The Conference officially started today! The weather has been sunny, but today the haze sets in and the rain has started. But that does not matter as we are in the Fairmont in lovely settings for our meetings, opening plenary and sessions. The time change has been a burden, as I am three hours behind and it is affecting me in the evenings. But I got up early today to be downstairs for the First Time Attendees Breakfast. This is a wonderful event that Jeannie Jefferies, ASPA Membership Associate, oversees. The entire ASPA Leadership and Toni Samuel, Executive Director of ASPA, welcomed the first time attendees. It was yet another great introduction to our organization and the conference.
The Opening Plenary was right on target with an opening speech by ASPA President, Paul Posner, and a greeting from San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed. We listened to long-time ASPA member and Maxwell School MPA graduate, John Berry who is the Director of the US Office of Personnel Management. He discussed the plans of President Obama and creating a new recruitment, hiring and retention process for the US Government. Immediately upon taking office, Mr. Berry called upon ASPA and its leadership for guidance and assistance with the plan and he has used key leaders to continue with the implementation of multiple plans. He was inspiring as well as informative about his work. ASPA honored him with an award for his work.
Later in the morning, I attended Vice President Erik Bergrud’s 2012 Leadership meeting. ASPA believes in strategic planning and Erik is off to a great start. I attended the meeting representing SWPA and National Capital Area Chapter of ASPA (VA, DC, MD). When the conference is over, I will serve as Chair of SWPA and in June I will become President of NCAC. The meeting was well attended and Erik has good plans for our work.
I attended the SWPA Board meeting where we honored three members who passed on this year – Marcy Crowley, Ron Gabriel and Carol Gandy, a SWPA founding member. We also discussed the year’s business and set the slate for elections to be held at the Membership meeting on Sunday. The new officers and board members take their positions at the annual Breakfast held Monday morning.
The Exhibit Hall opened and I went to see the SWPA booth and the Rutgers University booth –as that is my alma mater. The gifts are always great!
The final event of the day was the Welcome Reception which was held at the Tech Museum of Innovation, directly across the street from the Fairmont. There was good music, good food and great fun had by all! Until my next entry from San Jose
– Dara Baldwin