The Northeast Regional Conference for Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NERCPO) began in 2015 as the brainchild of then NAPO-CT President, Seana Turner and NAPO-CT Director of Professional Development, Susan O’Connell. Their thought was, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know our neighboring NAPO chapter colleagues?”
What an idea it was, and no one knew at that time that it would become a BRILLIANT idea!
An email immediately went out to nearby chapters asking, IF we planned a day to meet and get together, IF the day was convenient, IF the time was convenient, IF the venue was convenient, IF the fee was affordable, would they be interested in attending to mingle and share ideas over coffee or lunch?
The response was an overwhelming YES!
The work begins
In less than 6 months this ambiguous Meet & Greet idea had a name, a venue, an agenda, 3 speakers, vendors, donations for goody bags and raffles, games, and discussion group questions. Website registration was set up and email blasts were sent out to alert neighboring chapters that NAPO-CT was on a roll and actively sponsoring NERCPO — Northeast Regional Conference for Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
The first conference was held on the top floor of Atria Senior Living in Stamford, CT (parking, breakfast, lunch, prizes, and CEUs included). NAPO-CT members were behind this uncharted project and fully committed to its success. With our fingers crossed, we were expecting 25 attendees. As it turned out, the room was crowded, to say the least. It was evident that we would have to acquire a larger facility if we planned to continue.
NERCPO continued – 2016-2019
Continued we did! In 2016 we relocated to the UConn Campus in Stamford and acquired a room that would hold 100+ attendees along with two hallways for the hospitality table and the vendor fair, space for breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages, and plenty of comfy sitting areas for the breakout sessions.
UCONN events coordinator laid out the initial rules: We had to be out of the facility by 5 p.m. with doors locked and alarm set, the number of vendor tables in the atria was limited by fire code, no moving tables, no taping posters to the walls, etc. At the end of the day and attendees were gone, NAPO-CT members were equipped to show the UCONN events coordinator we knew what we were doing. Members chipped in for cleanup duties leaving the facility spotless and orderly to ensure we were welcomed back the next year.
The following year, the UCONN rules were a bit more lenient as we were recognized as an efficient, well-organized event. We can have any shape table or arrangement we want in the main meeting room and have 25 tables for vendors and food in the atria. And we didn’t need to be out of the building by 5 p.m.
Word spread about this exciting, affordable, educational event. Each consecutive year we grew in numbers and welcomed participants from all around New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The stage was set for an annual event and the procedure manual was written to maintain consistency year after year under the direction of Susan O’Connell, long-standing NERCPO Chair.
Then, the year of Covid-19
Then, 2020 hit! Our first reaction was to cancel the conference due to restrictions and consequences of the spread of the coronavirus. Sad as that was, we vowed to keep NAPO-CT members and potential attendees safe.
By March 2020 NAPO-CT was holding monthly meetings on Zoom which got us thinking! Why not have a virtual conference where masks were not required and no need to travel? Okay, members, who has any idea how we can do that?
Let’s start researching!
Well, NAPO-CT has some fantastic members who simply said, “Let’s start researching!” And research we did! Within a few months, thanks to our super TechTeam, we had it all pulled together and orchestrated right down to the minute. With the expectation of 120+ attendees, we were ready to rock ‘n roll.
History in the making
On November 14, 2020, history was made as NAPO-CT successfully launched the first virtual Northeast Conference for Productivity and Organizing Professionals — NERCPO 2020.
A HUGE SHOUTOUT to the NERCPO TechTeam and NAPO-CT Business Partners and Vendors. What a fantastic group!
It appears that NAPO-CT puts on a seamless event, and perception is what matters. We want attendees to sit back and enjoy the show. The feedback we received let us know we succeeded in establishing the best regional conference in the northeast.
Since the beginning, attendees may never know about the glitches, elevator malfunction, cold coffee due to non-working outlets, running to Dunkin Donuts at 7:30 a.m. for coffee for 100+ attendees since the coffee cans didn’t make it into the car with the other supplies, 50 goody bags left in the dining room that were speedily driven to Stamford by a family member, to assembling the TechTeam and hiring a tech expert as a backup for our first Zoom NERCPO. Yes, it may appear seamless, but thanks to the diligence of NAPO-CT members, we climbed the mountain, scaled the cliffs, and enjoyed the view from the summit. Attendees, keep the feedback coming as it boosts our morale and propels us to do even better next year.
NAPO-CT offers a professional, affordable, educational, business building, brainstorming, networking, fun day with easy travel and parking, good food and prizes too!~2020 NERCPO Attendee
Over the years, the word NERCPO was passed along by word of mouth. It grew because NERCPO attendees and chapter colleagues were seeking education to better serve their clients. NAPO-CT provided that education and robust networking. Attendees spread the word that NERCPO was the place to be. Attendees yearned to meet and learn from colleagues and NAPO-CT made it happen.
I want to be in the room where it happens!~Aaron Burr in Hamilton
Still, in the midst of uncertainty, NAPO-CT decided to hold NERCPO 2021 on Zoom one more time. Date: November 6, 2021. Back to work for the TechTeam to figure out how we can make this virtual conference even better. Attendees asked for more and NAPO-CT gave them more.
The 2021 Conference reached beyond the Northeast down the full eastern coast to Florida and across the country to Texas, California, Oregon, and Washington. The agenda was astounding as we added another keynote speaker for 2 CEUs and an industry insight section. And, there was Seana’s famous game (although a bit harder with lots of statistics), a virtual Time Capsule from the past 6 years, small group breakout sessions, and the famous raffle prize spinning wheel complete with confetti and clapping.
Next year we sure hope to be back in person with the pandemic quarantined days, masks, and social distancing behind us. See you all on November 5, 2022!
Back to basics
As we expected, the same question followed NAPO-CT into the new year — do we attempt to hold NERCPO in person or should we revert to Zooming again? The general consensus of the NAPO-CT Board was a “Strive to be live!” attitude. So we forged ahead knowing we could reverse gears to zooming if needed.
Wahoo… NERCPO was a live production at the UConn Campus in Stamford. Attendance began soaring and NAPO-CT pulled together a terrific cast of speakers, Seana’s “Who Is It?” game, discussion group, vendors, food, and lots of networking. Once again, NAPO-CT produced a high-quality conference.
2023 – NAPO-CT and the NERCPO Committee Announcement
NAPO-CT Board and NERCPO Committee wish to express their deepest thanks to all attendees over the past 8 years. Attendees, by your presence and warm feedback, you are the ones that made this conference a success.
But, now it is time to take a break. We will rethink options and opportunities and see what we can do in the future. Stay tuned! There is more to come.