The 2011 ASPA Annual Conference is off to a great start! This morning kicked off with the First-Time Attendee Breakfast. The event was full to capacity with new members ready to learn about ASPA and all it has to offer. Experienced ASPA members attended the event to share their experiences with new members and first-time attendees. Antoinette Samuel, ASPA Executive Director, shared the “lay of the land” and informed attendees that they should attend special events as well as engage in hallway conversations. She stated that these conversations are the place where the networking begins. Ms. Samuel also encouraged the first-timers to include themselves in conversations with groups of individuals they may not know. She suggested that attendees should “impose” on these conversations in an effort to gain knowledge from others.
After the First-Time Attendee Breakfast, the Opening Plenary Session was held and well attended. Meredith Newman, ASPA President, served as the moderator for the session. The Presentation of Colors was presented by the United States Navy. Members from the Command Choir performed two wonderful selections, the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. The Honorary Conference Chairs, Camilla Stivers and Water Broadnax, received special recognition and provided a few words about their appreciation for the award received.
Congressman Steny Hoyer, Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District representative served as the speaker. He encouraged attendees to share information with their students and constituents in their communities about events taking place in public service. He also discussed the defining moment of him deciding to choose public service as a career. In addition to Steny serving as a speaker, Nancy Kopp, 23rd Maryland State Treasurer, served as the second speaker for the session.
Saturday morning has gotten off to a wonderful start. I wonder what the rest of the day holds. I guess we will have to wait and see. 🙂