Friday, August 7, 2015

Professional Development & Getting the Most Out of the ASAE 2015 Conference

Conferences are great for learning new ideas from both your peers and your mentors.  The ASAE Annual Meeting is the place for all nonprofit professionals to learn more about their profession.  This year's meeting has a special place in my heart for two reasons:

  1. I am lucky enough to be able to attend.  
  2. It's location.  Detroit
Nonprofit professionals are used to doing things on either a shoestring or very limited budget.  This budget is also limited for their own professional development.  I consider myself lucky that my organization is allowing me to go.  An added bonus is that nonprofit professionals are really cool people.  You know these people - they are passionate, driven, and dedicated to the causes they work and volunteer for.  They will stay up late stuffing envelopes, or doing "other" duties as assigned.  The energy and excitement from the learning is nothing short of inspiring.  

Detroit - oh how I love thee.  No, I really do.  True story - a few years ago I met a great man who hails from motor city.  Throughout our relationship we have had the opportunity to visit this great city on several occasions.  The reason: NFL football.  We live in the metro Washington DC area, but my ever loyal boyfriend is a fan and season ticket holder to none other than the Detroit Lions.  This is a team that has NEVER won a SuperBowl.  They have also been to very few playoff games.  As a champion of underdogs, and underserved, I reluctantly also became a fan.

The city of Detroit, much like their football teams has seen better days.  Automobiles were made here from start to finish and were shipped across the country to dealers for sale.  The Detroit Lions are still owned by one of the great automobile families: Ford.  Ford Field is a fantastic indoor stadium with modern amenities.  In case you didn't know, Michigan is cold.  This is why it's great that this stadium is indoors because in the middle of the winter when it's frigid, it's a comfortable 70 degrees inside. When we go to a Lions games, all the fans are on their feet when the opposing team has the ball.  The crowd noise can be deafening and many fans have lost their voice in the hopes that the "12th Man" will help decided the game.  While the season has not started, Ford Field is definitely worth checking out to any and all ASAE attendees.  

Detroit dining options are nothing to sneeze at.  In no order of preference here are some of my favorites and "musts" for every visit in Motor City. 

  1. Roast - it's a bit pricey but the meals here are unforgettable.  They also have a delightful craft cocktail menu.  
  2. Lafayette Coney Island or American Coney Island either one of these chili dog places are affordable and a delight for your tummy. 
  3. PizzaPapalis deep dish pizza that will make people from Chicago envious.  No serious, my boyfriend's brother is from Chicago and he loves this place.  Also they have great wings and other food as well. 
  4. New Parthenon Restaurant - large portions and Saganaki - they light your cheese on fire and yell "OPA!" You may feel like an extra in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" but both your belly and your tastebuds will be pleased as punch. 
I hope you're as excited as I am to experience the "D" at ASAE 2015.  Please say hi to me if you see me at the conference.  These conferences are a great way to connect with people in the same industry. 

See you tomorrow Detroit! 

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