April 24, 2014
Posted: April 24, 2014
Nearly 13 years ago, at the ripe age of 23, I attended my first NCMPR national conference in Denver, Colo. I had only been at my job at Fullerton College for six months and had no clue what NCMPR stood for, but my boss offered to send me and I was desperate to learn more about the industry I had stumbled upon. A decade later, I can’t tell you exactly which sessions I attended or the names of everyone I met, but I can tell you that it was love at first sight. My only previous work experience was in corporate communications and while I knew how to write a press release, plan special events and churn out a feature story, the community college world was completely new to me. While I am normally an outgoing person, I was nervous about attending the conference without knowing anyone. I was young and inexperienced and thought everyone in Denver would know it. Luckily, my fears were unfounded. By the end of the first day, I was sitting at the Hard Rock Café with a table full of District 6 members who immediately made me feel like part of the group. Many of these people remain my friends to this day! Armed with my newfound posse, I dove in headfirst and attended as many sessions as I could, each of which was filled with relevant subject matter presented by people who actually knew what they were talking about. I was shocked to find that unlike other professional organizations I had been involved in, conference presenters were excited to share what they had learned – and even encouraged us to borrow their ideas! When I returned home to southern California, I couldn’t thank my boss enough. The professional development and networking opportunities I was able to take advantage of at the NCMPR conference were parallel to none. To this day, both the national and district conferences continue to challenge, enrich and rejuvenate me.
By Andrea Hanstein
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Los Altos Hills, CA