Interview by Marsha Vinson
- How would you sum up in one word – Your experience at this year’s state conference in Naples?
- Did the conference setting contribute to the meeting’s success?
The Ritz Carlton Naples Conference Center offers spacious meeting areas. Yet, it was very comfortable and convenient to access attendees.
- Were you overwhelmed or intimidated interfacing with League leaders and attendees?
Everyone was very friendly, helpful, and well informed. No matter where you sat in a workshop setting or at a Plenary Session, you were able to immediately strike up a conversation with your neighbors.
- How would you describe the participation of state League Leadership throughout the convention?
President Patti Brigham did not disappoint in terms of her enthusiasm, involvement, and knowledge of the League statewide. League leaders kept the meeting at a quick but manageable pace. Ben Friedman, Director and State Gun Safety Chair was especially entertaining as he led the delegates through the Issues for Action. State Treasurer Mark Songer made the state budget very easy to understand.
- Was there involvement with LWVPBC Leaguers attending the conference?
A key benefit of the conference was interfacing with our own members outside of Palm Beach County. It was obvious that we definitely were successfully acting as a team (and will continue to do so!). For LWVPBC Issue Chairs, the opportunity to share League experiences, goals, and plans was invaluable. Our President Ken Thomas moderated a packed South Regional Meeting that was so popular (standing room only) – it was moved to the main ballroom!
- Were the workshops worthwhile?
Home Rule and Preemption are definitely Florida-centric and State Director Michelle Levy truly added clarity to these perplexing issues. Meeting Ben Friedman and hearing him detail the status of Florida Gun Safety and more has provided momentum for the PBC Gun Safety Issue Group. The Orange County Leaders In Action presentation targeting millennials (25-39 years old) and Gen X (40-54 years old) offers the LWVPBC a new direction in building an engaged membership. The originators of this innovative program provided a roadmap of how to cultivate influencers, create interactive social media strategies, and plan successful repeat events including Wednesday Workshops and Conscientious Happy Hours. Within small groups, all workshop attendees eagerly participated in a Civics Trivia game designed on Kahoot!, a game-based platform.
- Were you well prepared for the state conference before leaving for Naples?
Christine Gabor displayed her organizational, planning, and motivational talents in preparing our large LWVPBC group for the quick pace of the conference.
- Going forward, will the conference impact your performance as LWVPBC Gun Safety Chair? Will you attend more state events?
Attending a state conference allows a League member to see the BIG picture or at least a significant piece of the BIG picture in terms of what we need to accomplish with the 2020 election looming in front of us. Participating at state level, even regional events, is essential for gaining the inspiration required to achieve League goals.