Reflections from a First-Time Leadership Connections Participant

by Melissa Nagengast

June 20, 2014

As a first time attendee of the McCormick Center’s Leadership Connections national conference, I arrived in Chicago excited about an opportunity to attend an event. It seemed more intimate than other national conferences I’ve attended, but that had speakers and sessions as respected and thought-provoking as the “larger” events offered to the Early Childhood Community. I was soon to discover that the McCormick Center would deliver!

The content of the conference should be highlighted as it was truly an early childhood leadership conference. I was particularly enlightened by the speech that Rob Dugger gave in the opening luncheon. His connection of quality early childhood experiences to the prepared and productive adult was such an inspiration for early childhood advocacy! There were so many quality sessions offered, and–while I can’t comment on all of them–I cannot go without mentioning my favorite which was presented by Dan Gartrell. Dan is an esteemed author and a truly amazing man. His session, Liberation Teaching: The Highest Form of Using Guidance in a Classroom, was awesome!

I was met by friendly, informative McCormick Center staff who were helpful in every way. The conference was highly organized. Each detail of the day was coordinated with the Westin conference center so that it ran smoothly and provided a relaxed atmosphere for attendees.

For those of you out there reading this who have never been to this conference, the last thing I would say is… if high quality speakers, great break-out session topics, comfortable location and attentive staff are not enough to entice you to attend then you might want to come for the food! I certainly did not go hungry! Thanks McCormick staff for a great conference! I hope to get back next year and bring some friends from Pennsylvania with me.

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