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President's Corner

23 Aug 2023 1:05 PM | Christina Chelf (Administrator)

I am still smiling weeks later when I reflect on the 2023 Washington GIS Conference. I have helped plan this conference since 2014 and this one was very special. Following a cancelled 2020 conference, several successful virtual conferences and some logistical challenges, we were nervous about going back to in-person, but we pushed ahead cautiously. Most of the big expensive venues were already taken. We were looking at different date ranges than normal, we had attendee estimates with a margin of +/-100 people. But somehow we pulled off and incredible conference at a new venue with a new cast of volunteers.

Thanks to countless volunteer hours, a dedicated Conference Coordinator and a lot of passion from our community we had almost 300 participants arrive at the University of Washington Tacoma Campus for workshops, presentations, a killer keynote by ESRI’s Ken Field, amazing socials, and a chance to connect again in person. It was magical!

Being the first post-COVID president, and the second president since WAGISA was founded is both an honor and a challenge. I hope the next two years represent a bit of stability after a tumultuous time. I see my term as president as a chance to reflect on what we as an organization do exceptionally well, what we can improve on, and what new ideas we want to explore. More to come on new initiatives of 2024. 

Speaking of new stuff; you are probably reading this in the new SUMMIT SCOOP! The Summit Scoop is our new blog that is replacing the pdf newsletter that we used to send out. While a delight to read, it involved countless volunteer hours every month, we hope this is more sustainable and timely.  We are aiming to make this site something that you subscribe to for updates on jobs, conferences, other events, and resources. 

Lastly, mentorship has been a huge theme in my career. Lots of dedicated GIS professionals have helped me get to where I am today (you know who you are). Because of that I hope to pay it forward to other young professionals. My door is always open to meet up for a cup of coffee, career talk, and finding ways to help you get more involved in this organization. Email me anytime at  

Christina Chelf

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