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Welcome, non-member!    

Another year and another Communications School has come and gone.  St. Louis turned out to be a great option for this year’s school, as we had a fantastic host committee that set up some pretty special after-hours activities. I want to extend my sincere thanks to Marisa Ellison for leading the Missouri host committee.

Our pre-conference workshops were well-received with Chris O’Neil’s “Communication Planning: Defining Success and Setting Goals” session and the “Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) Bootcamp” by Laura Kirkpatrick and Ann Knabe garnering lots of kudos from attendees who completed our post-school survey.

The most informative piece was Chris O’Neil’s pre-conference workshop. It was well-paced, and packed with much applicable tips.

I found the APR Advanced Training Workshop very helpful. The speakers were great. I look forward to working on my APR accreditation this year.

Each year, our school planning committee reviews the surveys and we pay close attention to what our attendees find helpful and what other topics they want to see in the future. This year’s agenda was packed with breakout sessions based on feedback from surveys submitted after last year’s school. 

We also got great feedback regarding our keynote speakers. This year’s keynotes included a report on how the people of St. Louis came together to re-imagine the famous arch; a talk on why social media is bullshit; a case-study about communication in the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting in Charleston, South Carolina; and seven vertical lessons on leadership.  All were well-received.

Awesome keynotes this year!

This year, the “keynote” speakers were some of the best ever.

NAGC is already gearing up for next year’s school, and the board has already reviewed the comments from this year’s post-school survey. 

I wish the conference started off by identifying which attendees were with federal, state, or local government.

Great suggestion! The board has already identified a way for attendees to recognize who is federal, state, local, tribal or other, for next year’s school.

I felt like most of the people who spoke were with the federal government and forgot that there were other types of government professionals at the event.

We often have federal government people speaking at the school.  That is not by design.  Each year, NAGC puts out a call for speakers. In fact, we will issue a call for speakers for next year’s school in August. NAGC’s budget limits what we can pay for speakers and sometimes we must eliminate options that may be great, because they are just too expensive. We get a lot of speaker abstracts from federal government communicators, which gives a large pool from which to select. We would LOVE to get more speaker abstracts from more local and state folks. So, if you have a good story to tell that may be of interest to other NAGC members, feel free to submit an abstract for review.  Based on this year’s feedback, we will be looking for speakers with expertise in speechwriting, press release writing, video production, crisis communication, communication planning and internal communications, just to name a few.

For the first time, NAGC created a mobile app for the 2017 Communications School.  We used the free version of Guidebook to set up the app, which included the full school agenda and offered the ability for each person who downloaded the app to create their own schedule from the agenda.

I loved the mobile application! It would have been much more difficult to stay organized without it. Venue and geographical location were good.

 Each year, your NAGC Board of Directors seeks ways to enhance the member experience.  According to you, the school is one of the offerings most recognized as a member benefit.  Also, high on the list of what is important to our members are networking opportunities, professional development and our webinars.

Some members recommended, and I concur, that online networking would be helpful.  I have asked our web designer to look for options that will allow our members to network online via our website. 

Bethany Hornbeck, our Professional Development Director, is hard at work planning our monthly Webinar Wednesday series for the upcoming year.  In addition, she is bringing back last year’s popular Encore webinar series that highlighted some of the most popular breakout sessions at the school. And, we already have our first NAGC member who has signed up to sit for the APR exam!

We are listening to your suggestions and are working to put as many of them into practice as is possible.

As we put this year’s school in our rear view mirror, we are looking ahead to Fort Meyers, Florida in 2018.  The exact dates and venue will be announced soon.  So send us suggestions for the school or submit a speaker’s abstract to present at the school, but be sure to attend.  We will have fun, and we will network, and we will learn!