The conference program will be held at Madden's on Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Wednesday, May 1

12:00 - 4:30 PM - Optional Pre-Conference Golf Scramble and Networking Event ($40)

The Gravel Pit Golf Course - 13-Hole Scramble

More Info:

2 - 4 p.m. - Pre-Conference Networking Activities at Gravel Pit

2 p.m. - Conference Check-in Open

4:30 - 5 p.m. First-Time Attendees and New Members Reception

5-5:45 p.m. - Welcome Reception

5:45 - 7 p.m. - Dinner and Annual Business Meeting

 7 - 8 p.m. Conference Welcome and Opening General Session: Recovering Wellbeing: How to Sustain a Healthy Mind, Mood, and Heart in Chaotic Times

Presenter: Dr. Henry Emmons

Recent events have seriously challenged our collective well-being. While stress is nothing new, we sense that something is different in today’s world. Anxiety, depression, and burnout are at epidemic levels. Maintaining a healthy brain and a vital mind have never been more important. What can we do to restore resilience and serenity, and to protect ourselves from the many faces of stress? Blending new neuroscience with wisdom traditions, we will explore what it takes to cultivate inner calm, avoid burnout, and protect our brains throughout our lives.

8 - 10 p.m. - Evening Reception

Thursday, May 2

7:30 - 9:30 a.m. - Attendee Hot Breakfast

9:30 - 10:45 a.m. - General Session: Mastering the Art of Persuasion: Storytelling for Advocacy

Presenter: Mike Scanlon

In today's fast-paced world, local government officials and their messages compete for attention amid the onslaught of instantaneous communication and the constant drama of social media. However, the strategic use of storytelling emerges as a powerful antidote. By weaving a narrative, you transcend the ephemeral nature of modern communication, creating a memorable experience and message that resonates. Storytelling taps into the emotional core of the audience, leaving a lasting imprint on their memory. In a landscape dominated by fleeting impressions, storytelling offers a narrative anchor that staff, citizens and boards can revisit and reflect upon when navigating the complexities of decision-making. In this session, Mike Scanlon, storyteller and former City Manager, will demonstrate the power of storytelling through a set of nested stories that will give you a framework for your storytelling journey.

11 - 11:50 a.m. - Breakout Session 1A: Crafting Your Own Stories for Effective Advocacy

Presenter: Mike Scanlon

Join us for a dynamic 60-minute breakout session that will equip you with the essential skills of persuasive storytelling for effective advocacy. In a world inundated with information, the ability to convey your message compellingly is crucial. This session is designed to help you craft narratives that resonate with your audience, whether it’s a city council, community members, or city staff. Learn the art of persuasion through storytelling and enhance your ability to influence decisions and drive positive change.

11 - 11:50 a.m. - Breakout Session 1B: Beyond Self-Care: Lessons from the Joy Lab

Presenter: Dr. Henry Emmons

In health care, the goal of treatment is to get back to one’s baseline. In self-care, the goal is to maintain health and well-being. In Joy Lab, we make the case to go beyond these worthy aims, toward a life that is flourishing. If one is thriving, our theory goes, then there is less room for stress, anxiety, or depression to take root.

In this breakout session, we will explore the science behind the Joy Lab experiment, the lessons we have learned over the past three years of doing both a weekly podcast and an in-depth program, and practical applications to help you develop the elements of joy in your own life.

12 - 1 p.m. - Lunch

1 - 1:50 p.m. - General Session: Conscious Inclusion at Work

Presenter: Sybil Dunlop

This 50-minute training will cover the fundamentals of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as present the compelling operational case for investing in diversity, equity and inclusion and eliminating unconscious bias. It’s not enough to aim for increased diversity. Organizations only fully realize the benefits of diverse teams when they eliminate bias and forge a culture of inclusion. These factors are shown to increase engagement. And higher engagement has an effect on productivity, team morale, and retention. People working in inclusive workplaces also tend to have better physical and mental health.

This engaging and energizing presentation discusses how bias is affecting us at work. This session also highlights the latest research on how to limit the effect of bias and ensure that your workplace is inclusive.

2 - 2:50 p.m. - Breakout Session 2A: Applying Lessons to Our Work

Presenter: Sybil Dunlop

Effective unconscious bias training activities ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’.  We will explore our own biases together (me too!), and then this session will help us put our new diversity, equity, and inclusion knowledge to work, focusing on real-life examples, your workplace, and ways we can be leaders in this space.

2 - 2:50 p.m. - Breakout Session 2B: Advocacy and Self-Actualization: A Panel Discussion on Speaking Up for Ourselves and Others

Presenter: Women in the Profession Committee

Self-advocacy is about sharing your story and communicating the value you bring to an organization. However, women typically have a harder time with self-advocacy out of fear of being seen as aggressive or difficult. Hear from panelists as they discuss how they’ve created their story and share how to empower other women in local government.

3 p.m. - Work-Life Balance Activity - 5k Run/Walk

5 - 5:45 p.m. - Reception

5:45 - 7:30 p.m. - Celebrate Public Service Dinner and Awards Program

8 - 10:30 p.m. - President's Reception

Friday, May 3

7 - 9 a.m. - Attendee Hot Breakfast

9 - 9:30 a.m. - ICMA Credentialing and Update

Closing General Session: Forging Connection Through Story

Presenter: Kevin Kling

Human beings have always used stories to cope, heal, and find connection with each other. Challenging experiences can lead to unexpected and meaningful outcomes if we are willing to remain open to them. Kling's near-fatal motorcycle accident left him partially paralyzed but expanded his heart in ways he could never have imagined. He will share his own and other’s healing stories, inviting the audience to travel with him through portals that lead him out of crisis and onto new pathways.

10:30 a.m. - Grab n' Go Snack or Box Lunch


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