Wednesday Roundtable: Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned from Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week & Other Virtual Events to Continue Engaging Broad National & International Audiences with Future Virtual & Hybrid Conferences.

Convened by Catherine A. Rylatt, MPA, Grain Handling Safety Council (GHSC),


  • Ellen Duysen, MPH, COCH – Community Outreach Specialist, Central States Center for Agricultural Safety & Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center ;
  • Ann Grevencamp – Alliance Coordinator, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) national office;
  • Barb Grove, International President, Grain Elevator & Processing Society, GEAPS;
  • Salah Issa, PhD – Assistant Professor, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, University of Illinois


  • Ellen Duysen has planned/hosted/moderated several virtual events including the UNMC Agricultural Health & Safety Course for Medical & Safety Professionals, ISASH Annual Conference, Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week and more. She will talk about the role of CS-CASH in hosting the 1st virtual kick-off event for Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week 2021 and the format used to engage an audience of over 2500 participants. Ellen will share insights and lessons learned from her experience with virtual conferences in engaging and reaching large audiences.
  • Ann Grevencamp offers a big picture view of the impact virtual events have in providing opportunities to engage more with the government outreach and assistance programs. Not only can these programs participate more in conferences through virtual formats, but their engagement can assist with promoting events, special campaigns (such as a suicide prevention campaign), messaging campaigns, etc.
  • Barb Grove will describe how GEAPS changed their annual international expo formats in 2020 & 2021 and the effect on participation. As a key player of the Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week planning team, she will summarize the difference of purpose between the two events and how Stand Up created a format to encourage “boots on the ground worker” participation.
  • Dr. Salah Issa began his role as Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois in Jan 2020 and grant administrator for an OSHA Harwood grant in May 2020. Not only has Dr. Issa led the conversion of in-person safety training to a virtual environment, he has served as a presenter, moderator, organizer, and/or technical coordinator for Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, ISASH, AAAS, and other conferences. Salah will share his perspectives on how these platforms can help engage and support a diverse audience, and transform the learning experience.
  • Catherine Rylatt will provide an overview on how GHSC became involved in the national Alliance and Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week. She will present a summary of Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, including statistics on attendance & outreach. Catherine will provide insights from the Stand Up planning process, promotion efforts, successes, and future planning issues to consider and how other conference experiences contributed to the decision making.

Learning objective:
Participants will be able to apply lessons learned from collective sharing of experiences when planning virtual events to increase diverse audience engagement.

Discuss this presentation with the authors on Thursday, November 19 from noon – 12:30 on the Zoom Live-stream.


The past two years (2020 & 2021) forced many of us to scramble and change our “tried and true” conference formats. We have learned, grown, and stretched our creativity. Like any conference we have experienced exhilarating successes, and some “not so great” moments. In many instances we were able to engage a larger, broader audience from across the US and the world. As we “return to normal” how do we retain those new audiences in our conferences? What are the lessons we can take away from our collective experiences to help each other continue to be successful? Though we debrief internally, this round table presents an opportunity to ‘by-pass evaluation bias’ and share with each other in-depth the nuts & bolts of virtual conferences – what caused headaches and cringeworthy moments you never want anyone to experience; what you thought was really creative; and what you didn’t like – from our perspectives as planners, presenters, moderators, participants, tech support and other support personnel. As we move forward, we need to continue to develop our skills in offering hybrid and virtual events to engage and expand our audiences. Collective information sharing can help us avoid pitfalls, broaden our repertoire of tools, and enhance our understanding of the virtual environment from different perspectives.

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