#NCLGBA18 Recap Series: Reflection from a First-Time Attendee

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2018 Winter Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our second #NCLGBA18 Conference Recap comes from Dominique Walker, ICMA/NCACC Management Fellow, Bertie County, and 2018 Winter Conference Scholarship Recipient.

The NC Local Government Budget Association (NCLGBA) Conference exceeded any expectations I had of what the conference experience would be like and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to attend the event in Pinehurst. When I first applied to the Conference Scholarship, I was hesitant because of my lack of experiences working in the budgeting profession. However, I thought that by applying, it would be the perfect opportunity to network with budget analysts, directors, managers, and others in the profession, as well as learn more about budgeting in general. It was refreshing to see many people from my generation in attendance and serving in different capacities across the field. One of the best components from my time at the conference was the networking experience. I had the opportunity to engage with budgeting professionals from across the state and gain better insight about what it means to be a budget analyst and future local government executive. I appreciated their honesty and transparency about the challenges of working as an analyst as well as some of the more rewarding experiences.

I really enjoyed each of the sessions and I unquestionably learned something new from each of the presentations. The most impactful sessions that resonated with me the most were the Leading with Emotional Intelligence, Leading Women-Perspectives in Leadership and Budget, Data Analytics: the Power of BI, and the Policy Equity & Inclusion: Letting History and Community Voices Guide Institutional Choices sessions. Key takeaways that I learned from the Leading with Emotional Intelligence: Why EQ Matters? session was the understanding of emotional intelligence (EQ) and the difference between IQ and EQ. Understanding how EQ relates to the workplace and leadership success was extremely beneficial and I walked away with new resources on how to approach my daily activities.

Additionally, I really appreciated the discussion from the diverse panelists during the Leading Women-Perspectives in Leadership and Budget session. As a young African-American woman pursuing a career in local government, it was inspiring to see these women share their experiences in the field including what they enjoyed best, the complexities and challenges they have faced, and ways they handle stress and work-family balance. It was also uplifting to network with some of the panelists after the session to have one-on-one conversations that were equipped with much-needed career advice. Based on the Data Analytics: the Power of BI session, I have dedicated myself to learning all that I can about Power BI analytics. It is my hope to incorporate the methods used from the Data Analytics and the Policy Equity & Inclusion sessions into my projects in Bertie County to achieve equitable community engagement.

Overall, I had a tremendous experience as a first-time attendee at the NCLGBA Annual Conference and I walked away with more knowledge about the budgeting profession and how to be a more effective community leader within my field. The engagement and excitement from the attendees and the NCLGBA board was undeniable and I am eager in staying engaged with the NCLGBA. I also look forward to bringing more awareness about the budgeting profession and the NCLGBA to the next generation of public administrators.