I love the Socialbrite annual roundup of top non-profit and social change conferences. So I thought I'd do one for government. Yes I know this is probably going to be a brutal year for conferences - but I still believe there's huge ROI in going to focused conference training on your niche as it'll increase your productivity.
A little on my thinking - I tried to focus on the big ones that happen every year and have becoming must-attends for certain segments of government audiences. I also tried to focus on either events I've attended that I loved or ones I've heard unanimous great praise. In one sense, as budget gets tighter for conferences, we all need to double-down and make sure we are only going to ones that truly add lots of value for agency productivity.
So here’s our roundup of conferences in the government space coming up in 2013.
California Public Sector Academy - I'm a big fan of folks at Government Technology - a state/local magazine (discosure - I write a monthly column there). Every year they go on a roadshow and host IT academies in partnership with a number of large states. California is the largest in February but check to seeif they are coming to your state
ESRI Federal User Conference - Numerous companies have great annual government conferences for their users - honestly, it's too many to list them all but I encourage folks to check them out as they are very targeted, practical, and useful (some examples -Google,Symantec, Microsoft, Amazon, GovDelivery, etc). One of the favorites of the GovLoop team is the ESRI federal user conference (as they say we "drank the kool-aid"- we love Jack, had an amazing visit to Redlands, love the product, and always learn something cool)
GSA Web Managers Conference- This event was cancelled last year but I've only heard amazing things about it. Run by Howto.gov folks at GSA, this is the web event created by and for federal web managers. Even if doesn't happen this year, I'd encourage you to check out howto.gov as they put on great regular webinars, workshops, and #socialgov unconferences
NextGen+ LA / Boston - We are launching half-day version of NextGen+ in coordination with some of the best Young Government Leaders chapters. Super excited to be going to LA and Boston in late April.
National Association of Government Communicators School- Are you in public affairs or communication shop? This is the event for you - great cross-mix of federal, state, and local government communication leaders. I spoke one year and really enjoyed my time.
FOSE- This is the mecca of tradeshows. Think huge exhibit floor with tons of exhibitors plus lots of break-out sessions. Probably the biggest of all government events I've ever been to. I always love cruising around the hall seeing the latest tech from all the exhibitors (and some sweet free swag too)
American Association of Budget Professionals Spring Symposium - The best association for budget professionals in government. They host both a spring & fall symposium that are great.
GSA Expo - Tens of thousands of folks come to learn from GSA schedule holders in a massive expo floor as well as get great acquisition training that meets various DAU and Clinger-Cohen requirements.
Excellence in Government - In the last couple of years, Excellence in Government has moved from a 2-day event to a series of 1-day event throughout the year (this being the May event). The folks over at GovExec always have great quality content, speakers. Check it out
Society of American Indian Government Employees Training - Great association for American Indian government employees - this is their annual training event. I've never been but heard great recommendations for it.
Next Generation of Government Training Summit- Yes, I'm biased as I help organize this event. But honestly it's awesome and nothing like it. It's 600+ Gen X/Y government leaders packed for 2 days learning together. More than great speakers, it just has an awesome energy of folks passionate in improving government.
Federally Employed Women National Training Summit- I spoke at this event a few years back. Yes, I was wondering going in if I'd be allowed but it was an awesome environment and I was amazed at the audience - over 4,000+ attendees go every year to learn on key topics and bound with fellow female government leaders.
International Open Data Conferences - Hosted by fine folks at data.gov and World Bank, this is the best event for the open data community.
National Contract Management Association World Congress- I'm never been but I've heard this is the go-to event for acquisition professionals.
Blacks in Government National Training Conference - The leading training event for African-American government leaders - this is the annual conference for BIG, a great association.
Government Open Source Conference - The event for government open source leaders. They've hosted this in a couple different fashions (as separate event, tied to larger event) but always a must attend. Also look out for NASA Open Source Summit's which are also great (and sometimes tied in)
National Association of Government Webmasters Annual Meeting- I'm ashamed to say I've never been but Andy K on GovLoop team has been 3 times and it's his favorite event of year. Why? He says it's a community reunion - there's a lot of love between the hundreds of government webmasters who come every year and a generosity of sharing lessons learned that's awesome.
International City/County Managers Annual Event- How many conferences reach their 99th year? Very few - this is the 99th anniversary for the largest association for city and county managers. I've heard this is basically a must-go if you are a city/county manager
International Public Management Association for Human Resources Conference - Where are my HR folks every September? They are at IPMA-HR - another great mix of federal/state/local employees - it's the place to get smart on workforce issues for HR leaders.
ACT/IAC Executive Leadership Conference - Most people agree that this is the #1 senior IT event of year. ACT/IAC is a great association that I've been involved with since joining their Voyagers leadership program. I've been to this event 3 times and I love the setting (Colonial Williamsburg) and I've made some great friendships in this remote setting.
ASTD Government Workforce - The folks at ASTD and Public Manager put on a great conference targeted to HR and training officials in government.
Code for America Summit - Are you a lover of all things #gov20 #opendata #civicinnovation? Then this is for year - this will be the 3rd year and this event is the go-to for folks in civic innovation. Situated in San Francisco, it's a great mix of gov't innovators as well as entrepreneurs in San Fran region
National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration Annual Conference - This is the must-attend for MPA/MPP college advisors. Great resources and tips on graduate degree accreditation as well as sessions on getting your students into government.
National Association of State Chief Information Officers Symposium - NASCIO is the go-to place for state IT leaders. They host both a mid-year and a larger annual event in October
Partnership for Public Service Service to America Medals (SAMMIES) - I've only been once but this is the most exclusive event on the list - black tie event with really high level speakers (cabinet secretaries). What's cool is the event honors the best "doers" in government - the unsung heroes who are doing amazing work. Always amazing stories.
Other conferences and events
We can’t possibly list every conference in the world, but if you know of other great events that should be included here (or if you see anything amiss), please share in the comments below.
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