by Jeff Ebbing
Southeastern Community College
West Burlington, IA
NCMPR’s District 6 Conference took place Oct. 13-14 in a warm-but-overcast San Diego. Navigating Change: Charting a Path to What’s Next was the most jam-packed 36 hours I can remember. And it was worth every minute.
During my tour, I am continuously reminded of how welcoming and open NCMPR members are. Even though I missed the conference kick-off event, that didn’t stop D6 from giving me an amazing welcome. Barely an hour after I landed in San Diego by way of two planes as I dealt with a college PR crisis remotely (see my previous blog here), I found myself on a bus with 20 of my newest NCMPR friends headed to a fun mixer event. Nothing kicks off a conference better than an evening of fun stories and lots of laughs.
And while the social activities kicked off with a bang, the conference sessions wowed me as well. What caught my attention the most was all the sharing that took place in nearly every session. The groups were small enough that each breakout felt like a casual conversation – only with cool slides! The sharing during the LGBTQ+ and the data digging sessions was on point. I learned nearly as much from the sharing as I did from the presenters. Such great conversations.
I also really loved watching the tightknit D6 stay connected after the Medallion awards. Whereas most districts disburse and venture into the host city to celebrate their achievements minutes after the awards ceremony concludes, most D6’ers stayed at their tables hanging out and chatting. I managed to pull up a chair and enjoy a fire pit by moonlight with a great bunch of new friends from the LA area. Plenty of group therapy sessions took place with everyone retiring for the night, relaxed and rejuvenated.
The next day I sat in on an absolutely amazing presentation on an in-house college rebrand initiative. Mandy Heil and her team from Arizona Western took on the nearly impossible task and totally owned the process from start to finish. Their research, campus involvement plan, creative approach, finished product, and fantastic brand relaunch made for the ultimate playbook for any college bold enough to take on the task. It’s no wonder then that Mandy was named District 6 Communicator. Mandy, you and your team are total rock stars.
I couldn’t be so close to the ocean and NOT pay a visit, so I laced up my shoes for a morning run on the boardwalk with my very first NCMPR amigo, longtime CC marketer and current 25th Hour staffer, Dewey Price. Years ago, we ventured out to dip our toes in the Atlantic Ocean at NCMPR Charleston. Now we can add the Pacific Ocean to our list. I’ve literally gone coast-to-coast with my bestest buddy. And I have NCMPR to thank for making it happen. What’s the true superpower of this organization? For me, facilitating lifelong friendships ranks near the very tippy-top.
District 6, thank you for a memorable stay in your beautiful city by the bay.
To see more, pop open Instagram and search @jeff_ebbing or #ncmprfancy.
Next stop: a D7 Northwest Rendezvous.
Jeff Ebbing is the director of marketing and communications at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa, and the president of NCMPR.