Thank you for posting your updates and your request for brainstorming ideas. My challenge with conferences is the overwhelm of information or the feeling of “missing out”. The last conference I attended I found time to network in a very relaxed manner. We took a break from the crowd and had snacks on the front porch of the hotel followed with dinner with a different group. As a result I enjoyed my time with dear friends while meeting new friends and having the space to deepen and build relationship.
Sometimes allowing for unstructured time can be just as beneficial as filling the agenda with learning and trade shows.