Happy New Year! To start off 2019, I traveled to Louisville, Ky, to participate in the annual meeting of USITT’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. I’d like to thank Tony Harden and the rest of the Committee for welcoming me to the meeting and for their commitment to and passion for this important work. USITT is committed to diversifying our membership and helping to increase the opportunities for underrepresented communities in our industry. Our work in the field of entertainment is only enriched by a multitude of voices, viewpoints, and experiences.

As I waited to board my flight to Louisville last week, I decided to check out the city using one of my favorite sources, Atlas Obscura. Atlas Obscura is a collection of oddities that one would not typically find in travel brochures, and Louisville has a curious collection of listings. For example, buried in Louisville is Harry L. Collins, the official “Corporate Magician” of Frito-Lay.  Yes, “Corporate Magician.” I pondered on this for a while. What kind of magic are we talking about? Was he able to magically increase sales? Or “cool ranch” Doritos? What magic did he offer? And does USITT need a good magician?

I know that there is already magic in USITT. It draws all of us together at the Conference every year. It is the prospect of sharing with old friends and meeting new ones. The comradery of knowing that we come from all areas of the globe for a common goal of seeing our accomplishments validated. It is found in the mentoring of young people by seasoned professionals and opening new doors for those with limited access. It’s discovering what is new and cutting edge on the Expo Floor and honoring the legends that have inspired our own careers.

USITT’s magicians are its hundreds of volunteers, many of whom have been planning for more than a year already; thousands of hours of work to ensure the success of USITT’s annual event. The Conference could not happen without our Conference Committee volunteers who plan, organize, and execute the entire week; volunteer panelists who come from near and far to share their knowledge; and expertise and student volunteers who provide on-the-ground support and back-up.

The magic runs this year March 20-23 in Louisville, Ky, at the new Kentucky International Convention Center. Registration is still open!

Come join us and make the magic happen.