ASPA Conference 2014 in Washington DC

By W. Brandon Callor, USCPM Board of Directors

American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) hosted their 2014 conference in Washington DC, March 14-18. The conference was held at The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel. Centrally located, the hotel was walking distance from Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and Ford's Theater, including the National Mall and Smithsonian Museums-if one was willing to walk a little farther. Suffice it to say, the venue was ideal for hosting public leaders from all over the world. 

Being new to ASPA, the conference provided this member with valuable opportunities for professional development and networking. Being new to the event also meant facing obstacles such as the schedule-of-events, navigating the venue, and deciphering the myriad of acronyms plastered everywhere. The greatest obstacle to overcome was the sheer size of the conference. There was something going on in every meeting room across two floors at The Mayflower. The key was finding the room in which your conference was being conducted.  

ASPA hosted academics from all over the world to discuss topics ranging from rebuilding infrastructure to developing improvement strategies for government. Each section invited speakers to discuss pertinent topics such as "Governance Reform around the World, The Broken Budget Process: Peering beyond the Fiscal Cliffs," sponsored by Section for Public Management Practice. Although many topics were appealing, this attendee’s attention was appropriately redirected by USCPM President Cheryl Brown to AACPM’s section. Thank you, Cheryl.

AACPM hosted several great presenters on topics ranging from "Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence" by Mitch Tublin to "Competency Assessment in Public Administration Accreditation" by Heather Gregory and Cyrstal Calarusse. 

One such presenter, Njeru Nthigah, President of The Leader's University, discussed "Four Things You Must Do for Success in Life." His book, Change Agents, showcases the world's leading experts revealing their secrets to successfully leading change and helping clients lead better lives. (Future posts will include book reports including one on Change Agents.) Left to right: Keith Heaton, Njeru Nthigah, Cheryl Brown, W. Brandon Callor

As part of his presentation, Mr. Nthigah outlined the four things that will lead to success in life and labeled those four things: A-C-T-S, 1) Articulate your why. He arbitrarily asked, "Why do you do what you do? What are you passionate about?" 2) Create a plan. This refers to goal setting. He asked, "Are you hoping to stumble upon your success?" 3) Take a massive and intentional action. This is goal getting. He recommended creating a list of 5 things you do every day and focus on the top 2 every single day. Cut out the distractions. 4) Seek and develop empowering relationships. He suggested seeking out a mentor. He also suggested being a mentor to somebody.

Another important reason for members of AACPM to attend the national conference was to be present at the House of Delegates, HOD. Two representatives from the local chapter, USCPM, were present: President Cheryl Brown and Board Member Brandon Callor. Also present from Utah were Keith Heaton, AACPM Board of Directors, and Sherry Saracino, National Certified Public Manager Consortium. Regrettably there was not enough representation from other chapters to assemble a quorum in order to conduct any business. Although business could not be conducted it could however be discussed. Therefore all in attendance had an opportunity to voice an opinion during a very lengthy and productive discussion which included changing by-laws to incorporate new ways of conducting business.

The change would allow a one-person/one-vote method of ratifying motions as opposed to requiring a quorum to be present at annual HOD meetings to vote on matters. It was evident from this particular meeting that such a change was necessary. The underlying issue however was the fact that membership at large was dwindling and participation on a national level was falling away.   

Overall, the conference was eye opening for this USCPM Board Member. It was quite costly being held in Washington DC, but very appropriate considering the content and purpose. The United States capital provided a dramatic background for the 2014 American Society for Public Administration Conference.


Posted on 9 Jun 2014, 17:38 - Category: Conferences/Lectures

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