Winter 2023 Scholarship Winner Recaps

Krysta Rogden

As a graduate attending the #NCLGBA23 Winter Conference in Asheville, I had an incredible experience networking with the amazing people working to create thriving places in North Carolina and learning about essential topics in local government budgeting. As I reflect on my time at the conference, I highlight the new additions to my budgeteer toolkit:  

A New Point of View: After an empowering lecture from Dr. Mary Hemphill, founder of The Limitless Leader, I understand the necessity of leaders to maintain a sense of “human being” as we tend to get caught up in our “human doing”.

A New Start: I had the opportunity to learn about topics relevant to myself as an intern who is new to local government that may help me navigate the field including City of Hendersonville’s Adam Steurer’s presentation on water infrastructure and utilities as well as Catawba County’s Paul Murray and Justin Merrit’s panel on navigating new roles and positions.

A New Field: We discussed pressing topics in the field like using AI for collaborative brainstorming and strategic planning for innovation and change. For myself, it was also surreal to listen to the panel on Women in Leadership. It’s enlightening to hear about the paths other women took on their journey to leadership and to have my questions answered.

Finally, it would be neglectful not to mention how fun the experience was too. From networking at the conference events like the Biltmore Wine Tasting & Tour to the Edifice Sponsored Happy Hour at Village Pub the NCLGBA Winter Conference was a three-day experience with memories and lessions that are sure to last. 

Lauren Williams

This December, I was fortunate to be awarded an NCLGBA Winter 2023 Conference Scholarship. As a first-time attendee, the conference allowed me to collaborate with other experienced partners to discuss topics directly relevant to my work.

My experience kicked off with the Benchmarking Committee Meeting hosted by Dr. Obed Pasha of the UNC School of Government. After working with departments in my role as a budget analyst to collect, clean, and submit data for the UNC Benchmarking project, I appreciated the opportunity to provide feedback that will shape the future of the project.

The conference provided both legislative and economic updates, with detailed debriefs about how local government work may be impacted by changes to state statutes and the national economy. We were also given opportunities to discuss relevant technological advances, such as the session AI Unleashed: A Beginner’s Guide to Strategy and Budgeting. Because I regularly use ClearPoint to edit business and strategic planning content, I gleaned substantial information from this session, which discussed the implications, uses, and pitfalls of using AI within ClearPoint software.

Both within and outside of the sessions, the conference expanded my professional network with budgeters at all stages of their career. This exposure to budget professionals allowed me to envision the true extent of what is possible within the field—knowledge I will apply directly back to my work as an analyst.