What’s In It for Me?
The NIGP Forum in Seattle this coming August will be my 16th — and I never fail to learn something new. At last year’s forum at National Harbor, I decided to ask my fellow professionals — first-timers, “old timers” (senior managers) and some folks new to the profession — what they get out of Forum.
For each of us the Forum at National Harbor brought together the classic elements of professionalism. Attendees found a renewed grounding in the basic education, brought to life by the trade-winds of new ideas and perspectives, nourished by the waters of a giving and generous community of professionals, and ignited by the fire of inspirational speakers.
At National Harbor we found a host of professional education programs that laid the foundation of the experience. For newcomers, classes provided insights into the basics, from guidance for everyday activities to new negotiation strategies. More experienced attendees found insights into standard practices and specialized programs on topics ranging from federal grant administration to performance measurement.
We also found that the Forum at National Harbor experienced very dramatic winds — and not those coming from Washington just a few miles upriver. During Forum, Hurricane Irene proceeded up the Atlantic seaboard bringing challenges to the organizers; power was lost and schedules had to be modified. Everyone rose to the occasion. Hotel and NIGP staff, host chapters and attendees all pulled together and weathered the storm outside while experiencing the winds of change inside. Sessions brought new and formative ideas from various sources and provided insights into the future of the profession.
Hurricane Irene also revealed what I consider to be the lifeblood of the profession: The community of professionals that are its membership. As surely as the body of knowledge that defines the profession is contained in the minds and work of the individuals that comprise it, there too lies the uniqueness of our profession, in significant part, in our generosity. Because of the shared purpose of attendees, Forum becomes a well of knowledge and a place of selfless sharing.
Forum also contributes the fire of inspiration. For some, motivation came from knowing that their challenges are not unique and there are fellow professionals ready and willing to help; for others, it was hearing the often heroic and sometimes harrowing experiences of speakers that illuminate the fire that is the spirit within us all.
So, what’s in it for you? At Forum you will find the training that meets your needs, the insight into things to come, the network of professionals to support you, and the inspiration to face the challenges that come every day.
Michael Bevis, JD, CPPO, CPSM, C.P.M., PMP is the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Naperville, Ill., and a faculty member of the University of Maryland University College’s Graduate Procurement and Supply Chain Management Program.