#NCLGBA23 Recap Series: The Right Balance of Learning, Networking, and Fun

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2023 Summer Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our next #NCLGBA23 Conference Recap comes from Don Scales, one of the recipients of the Conference Scholarship and Budget Analyst for the City of High Point.

Attending the NCLGBA Summer Conference was a great experience! Prior to the conference, I
told family and friends that I was going to a local government budget conference and many of
them remarked how boring they thought it would be. Since the conference, I have enjoyed
reporting that it was not boring, but extremely engaging with the right balance of learning,
networking, and fun.

I immediately had a good first impression of the NCLGBA because of the warm welcome I
received from my conference coach and the membership committee at the luncheon just before
the conference started. It was a great opportunity to meet people and make connections in a
casual setting. As a conference rookie I found that it was beneficial to meet with a small group of
conference pros and other rookies before things kicked off.

Later at the Beaufort Hotel, which I thought was a charming venue, I enjoyed the first two
sessions of the conference. I found the first session on organizational belonging to be
particularly engaging because of the way that the speaker, Dr. William Lewis, interacted with the
audience. I thought the way he divided up the room into different categories to make his points
about diversity, equity, and inclusion was brilliant. It really helped emphasize his ideas on
leveraging the differences and similarities of people in the workplace to create a sense of
belonging. I also appreciated the interactive nature of Dr. Jeffs' session on resiliency in the
workplace. The various mindfulness activities he had the audience participate in seemed like
they could be effective tools during the workday to reduce stress. His discussion on managing
stress during the workday to maximize performance and prevent burnout was very interesting,
especially given the stressors of the post-Covid era. I thought these first two sessions
complemented each other well with their broader organizational themes centered on improving
experiences for individuals and groups at the workplace. This pairing showed how thoughtful the
planning was for the conference and was emblematic of the overall conference experience.

Balancing out the excellent sessions were great networking opportunities. The reception on the
first day was lively and a great forum to meet and make connections with other budgeting
professionals, after a long day of travel. The second evening Budget Feud was a fun,
competitive, and raucous event that was the perfect end to a day of engaging sessions on topics
like the Capital Planning Life-Cycle and Campfire Stories in Budgeting and Communications.
Finally, going out to dinner was another great opportunity to meet new people and hear about
their careers and experiences with local government and budgeting.

After the conference ended, I found myself reflecting on my experience while traveling back to
High Point, and am already looking forward to the Winter Conference in Asheville!