Indianapolis – Regional Networking Conference

Assistance League® of Indianapolis hosted a successful Regional Networking Conference, on Monday, October 2nd and Tuesday, October 3rd. The theme of the well-attended gathering was “Connecting at the Crossroads of America”. The conference was sponsored by Healthcare Initiatives, Inc. and Patterson Dental. Participants came from the chapters of Birmingham, Chicagoland West, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Metro Columbus, Mid Missouri, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, National Office, Southeastern Michigan, St. Louis, Triangle Area, Wichita as well as Indianapolis.

Co-Chairmen Susan Kwiatkowski and Trish Severns spent eight months organizing and planning the event. Together with their committees, they created an informative opportunity for attendees to renew acquaintances and make new connections. Hours of work went into finding an appropriate venue, crafting items for welcome bags, planning an interesting agenda, cooking for the Monday night dinner at the Kwiatkowski home, printing name tags, assigning break-out sessions and engaging speakers.

In the afternoon of the first day of the conference, participants were divided in two groups which simultaneously took turns touring the AL Indianapolis chapter office and the Northbrook Warehouse that houses Operation School Bell®   After explanations of the AL Indianapolis philanthropic programs, guests had the opportunity discuss their programs and how they operated. Many thoughts were shared, and hopefully some of the ideas discussed will prove useful for various home chapters.

On day two of the conference, Cathy Weimer, President AL Indianapolis welcomed all and introduced the keynote presentation, “Connecting to Purpose and Building Belonging”. The interactive talk, given by Beth Perdue Outland, Vice President of Leadership Indianapolis, succeeded in waking everyone up for a day of informative presentations and breakout sessions. Outland was immediately followed by Peggy Cotter, AL Minneapolis/St. Paul and Barbara Condra, AL Kansas City who jointly spoke on “Approachable DEI”. During lunch, Sandy Ross, National President/Board Chair and Matt Zarcufsky, National CEO, spoke to the group.

Prior to the afternoon’s breakout sessions, Karen Mollohan, AL Kansas outlined her chapter’s experience during her talk, “Basics of Bylaws Compliance Understanding State and Local Regulations”. Participants then attended sessions they chose when they registered for the conference. The presentations included, “Expanding Your Fundraising Capabilities”, “Membership- Making the Most of our Greatest Resource”, “Member Enrichment: The Value of Educational Moments at Regular Meetings”, “The Power of Marketing and Media for Non-Profits”, “Leadership Development: Barriers and Strategies” and “Roundtable Networking Discussion: Literacy and Scholarship Programs”.

Breakout presenters enthusiastically shared insights regarding their topic. The majority of speakers were from AL Indianapolis and included: Amanda Congrove, contracted grant writer; Janine Bercovitz, VP Membership; Judy Tomke, Past President and current Policies Chairman; Barb Kulsrud, Lisa Plank, Literacy co-chair;  Susan Seet, Literacy co-chair;  Amber Pirtle, Advisory Council Member and Ann Marie Shambaugh, Advisory Council Member. Other presenters were Julie Singer, financial advisor and Board of Directors member of United Way of Central Indiana; Jane Marschner, AL St. Louis and Karen Altergott Roberts, Family Sociologist, Purdue University (retired).

The members of AL Indianapolis sincerely welcomed the chance to show guests some famous “Hoosier Hospitality”.  It is hoped that what was learned and the connections that were made will help regional chapters grow and enable them to continue to serve their communities. Attendees are looking forward to another networking conference in the future.