An open letter in regards to Sogen Con.
Dear Staff, Dealers, Guests, and Attendees;
I have been thinking very hard about the state of Sogen Con over the last month. Ever since I was named as the Convention Chairman at the end of Sogen 2011, I have had a flurry of emotions run through me. Hope has been one of the strongest emotions I have felt for this coming year. Hope that we can expand this convention into a great event that many will look forward to in the years to come. Hope that we can create new and exciting promotions and events that all attendees will enjoy. Hope for the future of this fantastic convention.
When I accepted the role of Chairman, I accepted all the responsibilities of Sogen, and it's future. I also accepted it's mired past, and all that has happened with the convention. Sogen Con has been a roller coaster of emotions for all who have been involved. It has had good years, and it has had bad years. Where I would like to think the good has outweighed the bad, I know that bad tends to stick out more than good. The 2011 convention is by far both ends of that spectrum all at once. We almost didn't have a convention. Sogen was in danger of dying, and the loyal attendees bailed her out. This bail out was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, in that we were able to redouble our efforts and put forth a convention that saw our best recorded attendance to date. A curse, because the Kickstarter painted the convention in a bleak light. It made us appear we were unable to handle our affairs, and unable to be responsible with the money that had been invested into the convention over the previous 6 years. I know that cloud still hangs over us in many peoples eyes, and I accept that. What I refuse to accept is that we cannot fix that which has been broken, and that's the trust of those who have supported us in the past. That is why I write this letter. It is but the first meager step in making amends to those who deserve it. Please note I bear no ill will towards anyone for their feelings, or their actions in the past.
I have nothing but respect for all those who worked hard on Sogen in the past. They are the reason I have this chance to make amends today. I know each and every one of the previous staffers can look back and know many mistakes were made. Some staff decided that it was not worth trying to save the convention. Others felt it was a lost cause and felt helpless to correct it. I will admit that even I started to feel many of those very same things when I joined the staff last year. Everything seemed to be working against us as we tried everything we could to repair a broken situation. I know there have been rifts in the distant past as well. Rifts between the convention and the Anime Club that helped create Sogen Con. I am truly sorry for any bad blood between the two groups. To all past staff, I would like to say I am sorry to you. I am sorry for whatever actions caused your hurt, anger, or hopeless feelings about the convention. To the current and future staff, I want to make a pledge. I promise to do everything in my power to correct the mistakes of the past. I promise that if I am unable to lead fairly, or become a hindrance to the convention, I will step down. My love for this convention far outweighs any other desire I may have in regards to Sogen. While I am Chairman, I promise to give it every ounce of my attention, love, and drive for success!
To the dealers we have had in the past, I also owe an apology. I know many policies or actions have caused you to turn away from Sogen Con. One memory of this past year I would like to relate is one of the things that made me look at Sogen even closer. I was added to the staff, and wanted to help out in any way I can. Part of this help was to try and aid Kim Pridemore with acquiring dealers for the 2011 con. I asked a dealer who I am proud to be friends with if they would like to attend Sogen as a dealer. The response I had received was a slap of reality. The dealer stated that although she loved me as a dear friend, she would not be attending Sogen again. I wanted to ask why, but was afraid of the answer. It is only through a series of unfortunate events that they decided to come after all. When I learned that they had reconsidered attending, I and other staffers bent over backwards to try and correct the issues of the past. It seems through our efforts, as well as some luck, that the dealer in question had changed their opinion of Sogen after this years event. To that dealer, as well as every other dealer we have had in the past, I want to apologize. I understand that at the end of the day, it is business, and you need to do what is best for that. I am sorry that the events of the past caused you to even have to think along those lines. I invite each and every one of you to send me your feelings on the past, and suggestions of what we can do in the future to correct the errors. I would like to earn your trust back, and ask you to give Sogen another chance in the future. I know we have a lot to prove, and I accept that challenge!
To our previously invited Guests of Honor, I would like to extend my gratitude. You have all done a great service to Sogen in the past. You have shared your skills, stories, and love with all of our attendees. I have witnessed first hand the joy you have brought to our convention. I, myself have been a Guest in the past, and know how hard you all work. You take time out of your work schedules so you can join us at a convention and meet your fans and friends. You are a great addition to the Sogen Family, and I love each and every one of you for all you have done for us!
Lastly, and most importantly, to all of our attendees of the past. Many of you have stuck with us through thick and thin. As stated before, many of you gave money to Sogen so that it may live on. Words cannot express how all of the Sogen staff feel for all you have done. You remained loyal to us, even if we may not have deserved that loyalty. I want to apologize for the uncertainty of last years convention. The lack of communication of the situation, while unavoidable, was also inexcusable. I personally am sorry to each and every one of you who decided not to come to our convention because of the events of this past year, or of previous conventions as a whole. I know we have a lot of trust to earn back, and will do all I can to do just that. I promise that from this day forward, I will do everything in my power to give you the convention you all deserve!
Thank you all for reading, and please accept my apologies for any wrong Sogen may have done. Please feel free to email me comments, suggestions, or concerns you may have. I promise to reply to each and every one of them.
Sogen Con VIII Convention ChairmanSogenConSD@Gmail.com