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The Best Government Conferences of 2015

There are so many worthwhile education, learning, and networking events for government employees in 2015. How do you choose? This list of the best government conferences will help you pick the ones that provide the richest professional development opportunities.

Since GovLoop’s last roundup of government conferences in 2013, there’s been quite a bit of turnover in events and conferences in the government space. GOSCON, the Goverment Open Source Conference, is on hiatus. In this time of doing more with less, we’ve also seen the cancellation of the GSA Expo for two years in a row, as well as the indefinite suspension of the FedForum, although the GSA Expo rumored to be returning sometime in 2015.

To make up for those and other missing events, below you’ll find shiny new events you might want to check out as well as established events that might be new to you. There are also plenty of the essential conferences that those working in government can’t do without.

As a bonus for the social media savvy, the listings include event hashtags, when available, for those who can’t attend but still want to participate in the virtual conversations.


California Public Sector CIO Academy 2015
February 24–25, 2015 | Sheraton Grand Sacramento, Sacramento, CA | #cacioacad
If you can score a spot at this invitation-only event, you’ll meet C-level professionals addressing the most important policy, management and leadership issues surrounding the future of digital government and the role of the public sector CIO in the State of California. Developed by and for government by Government Technology, which hosts other events around the country for those who can’t make it to California.

Cloudera Federal Forum
February 25, 2015 | Hilton McLean Tysons Center, McLean, VA | #ClouderaFed
Big data is, well, BIG, and this year’s event for Cloudera federal users is centered on how big data is changing agency outcomes. Speakers will talk about business and technical strategies that yield results, how government agencies can leverage big data platforms, and the transformative power of data analytics.


Transforming Local Government Conference
April 13–15, 2015 | Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, Phoenix, AZ | #TLG2015
Called “the premiere thinking conference for local government,” this event is hosted by the Alliance for Innovation and Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs, which has one of the top urban management programs in the United States. The conference attracts participation from local governments that are seeking new and innovative ways to connect people, information, and ideas that support their efforts to be the best communities in which to live, work, and prosper.

Symantec’s Government Symposium
April 15, 2015 | Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. | #symgovsym
A one-day event for government IT security and management professionals to discuss how to manage information, mitigate risk, and mobilize workforces to achieve big results. The 2015 conference will focus on topics including data optimization, legislation and policy, and security issues like insider threats, CDM, and risk management.

YTH Live: Igniting Youth Tech Health Innovation
April 26–28, 2015 | Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco, CA | #ythlive
YTH Live 2015 is the premier conference for trailblazing technology that is advancing the health and wellness of youth, young adults, and other underserved populations. Each year, leading public health officials, the brightest minds in youth advocacy, and tech sector innovators gather at YTH Live to showcase what works, share ideas and learnings, and launch new collaborations. (Disclaimer: YTH is one of my consulting clients.)

Government Social Media Conference & Expo (GSMCON)
April 29–May 1, 2015 | Reno, NV | #GSMCON
The first social media conference for U.S. city, county, and state government.

Federal Workplace Training and Expo
April 8-10, 2015 | Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.
For the last 8 years, this event has delivered quality training that thousands of federal civil service law professionals and practitioners have come to rely on! Federal Workplace Training and Expo covers the five core HR disciplines: EEO, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Human Capital Management, and Workers’ Compensation. Speakers include EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, Don Names, former CHCO of the Year Jeffrey Neal, Sue Wetherington and many more.


Excellence in Government
May 14, 2015 | Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington, D.C. | #EIG2015
Hosted by GovExec, this event provides government leaders with the tools and techniques to build the government of tomorrow.

Spring 2015 DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit
May 21, 2015 | GSA Central Office, Washington, D.C.
The second such event by the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies in the U.S. General Services Administration promises to explore how digital services—like mobile development, social media, APIs, data, and user experience—intersect and integrate to improve citizen services and reduce costs. The focus is on the potential of “open”: open data, open source, open content, open communication, open communities, and open governments.

Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) Bid & Proposal Con 2015
May 26–29, 2015 | Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Seattle, WA
The world’s largest event for proposal, bid, tender, capture, business development, and graphics professionals, including government contracting.

International Open Data Conference (IODC)
May 28–29, 2015 | Ottawa, Canada | #IODC15
The annual event is all about enabling the data revolution. Each year, experts and advocates from around the world gather to take stock of the rapid evolution of the global open data community and help chart its future.


NAGC Communications School
June 2–4, 2015 | Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel, Memphis, TN
Hosted by National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC), the communications school provides networking opportunities and practical educational sessions to help government communicators increase their skills. It attracts a mix of federal, state, and local government communication leaders.

Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) National Training Program
June 15–18, 2015 | Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, Welch, MN
This multi-day program offers professional development, leadership, and topics that are integral to the highly complex relationship known as the Federal Indian Trust Responsibility. It includes special training sessions for veterans and youth, a federal Indian law course, and cultural events presented by local native people.


Federally Employed Women National Training Program
July 13–16, 2015 | Hilton Riverside, New Orleans, LA
This stellar event includes sessions, workshops, and speakers that can provide essential skills to help women working in government service build successful careers and cultivate opportunities for advancement.

Next Generation of Government Training Summit (NextGen)
July 20–21, 2015 | Renaissance, DC Downtown Hotel, Washington, DC
Hosted by GovLoop and Young Government Leaders, the NextGen summit educates, inspires, and promotes innovation and positive growth for Generation X and Y leaders in government. More than 600 youth leaders are empowered to use their inspiring passion and energy to improve government. (Disclaimer: Just in case this isn’t obvious, I blog for GovLoop.)

Esri User Conference
July 20–24, 2015 | San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA | #EsriUC
The Esri User Conference has long been a favorite at GovLoop. It’s a conference designed for users of the Esri platform and for those who want to learn more about geographic information systems (GIS), data visualization, and other geospatial applications.

World Congress 2015: The Innovative Edge to Contract Management
July 26–29, 2015 | Dallas, TX
Over 1,600 professionals in working in contract management, procurement, and acquisition attend this annual event hosted by National Contract Management Association’s (NCMA).


Blacks In Government 2015 National Training Institute
August 24–27, 2015 | Hilton Orlando, Orlando, FL
The leading training event for African-American government leaders, hosted by BIG.

The 30th Annual FDR Training
Aug. 3-6, 2015 | JW Marriott Desert Ridge, Phoenix
For three decades, thousands of federal HR, EEO, diversity, employee/labor relations and ADR practitioners have turned to FDR for unparalleled training and the unique opportunity to interact with government leaders and industry experts, Sessions span five educational tracks: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Equal Employment Opportunity, Executive Perspective, Attorney/Legal, and HR/LR/ER. Attendees can focus on one track or mix and match sessions from them all — making FDR a truly customized training experience.


Salesforce’s Dreamforce
September 15–18, 2015 | San Francisco, CA | #DF15
A massive conference for users of Salesforce’s CRM platform and tools, with over 150,000 in-person attendees. In addition to the general sessions relevant to any Salesforce user, the conference also has several sessions designed specifically for government and public sector organizations. Check out 2014’s public sector sessions.

National Association of Government Web Professionals Annual Conference
September 22–25, 2015 | Hyatt Downtown Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM | #NAGW2015
Designed for local government web professionals, the NAGW conference focuses on the professional development opportunities for programmers, designers, developers, managers, PIOs, CIOs and government technology professionals at all levels of experience.

International Public Management Association for Human Resources Conference
September 26–30, 2015 | The Denver Marriott City Center, Denver, CO
Suited for all levels of human resources professionals, from executive management to HR specialists. The event is open to members and non-members of IPMA-HR.

ICMA Annual Conference
September 27-30, 2015 | Seattle, WA | #ICMA15
The ICMA can rightfully boast that this conference has been going strong for 101 years. It is the largest annual event in the world for local government managers and staff.


ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference
TBA | Williamsburg Lodge, Colonial Williamsburg, VA
This annual event is considered the premiere collaborative and learning event in the government IT community. You must be a ACT-IAC member in order to attend. The ACT-IAC hosts three other events during the year, including a Management of Change conference in May, a Small Business Conference in April, and the Acquisition Excellence event in March, in partnership with the GSA.

National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration Annual Conference
October 14-16, 2015 | Brooklyn, NY
This is the must-attend event for MPA/MPP college advisors. Great resources and tips on graduate degree accreditation as well as sessions on getting students into government.

National Association of State Chief Information Officers Symposium
October 11-14, 2015 | Grand America, Salt Lake City, UT | #NASCIO15
NASCIO is the go-to place for state IT leaders. They host both a mid-year event in April and a larger annual conference in October

Not Yet Scheduled

The dates for these annual events have not been announced:

Other Government Events

You’re out in the world discovering fantastic events for government workers all the time. What events and conferences do you attend that should be included on this list? Add your suggestions in a comment at the end of this post.

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and trainer. Find her on Twitter at @girardinl.

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Lauren Girardin

With the Obama Administration’s focus on cybersecurity as a priority, that sounds like a timely conference. Thanks for sharing, Gretchen.

Cindy Osga

Association of Government Accountants Professional Development Training, July 12-15, 2015; Nashville, TN
visit agacgfm.org for more information

Lauren Girardin

Thanks for sharing this conference, Maureen. When GovLoop does this list again for 2016, we’ll look back at all these comments to find even more government conferences to include on the list.

Patrick Fiorenza

Love these – wish I could go to everyone one of them! SXSW has a bunch of interesting sessions, many of which are public sector focused. I’ve never been, but would be another one I’d like to check out and see how the sessions are, even though not typically a public sector oriented conference.

Also GovLoop’s Virtual conferences are great as well – tons of good sessions to connect folks from all over the country. Might even be a cool post to list out the top virtual conferences of the year.


The Annual Training Conference put on by our association (the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association/NPELRA) for public sector labor relations professionals is fabulous. This year it will take place in Memphis, TN April 17-21. We have many other resources and training opportunities for labor relations and human resources professionals as well. Please let me know if you have any questions as I would be happy to give you more information. Check out http://www.npelra.org

Cheryl Speed

Although you have provided me with a helpful list of conferences and trainings, can you provide me with all the diversity conferences and trainings? Sponsored by the Federal Government.
Thank you

Michelle Olson

Hi – such a helpful list! What would be a recommended conference for HR who is a private employer with government contracts? Thank you in advance.