Here Come New Ideas From Conference

National Association of Professional Organizers 2017 Conference

National Association of Professional Organizers 2017 ConferenceNAPO 2017 In Pittsburgh

Where do I begin!  The conference was a blast! NAPO 2017 in Pittsburgh had fun, education, and networking at every turn. I have a lot of new ideas that will strengthen my business, I have new goals to reach for, and I have strengthened bonds.  

I thought I would go through some of the highlights.  If you don’t follow me on social media, you missed the action in real time.  If you do follow me on social media, you saw the behind the scenes of this post.  

The conference was held at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh.  It was a beautiful hotel with a lot of revolving doors and a strange elevator system that I couldn’t tell if it was more efficient or not.  I wish I had taken a picture of the system.  You selected the floor from the outside and were assigned and elevator.  It was very confusing at first and once you were on if your floor wasn’t lucky enough to have been selected you had to get off on another floor to access the elevator.  It took us all a while to get used to it.

Pittsburgh view from westinThe room had an incredible view. My savvy roommate and co-presenter, Christine Moline, of Dashboard Priorities called ahead and requested a river view.  I heard some had a beautiful view of the A/C units.  Christine used a combination of Trip It and Yelp to figure out how to get us the best accommodations.  I learned travel tips galore from her that I can’t wait to pass on to clients.  I was honored to have presented with her and lucky to have roomed with her.  

Reset Your Home: Time and Technology Strategies

Christine and I presented Reset Your Home: Time and Technology Strategies.  It took a lot of preparation and overcoming anxiety around public speaking, but we got it done, and we kicked some ass. Here we are after the presentation.  We are a little confused on where to look because I was testing out a new feature in the New Android OS.  Once you get Android 7 (Nougat), you can hold up your hand to take a selfie.  It sets a timer.  It’s a neat feature.  

I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  There was so much that happened before our presentation.  Here are those highlights…

Pittsburgh, the little I saw of it, was an exciting city.  We were in the Strip District according to my weather app.  HAHAHA!  Funny how information comes to us.  I walked the strip, and if it hadn’t have been for the beer and burger joint in the hotel, I would have explored more of the restaurants and bars within walking distance.  I did make the trek to a cute little gourmet market. All the food looked so delicious at the market, but all I could think about was the beer and burger joint in the hotel.  I had sliders and a black and blue.  Both delicious but the Junk Fries at Bill’s are a must have.

Junk Fries Bills burgers pittsburgh

They load them with pork and bacon and sour cream and chives and so much more.  I ate about half of that pile.  That’s a raspberry stout in the background from a local brewing company.  It was delicious, but the standout drink at Bill’s Burgers was the Bramble.  Bourbon, Elderflower, and Creme de Cassis. It was a great night cap.  

Enough about the food.  Let’s get to the networking.

Networking at NAPO 2017

As soon as I landed, I ran into Hazel Thornton.  I love her blog and her wit.  I’m lucky enough to be friends with her on Facebook, and she was on my have to meet list.  As I was grabbing my luggage, I heard, “I recognize you by your hair.”  I turned and there she was.  I was so happy to see her and of course get a hug.  I was lucky enough run into her throughout the conference.  Jamie Steele Hazel Thornton Expo Reception

Hazel was also a presenter at the conference.  She presented a Ted Talk Discussion on Networking for introverts.  I consider myself an ambivert.  Networking tends to bring out the introvert in me.  My biggest take away from Hazel’s session was to set an agenda and give yourself permission to leave once your goal has been achieved.  I put this into action immediately.  I met those I intended to meet and stuck to small groups of conversation.  The largeness and the information at the conference can be overwhelming.  I took many breaks outside to get some fresh air.


The Blogging Organizers Meetup at the Expo was another chance for me to knock some of those names off my list of people to meet.  These lovely ladies support each other in all things blog related. The group is run by Janet Barclay of the Organized Assistant.  She couldn’t be with us this conference, but she was there in spirit. 

napo austin pittsburgh conference 2017

One of my favorite parts of the conference was getting to hang with my NAPO-Austin colleagues.  They were so much fun to be around, and we strengthened relationships as we took in all the knowledge and fun of conference.  There is a ton of organizing talent in this picture!   

So what about the sessions.  We’ve talked about food, fun, and networking.  The sessions were amazing this year.  They are always amazing, but this year, in particular, it was hard to choose which ones to attend. 

NAPO 2017 Sessions

It all started with the Key Note from Jones Loflin.  He was oh so funny, which Key Note Jones Loflinmade his opening remarks thoroughly engaging.  I loved this quote from his speech, “If we are out of touch with ourselves we will never touch others.”  Self-care was a theme throughout the conference sessions, including the session Christine and I presented.  We must tend to our needs to help others.  In other words, “Put your oxygen mask on first.”

media pitch

 The next session I attended was How to Get and Keep Media Attention presented by Paula Rizzo and Terri Trespicio.  Did you know I wanted to be on TV?  I love being in front of the camera.  I discovered that after doing the Brain Chase Videos.  I like the reach that a televised audience could bring.  My goal is to become the time and tech guru of Austin.  I am excited to work on my first pitch.  Paula and Terri carved out time during their session for us to get a head start crafting a pitch.  I learned so much, and I am excited to reach this goal.  

4 ds of email management I then attended Eliminated Email Overwhelm for You and Your Clients presented by Jennifer Stewart.  It was a great refresher course on helping clients create folders, rules, and filters to make processing their email more efficiently.  I learned that on apple mail you don’t have in boxes you have mailboxes and so much more.

The next session I attended was Bridging to Corporate Organizing & Productivity presented by Heather Cocozza.  She brought it home that residential organizers can work in a corporate environment even if we don’t know what Agile is.  Organizing a supply closet is no different than organizing a closet in a home.   So another of my goals is to bridge that gap and get into some corporate organizing.  If anyone needs help with their desk that would be a great “In” for me.  Then, rave about me to your bosses.  I’m ready to take on your departmental projects.

After that Christine and I were up with Reset your Home:  Time and Technology Strategies.  I swear we had more than two people to present to.  Rest your home was all about running your household with the aid of technology to save you time.   We covered how to take care of yourself by silencing distractions, how to automate communication so families can stay on the same page, and how to simplify search with the aid of technology.  After the session, I felt kind of like a celebrity with all the congratulations and people seeking me out to tell me what they had taken away.  

With the relief of having our presentation done, we were able to enjoy the president’s reception.  I can tell you one thing for sure.  Organizers love to dance!  I wish I had some pictures to show of the dancing.  I’m thinking about taking some lessons, so next year I will get up and boogie with them.  I was too focused on the food get out there.  It was fun to watch the excitement with my fellow wall-flowers.   

The final day of the conference consisted of two more sessions.  The first I attended was Bridging the Gap Through Virtual Organizing presented by Sheila Delson.   I was so pleased to learn that I already have the tools for Virtual Organizing.  I have been offering this service for about a year, but have not been able to convert it to a paying client.  Virtual Organizing is for those who can complete homework based on an action plan we determine together.  I also learned that Virtual Organizing could be ideal for those who may not want an organizer going through their items with them.  I had never considered that option before.  

communication agreement client modaities judith kohlburghThe final session of the day was Tell Me More! Leveraging Client Modalities presented by Judith Kohlberg.  Client Modalities means how clients learn and take in information.  The role of the organizer is to listen and learn from the client.  The communication agreement that Judith Kolburgh discusses in the talk is something I am going to share with all of my clients.  Especially the point of being realigned if I have not heard you correctly.  I think this lovely tidbit is going to be adapted and go into my client agreement so my clients understand that I am there to not only get them organized but to hear them as well.

Ideas Galore

It was a packed conference, and I have so many new ideas that I can’t wait to implement.  I have a lot of work to do including a revamp of my website to more accurately represent the services I offer.

To celebrate the end of the conference, I got one more treat from Bill’s Burgers.  It was the peanut butter bomb shake.  Yes, that is a sparkler in the milkshake.  It was so fun and so decadent I’m going to have to find its compliment in Austin.  You can think of it as your reward for getting to the end of this post.  🙂   

Peanut butter bomb bills cafe pittsburgh

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