Prep like a pro: Ten tips for maximizing your Annual Conference and Expo experience

Sep 8, 2021

The League of California Cities will hold the 2021 Annual Conference and Expo at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, September 22-24.    

Preparing for the League of California Cities Annual Conference and Expo in advance is a necessary ingredient to creating a valuable and memorable experience. Cal Cities has compiled a list of tips to help get you back to in-person events and ensure you get the most out of your time.

1. Bring your vaccination record and review our COVID-19 policies

Cal Cities and its partners have implemented measures to support the health and safety of everyone attending the conference. Attendees should note these requirements before attending, which include providing a COVID-19 vaccination record or a negative test result completed 72 hours prior to entry and wearing a mask while indoors. Registered attendees will receive information about the requirements via email, which are also available online.

Those who would like to submit proof of vaccination or a negative test in advance of the conference can do so online. You can also prepare by locating and scanning your vaccination record. If you are not vaccinated, schedule a test to ensure you have proof of negative Covid-19 test, which must be completed within 72 hours prior to entry.

2. Attend pre-conference activities

The Annual Conference and Expo doesn’t just start with the Opening General Session on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.! We encourage attendees to arrive early for a session by the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Economic Forecast Project Director or to complete the AB 1234 Ethics Training. City Clerks can earn an extra CMC/MMC Advanced Education Point by attending the City Clerks Workshop that morning as well. If this is your first time attending the conference, please join us for a special orientation at 12:45 p.m.

3. Plan to attend your department meeting

If you’ve never been to a department meeting at the Annual Conference and Expo, you are missing out! Department meetings are made up of city officials in similar professions throughout California. Attendees discuss the issues they are facing, hear timely legislation updates, and find common ground which propels their work on unified department goals and sets the course for positive change within their communities.

4. Review the session descriptions

This line-up of sessions may be hard to choose from: Take some time the week before the conference and pick from the 45 options. Go one step further and connect with colleagues also attending to split up the most popular sessions. Then, following the conference, meet up and discuss what you learned.

All session materials will be posted online as soon as they are received.  Bookmark the Annual Conference and Expo webpage so that you can easily pull up the presentations you want to see. Extra pro-tip: Reviewing the materials in advance is an excellent way to decide if you want to attend a session!

5. Decide which networking events to attend

This conference is not just about the presentations. There are loads of opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing, such as the Host City Reception, CitiPAC Leadership Reception, diversity caucus events, and division events. Between scheduled activities, you will certainly find yourself meeting and exchanging ideas with people from across the state. Decide who you want to meet in advance and don’t forget a stack of business cards. 

6. Register for your division event

Each region of California has unique challenges and opportunities; many of Cal Cities’ 16 regional divisions meet during the Annual Conference so that members can share and reflect on issues impacting their region. City officials, both elected and professional staff, work closely with Cal Cities regional public affairs managers to develop and carry out grassroots activities. For information on your division event, contact your regional public affairs manager.

7. Review the annual conference resolutions and proposed bylaws amendments

Policy development is a key part of Cal Cities’ legislative effectiveness and annual conference resolutions are one way that city officials can directly participate in the development of Cal Cities policy.

Resolutions focus on direct municipal issues of statewide importance and can be submitted by any elected or appointed city official, individual city, division, department, policy committee, or the board of directors. Find out more about the process and the proposed resolutions. This year voting delegates will also consider proposed bylaws amendments to enhance Cal Cities’ governance and effectuate technical changes.

Each city council designates a voting delegate to represent their city during the General Assembly. Cities may also appoint up to two alternate voting delegates who may vote in the event the designated voting delegate is unavailable. If you are a voting delegate or alternate, make sure to check in early at the conference at the voting delegates booth in the main lobby of the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento.  

8. Visit the member services desk

Cal Cities members have access to a wealth of information and opportunities that help them better serve their communities. Visit the member services desk for information on services available to you and your city, which include legislative and advocacy efforts for cities, professional education, and how to share information with colleagues throughout the state in similar professions.

9. Find exhibitors and League Partners in the Expo Hall

The Annual Conference and Expo is the largest event in California that connects city officials with organizations and businesses that support municipal activities. With more than 155 exhibitors, the Expo Hall is a must-stop destination during the conference. This year, an exclusive Speed Session area is in booth 316 in the expo hall.

Cities receiving a 2021 Helen Putnam Award can also be found in the Expo Hall. Stop by the winners’ booths for some exciting ideas to take back to your community.

10. Pack smart and plan for getting around

Attending any conference can be exhausting. For starters, you’ll do a lot of walking! Thank yourself later by planning now. Pack comfortable shoes, extra masks, your vaccination record, and chargers for mobile devices.

As an added bonus, attendees will get a Cal Cities-branded reusable water bottle when they check in at conference registration. Please allow extra time to pick up your conference badge at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center prior to arriving at your first event. 

For more information about individual sessions, including session descriptions, dates, and times, visit the Annual Conference and Expo webpage. Please note, sessions and speakers are subject to change. For additional information, contact conference registrar Megan DunnRegister now to ensure your preferred accommodations.