So, after diving into our conference project I have developed a better insight as to what goes into a conference from start to finish; before, during, and after. This insight has an emphasis on design since that is what we are focusing on; however, it did bring to light some other elements that were dependent on the design aspect of things.
In regards to revising my initial concept map + timeline, I look an approach that focuses on the interaction and hierarchy of each category and subcategory. I also made a point to make the timeline work more effectively with scale change along with consistent scale of the blocks of time. This now idea is somewhat of a hybrid of my original design and what I have discovered since then, I chose a vertical format as it fit better with the timeline. Also, a big influence of the vertical orientation was the cascading nature of the concept map, how one idea played to the next, kind of like a waterfall! Enjoy!