by Andrea Hanstein
Nearly 10 years ago, at the ripe age of 23, I attended my first NCMPR national conference in Denver, Colorado. I had only been at my job 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 Cafe 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.
This year, NCMPR is fortunate enough to visit San Francisco, California – truly one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world – for its national conference. And if that’s not enough, the historic Fairmount San Francisco Hotel is playing host to our group. Tony Bennett first sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in the hotel’s Venetian ballroom, and after staying there, you’ll see why.
Trust me, you do not want to miss out on this year’s conference! The early-bird registration deadline is only a month away – Friday, February 10. This means that for only $550 (a savings of $50 off the regular registration fee) you will be treated to three days of professional development focusing on the latest trends in community college marketing and PR. It’s also a great way to make lasting connections with colleagues from across the country. Learn more about the 2012 national conference here.
As a native of northern California, I am excited to show you our beautiful city. Later in the month, I will share with you some of my favorite places to see and visit during your time here in March; I can’t wait!
Andrea Hanstein is NCMPR President and director of marketing at Fullerton College in California.