10-26-17 ICMA 2017 Recap

10-26-17 ICMA 2017 Recap

Right Now with Zach Navin (Linkedin / Twitter)

What I’m Listening to – Gov Love

What I’m Reading – Make Your Bed- William H. McRaven

What I’m Doing – Recuperating from ICMA 2017 in San Antonio


This was my first national conference and it was a great learning experience from all aspects. I did my best to follow Clay’s Cues which included; People first, thinking ahead and thinking big, taking advantage of what the host community has to offer, and finding a session at the conference that I can take action on within my organization.

People First: I stayed in the Real World house with eight other ELGL members who are some of the most genuine individuals. Every one I talked to beforehand thought I was crazy for staying at a house with eight people I only knew through the World Wide Web. It turned out to be a great decision. We enjoyed each others company and made new friends, being in the same house provided the opportunity to continually discuss what is and isn’t working within our respective communities and bounce ideas off each other on how we can improve in our professional careers. I also had the unique opportunity to teach the group all about Wisconsin culture, but we’ll save that for another time.

Not only did I connect with the individuals of the Real World house but numerous other ICMA 2017 attendees. ELGL hosted an awesome mixer on Sunday night as well as co-host on Monday night with CivicPRIDE. The individuals I was able to connect with at these events are all doing amazing work in their communities.

Take Notes and Take Action: The session that caught my eye right away was: Employee engagement surveys and how to use them to create a “Simply Irresistible Organization.” Working in the Department of Public Works, I often see employees who are not engaged and are always looking for another job. That doesn’t mean they’re not satisfied with their current job, but if they are offered a job with a few extra perks there isn’t anything keeping them from taking that new position. I wanted to learn from this session and find ways to make our organization “Simply Irresistible.” Doing this means finding ways to engage employees that gives them a sense of ownership to their work so that it is more difficult to walk away from it.

Thinking Ahead and Thinking Big: Manager conferences challenge me to think about my organization’s future and what I imagine it looks like in a perfect scenario but they also challenge what I imagine my career might be ten years down the road, which can be a scary thing. I guess that’s why they say, if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough… or something like that. I would always encourage attending conferences like these, whether it’s ICMA or your state association. You will leave re-energized and ready to tackle the next big step in your career.

Taking Advantage of What the Host Community Has to Offer: I spent Tuesday night and Wednesday exploring the city before my flight home. The Real World house had a family dinner at a local diner Tuesday night and explored the Pearl District and then Ben Kittelson, Dan Weinheimer, and I were able to explore the City a little more Wednesday after the conference wrapped up. More pics to come.

Overall, I would recommend attending the conference. It is an excellent way to connect with colleagues from across the nation who have the same passion for local government as you. It is also a great way to travel and see what works in other communities throughout the nation. I hear there is an awesome conference next spring in Golden, CO. (cough, cough) SIGN UP HERE!!!