Work in the bureaucracy long enough and you’re bound to pick up tips and tricks that will help you navigate out there in the deep waters. If I can impart any small bit of advice at the moment is it this: If anyone ever talks about needing you as part of a team planning a conference, kick them in the junk. Repeatedly. And then run away. No good can come from this project. It is evil and accursed; very truly an unclean thing.
The schedule will never be final, speakers will drop out at the last minute, senior leaders will decide to change their entire theme two days before the thing starts, and others will just ignore your request to get their material in advance. You, of course, will get the blame for those things that go horribly wrong, while others will get the credit for what goes right. It’s the definition of a no-win situation where you will have responsibility for everything, but authority over nothing. Your default response to everything in life will be to sigh heavily and rub the bridge of your nose in a futile effort to make the headache go away.
If you do ever have the misfortune of finding yourself in this position, just get use to the fact that everything will go wrong. It’s like Murphy’s Law on steroids with a side order of PCP. And your reward for a job well done? You get an invitation back to do it all over again for the next conference.
*Sigh* Has anyone seen my ibuprofen? Or my Pepto? Or my coffee?