5 Survival Tips for the ONPHA Conference
Did you know that 2019 marks ONPHA’s 31st annual Conference? Whether you’re a Conference veteran who’s been with us since the beginning, or you’re new to the community housing sector, follow these tips to get the most out of your experience.
1. Get into the right frame of mind.
Working in the community housing sector can be demanding. The ONPHA Conference is your opportunity to take a step back from your day-to-day obligations and think strategically about your work and how we’re driving the sector forward.
Sure, you may have to respond to a few urgent emails throughout the weekend, but try to think of the Conference as your once-a-year getaway to think big-picture, knowledge-share with your peers, and even allow yourself to relax in your down time.
So turn on your out-of-office reply and try to leave your work at the office. It’ll still be there when you get back.
2. Remember to bring your business cards – and leave with a stack of new ones.
Place a post-it note on your door so you can’t miss this reminder before you leave: Do. Not. Forget. Business. Cards. Underline.
This kind of networking opportunity with over 1,100 community housing professionals and sector partners only comes around once a year, so don’t be caught without your information handy. Collect cards from delegates you hope to stay in touch with.
Pro tip: Jot down notes about the people you meet on the back of their cards to help you remember key details about who they are and what you discussed. This will be helpful when you call them up later.
3. Choose the right sessions.
With 60+ sessions, there’s no shortage of options at the ONPHA Conference. Make the choice easier on yourself by first doing a quick brainstorm. Ask yourself: Where are my organization’s pain points? What new projects, milestones or goals are on the horizon?
Then, browse our conference website to find the sessions that speak directly to your work.
4. Don’t skip the social events.
Not all of us are social butterflies – and that’s okay! If you’re an introvert who tends to steer clear of crowds, consider challenging yourself to attend at least one social event this year. The bus tours come highly recommended and don’t miss the Gala, our night of celebration.
These are great opportunities to make connections, swap housing stories, and get to know some new faces. You never know what new connections might benefit your organization’s work in the future.
5. Wear comfortable shoes.
A universal rule that applies to most situations – including this one. There’s a lot to see and do at the Conference so be sure you’re comfortable!
BONUS: Two things to do after the conference
Chances are you met a lot of new and interesting people at the Conference. Reach out to them within a week to touch base while the connection is still fresh.
Not sure where to begin? Share some follow-up thoughts on a session you attended together, or highlights from the event as a whole.
2. Share what you learned.
Now that your brain is filled to the brim with knowledge and new ideas, don’t keep it all to yourself – share it with your organization! Present your key learnings to your board and staff and discuss how you can put what you learned into practice.