcher, thought leader, and a leading voice in PSE digital leadership we’re very much looking forward to learning more from her.

#PSEWEB 2019 's keynote speakers.
Jack Saddleback and Dr. Josie Ahlquis, #PSEWEB 2019 keynote speakers.

Behind-the-scenes work

PSEWEB: As executive director, what are some of the highlights about planning this national gathering for higher education communicators? What lessons have you learned?

Courtney: I’m so, so impressed with the dedication of our planning team who have made this conference happen. From making sure that our logistical details are seamlessly planned, to coordinating the Call for Speakers, confirming our 20+ breakout sessions and building our conference program, and ensuring our conference communications and social posts go out on time – the folks on our 2019 planning team are, without a doubt, five people that you must give a high-five to in Saskatoon.

I’m also particularly excited to hear from the diverse new voices representing topics and institutions that are new to the #PSEWEB national conference in the speaker lineup; from sharing indigenous student stories to institutional leadership on social media and beyond. We’ve also seen a fabulous institutional diversity in our 2019 delegate population, with many first-time #PSEWEB’ers from colleges and universities that haven’t previously attended. I’m already formulating some ideas for how we can continue with this trend for upcoming conferences. (Want to get involved? Drop me a line!)

#PSEWEB goes to Saskatchewan

PSEWEB: For the first time, #PSEWEB will be hosted in Saskatchewan. What’s one spot on your to-visit link? (Granted you find any time to sight-see.)

Courtney: In case you haven’t seen it yet, Rob Blizzard has put together an insiders’ list of things to eat and do in Saskatoon that you should definitely check out. The restaurants he’s listed all look incredibly good (serious heart eyes for Hearth and Primal), and I’m going to try for a post-conference walk down 20th street in Riversdale or through the Meewasin Valley and get some ice cream. Also, I’m 100% going to track down a bakery that will sell me something with Saskatoon berries in it.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Image courtesy of Saskatoon Tourism. Image courtesy of Saskatoon Tourism