Conference Cruise 2004
October 7-11, 2004
The 2004 Annual APNA Conference in October was unusual. It was an unusual venue and had an unusual format. To everyone’s delight, the jury is in and the result is that it was a fabulous conference, full of learning, networking and fun.
The highlights: Instead of having a parade of speakers discussing various topics of interest to agency owners, we decided to examine thoroughly one agency that is going through growth pains and financial difficulties. We selected this agency from our collective imaginations and gave it a myriad of problems we all confront. Our fearless leader and guide, coaching us through our analysis was Jerry Osteryoung, Ph.D., a finance professor at Florida State University and the head of the Entrepreneurship Program in the College of Business.
We had lectures (yes, even on a cruise boat!) and then organized ourselves in groups, each spending group time to come up with solutions to help “Oceana Naniczar” (aka Stephanie Breedlove – quite an actress!) and her distressed nanny agency overcome her difficulties and sail into profitability. The exercise enabled us to learn from Jerry and then use these lessons to impact employee management, financial management, and business planning. At the end, we presented our findings, and Interestingly, each of the work groups came up with different solutions.
But all work and no play…
Feedback over the years (after each of our annual conferences) showed a strong need for participants to have more time to meet, learn from, and network with other agency owners. I think we succeeded.