#NCCCMA Conference Reflections with Caley Trujillo

Posted on February 22, 2015

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This is the second of two posts from Carolina MPA students reflecting on their experience at the annual North Carolina City/County Management Association Winter Conference. Caley Trujillo, a first-year student MPA student at UNC-Chapel Hill interested in local government management, writes about her experience attending the NCCCMA Conference.
Two weeks ago I attended the 54th Annual North Carolina City and County Management Seminar in Durham, North Carolina. I am one of those unusual students who had been looking forward to this day for a long time. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “What kind of 22 year old looks forward to a conference?” Well, as someone who is new to North Carolina, I always look forward to meeting new people who dedicate themselves to local government management all across the state.
The day had a very early start with the Carolina MPA Alumni breakfast. The only thing I love more than local government is breakfast (think Leslie Knope), so this was a fantastic way to start off the conference for me! I highly encourage students from all different schools to attend their alumni breakfast the morning of the conference, because this was an amazing opportunity to sit in a room full of people who were once in your shoes, and see how successful they all have become. As we went around the room introducing ourselves, I had one of those “aha” moments! It was during those introductions that I realized the caliber of success the MPA programs throughout North Carolina produce. As a first-year student it truly inspired me to keep working hard, and believing in myself, because there were people all around me who showed me that my dream was possible.
After the breakfast, I attended the Speed Coaching for MPA Students session. If you take away anything from this post, please let caley2it be this – GO TO SPEED COACHING! Not only was speed coaching an awesome opportunity to network, but it was an even better opportunity to learn more about the profession. These are real people, in real management positions, with real-life experience who are willing to talk to you and answer any question you may have about the profession. Where else can you possibly get this? Nowhere! So GO! Also, with summer internship interviews right around the corner, this was a great chance for me to practice speaking one-on-one with managers and work on perfecting the answer to the inevitable interview question – “So why do you want to work in local government?” All of the managers I spoke with were genuinely there to learn more about me and helped me feel comfortable with sharing my story and my passion for this amazing career. I really hope all of the other students who participated in this event left with the same experience I did because it truly was fantastic!
Lastly, I attended a session where up-and-coming young managers shared their experiences of their first few years in local government management. I truly hope the conference offers this session again, because the panel was absolutely inspiring! It was empowering to hear such young managers speak about their experiences from the interview process, to accepting the position, and navigating those first few months of managing.
Please attend this conference in the future, as it truly was a great experience not only to network but also to be re-inspired about local government management!

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