Since last fall, ICMA's 2009 Conference Host and Planning Committees
have been hard at work preparing a relevant, informative and enjoyable
annual conference for the membership. Like you, all of us are wrestling
with the reality of the economic times and the inherent pressures associated
with attending a national conference, especially one held out of the country.
With training and development funds usually the first thing cut when budgets
have to be trimmed, how can we justify attending the conference in Montreal?
Now, more than ever, we need to emphasize our value to our organization and
the value of professional development opportunities that are available at the
annual conference. "What is your community's return on investment when you
attend an ICMA annual conference?" Is your attendance viewed as just a vacation?
A chance to see a new city on the municipality's dime? Or is it a cost-effective
opportunity to gain knowledge, insights, strategies and contacts that will help
you lead your community during these very uncertain times? From a pure business
sense, there should be an economic gain on your investment from attending the
conference. If you value the long-term professional benefits that can be realized,
personally paying for some or all of the cost may be the answer and could
demonstrate to your governing body that you are seriously committed to your
development, your profession, and your community.
Individuals cannot navigate these difficult economic times alone. Your professional
association and the conference committees are committed to offering the membership
a valuable professional development opportunity in Montreal. You and your community
will absolutely realize a high rate of return on your investment to attend-for many
years to come. Likewise, we are committed to assist attendees in finding the most
cost-effective ways to travel to and stay in Montreal, to further increase your
return on your investment.
The question you need to ask yourself is, "How can I best serve and lead my community?"