Conference 101: A Crash Course for New Attendees in 2023

Includes a Live Web Event on 10/03/2023 at 2:00 PM (EDT)

New to conference? Then you don't want to miss this! Join us on October 3, 2023 at 2:00 PM EDT - Students, new professionals or distinguished professionals can all learn from a crash course of NRPA Conference including the different events, networking opportunities and where your best resources are locatedMake the most of your time at this year's NRPA Annual Conference with these tips, tricks and secrets. A nearly identical version of this session will be offered in-person at the convention center in Dallas at 5:00pm (local time) on Monday, October 9. 

Section #1 Off To A Good Start: Attendees will be asked to write down 3 goals to accomplish at Conference.

Section#2 The Basics: Quick run-downs of specific events or programs and how to maximize the attendee experience at each.

Section#3 Tips & Tricks: Best practices to get the most out of conference as a whole -- regardless of where the attendee is at.

Section#4 Connect: The biggest long-term benefit of NRPA and Conference is Networking!  Attendees will get advice on getting an introduction, having a fulfilling conversation and building the strongest connections.  Attendees will then put into practice this advice to meet 3 other professionals in the session.

Section#5 Back to "Work": Best practices about what to do post-conference.


1. Identify the ways to maximize your time and impact at Conference through making schedules, picking the right sessions, and networking opportunities.
2. Learn what to expect from Conference week -- both in education sessions and at the various networking events.
3. Provide strategies for starting conversations and tips for amplifying your network while attending conference as well as solidifying connections long-term.

Michael Biedenstein, CPRP, AFO (he/him)

Membership Engagement Manager

National Recreation and Park Association

Michael is responsible for NRPA's national awards program including this Hall of Fame, the Parks and Recreation 30 Under 30, Spotlight Awards, Innovation Awards, and Scholarship & Fellowships. Michael previously worked 18 years in the field of parks and recreation in St. Louis, MO. Michael has presented 17 times over 11 years including a highly rated session at the 2021 NRPA Conference.

Hayley Herzing (she/her)

Director of Membership

National Recreation and Park Association

Hayley Herzing is currently the Senior Manager of Membership for the National Recreation and Park Association. She has worked for NRPA for eight years and previously worked at the National Community Pharmacists Association. Hayley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications/Journalism from Shippensburg University. She enjoys spending time with her husband, children and dog.

Juan Carlos Acevedo

Superintendent of Marketing and Communications

Wheeling Park District

Juan Carlos Acevedo is a park and recreation professional in the Chicagoland area with 18 years of experience creating, developing, and marketing leisure programs, activities, and events to diverse communities.

He has become well-versed in marketing and communications, including market research, branding, content creation, social and digital media management, print and promotions, and public messaging. Juan currently works at the Wheeling Park District and at the University of Illinois as an instructor and research coordinator.

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