Conference 101: A Crash Course for New Attendees in 2024

Includes a Live Web Event on 10/01/2024 at 2:00 PM (EDT)

New to conference? Then you don't want to miss this! Join us on October 1, 2024 at 2:00 PM EDT - Students, new professionals or distinguished professionals can all learn from a crash course of NRPA Annual 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 Atlanta at 5:00pm (local time) on Monday, October 7th. 

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, CPRE, 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 Director of Membership for the National Recreation and Park Association. She has worked for NRPA for ten years and previously worked at the National Community Pharmacists Association. Hayley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications/Journalism from Shippensburg University.

Maria Cepeda (she/her/hers)

Downtown Events and Facility Coordinator

Huntersville Park and Recreation

Young professional working as a Special Events Coordinator for Town of Huntersville Park and Rec Recreation in North Carolina. Previously worked for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation as Senior Recreation Specialist, creating programs and events for the community of Charlotte. After undergrad, she did her internship with the Woodlands Township in Texas. Board member of Hispanic Professionals in Park and Recreation advocating for Hispanic/Latino professionals in the field.

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