Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Something New for Comp Laude 2016!

Comp Laude is coming soon, November 4-5, 2016. And while this post is about that program, it is more specifically about a new portion of the program for 2016. 

The Comp Laude is one of David DePaolo's contributions to the world of American workers' compensation. I had the privilege of knowing David, and of having some very interesting and illuminating conversations with him over the years. Without letting this post devolve into a eulogy, David was a visionary, scholar and a leader in the community we call workers' compensation. And, he was someone with whom you could have serious discussions about this industry and the people in it, and served by it. 


David lamented that attention to this industry, and those who labor in it or are affected by it, is too often negative. The news industry will readily run stories about fraud, mismanagement or scandal. There is a general tendency in news to publicize that which is scandalous or exciting. As Don Henley sang in Dirty Laundry "People love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry." But the news should also celebrate what is right, good, and exceptional.

David thought that there could be a celebration of good news about this industry, and its people. He conceived Comp Laude as a vehicle through which to celebrate this industry, and its many successes. He built a continuing education program into the event and launched it in 2014. It grew in 2015, but has really blossomed for 2016. This year, it is a two day event, in Burbank, California. 

According to the WorkCompCentral website, (all in italics are direct quote):
the Comp Laude™ Awards recognize Integrity, Excellence, and Success in the Workers’ Compensation industry. Each year, nominations are received and WorkCompCentral staff, then judges go through a rigorous verification, then selection process to identify the winners of this coveted award. The Comp Laude™ Awards are given by WorkCompCentral and presented at the annual Comp Laude™ Gala each year in December.
This year, according to the billing, the program includes "two new awards, determined by audience vote." I am familiar with one of these because last winter, David sent me an email. He explained that his vision for Comp Laude had grown, and that he was forming a committee to work on some aspects of the event. I attended a couple of conference calls, and somehow he decided I belonged on the subcommittee for "The People's Choice Award." He provided a brief description, promised more information to come. Like too often happens, he and I both presumed incorrectly that there would be plenty of time later to discuss it further. 

The People's Choice Award for Comp Laude will be an intriguing format. Whoever wins it, their name will not be on a plaque that night. Because, the winner will be chosen that night, at the program, by the audience. You will be the judge. 

Unlike the other Comp Laude awards, described above, the finalists will not be determined by the WorkCompCentral staff. Instead, a truly august group of workers' compensation professionals will receive and review your proposal for a "TED talk" (I won't tell you who they are until after the award). Then, several finalists will be selected from these proposals, and will be invited to Burbank in November to deliver their "TED talk" live to the Comp Laude audience!

What is a "TED talk?" Well, according to their website, "TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged . . .." The concept has expanded into other topics since that time. There are literally thousands of TED talks you can watch, contemplate and consider. But none on workers' compensation, yet!

The idea is intriguing. In the 1980s, these were obviously harder to watch. But, the impact of the Internet on the TED concept is obvious, bringing the ability to record and inexpensively disseminate these inspirational talks. Now that you understand the TED talk concept, understand that the time restriction for The People's Choice Awards will likely be more constraining than the TED's 18 minutes. Details are coming soon, but the People's Choice talks will be fairly short, very focused, presentations.


This will be a chance to carefully script, practice and present a motivational speech about workers' compensation. The presentations may include hand gestures and facial expressions, but that will be the extent of "visual aids." These talks are about speaking, and conveying a message about workers' compensation, something inspirational, aspirational, or motivational. There will be no power points, no slide shows, no video clips. 

This speech format, of course, is right up David's alley (can you just picture him delivering one?). It fits so precisely into the spirit and purpose of the Comp Laude awards. And, it adds an egalitarian element to both the awards and the November event. The live voting during the program is perhaps unprecedented in the history of workers' compensation programs? The audience at Comp Laude will decide which People's Choice talk is the most powerful, concise and motivational expression of what we are, or perhaps more aptly what we can be?

The Comp Laude even is just around the corner, about 60 days. It is time to dust off your Royal, Olevetti, or Smith-Corona and put in a new ribbon. Details and deadlines will be coming soon to WorkCompCentral.com. But even before that, you can be working on your proposal while you wait on the details of how and when to submit it. (added 09.09.16 - details are here or http://bit.ly/CLAGPPL).

We anticipate a great turnout of exceptional stories and ideas for the inaugural People's Choice Award. David was always about ideas, and about making this industry and system better. The success of this award will both honor him personally and fulfill one of his many visions. And, in the process, many people will be inspired and motivated by these presentations. 

The People's Choice format allows each of you to support David's vision and community spirit by submitting your proposal. Tell the selection committee why you should be selected to tell a short story in Burbank this November. Get started now on your theme, and outline. Details and deadlines will be forthcoming soon. Remember, it is merely 60 days away. 

I look forward to hearing from many of you about your thoughts and proposals for exceptional speeches in The People's Choice Award program.

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