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Countdown to ICANN 52: Practice Makes Perfect for the ICANN Meetings, Meeting Technical Services and Language Services Teams

7 February 2015

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Planning an ICANN Meeting is not for the faint of heart. It's a six-day, 300-plus session marathon with thousands of in-person and remote participants. These events require a small army of technical and logistical experts. After over 52 meetings, ICANN's Meetings, Meetings Technical Services and Languages Services teams are a well-oiled machine of efficiency and experience.

Having three meetings a year does allow these groups to replicate and apply lessons learned from each new venue but as Meetings Technical Services Specialist Josh Baulch says there are unique challenges with each location. "The challenges are working with the infrastructure that we have there and getting it to be compatible with our equipment," says Baulch. Cory Schruth, who leads the 21-person Meetings Technical Services team, enjoys the challenge each new meeting brings.

Nancy Lupiano, Director, Meetings, who has produced over 20 ICANN meetings, believes the key to the execution and operation is the collaboration among the supporting groups of Meetings, Language Services and Meetings Technical Services. "We pull things together to make a meeting such as this run smoothly with as little hiccups as possible. These teams are the ones who are up at 5:00am in the morning, before the meetings start, sometimes earlier, and the ones that are last to leave, ensuring the meetings go effortlessly for us all," says Lupiano.

Tanzanica King, Senior Manager Meetings Strategy and Design, has the enormous responsibility of pulling together the massive 300+ session schedule. "It's one large Rubik's Cube. Every time you make one change, it impacts every other piece. And my job is to find the combination of sessions that fits together."

Christina Rodriguez, Director, Language Services, is responsible for providing interpretation for between 70-90 sessions per meeting as well as scribing services and transcriptions. She works closely with both Lupiano's and Schruth's teams. "We have a team of 40 interpreters who travel from all over the world to work with us on every ICANN meeting. Multilingualism brings communities closer together, and ICANN wants to actively promote the freedom of its community members to speak and write in their own language. As part of this group, Meetings Team and Meetings Technical Services, I can assure you we could not complete this enormous task if we didn't work together as a big homogeneous team."

ICANN 52 comes at an interesting time in the Meetings Team's history. Nick Tomasso, VP, ICANN Meetings Operations and Tanzanica King will launch the new Meetings Strategy created by the Meeting Strategy Working Group.  This new strategy was approved by the ICANN Board in November 2014 and will be fully implemented in 2016.

Learn more about the new Meetings Strategy by visiting: https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2014-11-17-en

ICANN Meetings By the Numbers (data from ICANN 50)

4 miles of cable
7000 feet of extension cords
8,500lbs of equipment
1.5 miles of gaffer tape
240 microphones
100 computers
4766 remote users
3115 participants checked-in
4.20TB of bandwidth received