(by Triena Bodart and Debbie Murphy,
MASFAA 2014 Conference Program co-chairs)
As we made our way to the airport to head home, we realized that this conference had significant differences for us.....we had just wrapped up our first MASFAA fall Conference as co-chairs.
One year ago we drove to Indianapolis and met our conference program committee for the first time; a committee of Midwest colleagues who volunteered to work with us and helped create a great conference for MASFAA in 2014. As we prepared for our conference planning we asked ourselves, "Would we be successful? Would we have fun? Would we walk away with anything tangible?"
We walked away from the first meeting knowing our committee was as determined to "Climb to Great Heights" and plan a hearty conference program that would provide insight into the profession and help shed light on the upcoming challenges we might face in the year ahead. As our planning continued throughout the year, we got to know people individually and it was apparent that the depth of talent, knowledge and energy of our committee members was rich and invigorating. Together we developed a conference program we were confident would engage, educate, enlighten, encourage, and entertain new and veteran MASFAA conference goers alike.
For someone that doesn't like to fly, the actual flight into Charleston was an amazing adventure for Triena, as "landing on top of old Smokey" appeared several times on Triena's Facebook page. As we stepped off the plane, we were greeted with the true charm and southern hospitality of West Virginia. Keith, our hotel shuttle driver, provided an informative mini tour of the Charleston downtown area as we headed to the Marriott Town Center as we were about to see all of the fruits of our labor spring into action over the next five days.
Conference goers laughed with, cried with and learned from all of our fabulous keynote speakers and we were all engaged by the President's Panel discussion! We are sure some still carry their Q-tip with them. In addition to the wealth of information shared during the General Sessions, attendees were able to select from a variety of interest sessions throughout the conference. The sessions ranged from advising, diversity and customer service to repayment, audits and leadership! We even hosted a spontaneous presentation on “How to Say No!”
|Ash Beckham, keynote speaker, presenting at the Diversity Pre-Conference Workshop|
During the 'evening on your own' we hope you were able to break away from the conference hotel and enjoy a little bit of Charleston -- the downtown area provided multiple options to please our palates; from Pies and Pints, Burritos and Brews, Tidewater Grille to First Watch. Hopefully you were able to take advantage of the river walk, maybe even visit the daily farmers market to take in some of the breath taking fall colors of Charleston. We certainly enjoyed our time in Charleston and look forward to returning to West Virginia for MASFAA 2023!
MASFAA truly does have talent!!
The conference would not have happened without the collaboration, cooperation and assistance of so many professionals and colleagues who volunteered their time and talents to bring MASFAA another great conference in 2014! See you next year in Coralville, Iowa as we Grow Connections for Success!
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