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Annual Conference Recap

Saturday, October 28, 2017  
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MISAC’s 16th Annual Conference, IT’s a Team Sport, Oct. 1-4 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, kicked off with a welcome by President Bryon Horn, who shared a greeting, schedule highlights and a preview of keynote speakers with the more than 440 attendees. He also welcomed new members, shared an overview of the organization’s growth in membership and event attendance and recognized active partners.


Special Guest Jim Lewis, City Manager of Pismo Beach, praised what members have to offer and encouraged members to communicate the value of the work they do with their city and agency leadership.


“Information technology is not about flashing lights and stuff,” said Lewis. “It’s about engaging citizens, making informed decisions and being efficient. If you can demonstrate hours saved per dollars spent, that will get a city manager’s attention every time.”


Lewis also shared that the State Board had spent several hours planning for the future of the organization, and predicted that MISAC’s next five years are going to be even stronger than the last, with a renewed focus on providing opportunities for all members to support the organization’s four pillars: relationships, member resources, education and professional development and advocacy.


In his opening keynote, Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast, Kevin Ciccotti discussed the value of culture—as he described it, the “shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterize an institution or organization.”


“As with any computer,” he said, “you have to understand the rules of the human operating system.”


Ciccotti challenged the group to be intentional about how they manage culture, and to create an environment that operates the way that people were designed to operate. The keys to a strong culture, he said, include relying on core values to shape decisions, listening generously and creating a sense of belonging and significance.


Ciccotti also made himself available for one-on-one coaching sessions for the remainder of the day on Sunday and all day on Tuesday.


Sunday’s activities continued with breakout sessions that touched on smart cities and drones, among other topics, and concluded with a tailgate and Sunday Night Football viewing party.


On Monday, the conference curriculum included keynotes by David Rabiner, who shared many insightful and humorous secrets to working with people, and Keni Thomas, who discussed leadership and team accountability based on his experiences as an Army Ranger and involvement in the Battle of Mogadishu. Amy Tong, Director of and State Chief Information Officer for the California Department of Technology, shared a lunchtime lecture on the leadership roles her office has undertaken and opportunities for partnership; and MISAC awards chair Mitch Cochran, Director of Information Technology for the City of San Bernardino, along with conference chair Tim Williamsen, IT Manager for the City of Petaluma, recognized MISAC’s outstanding award recipients.


“It takes more than flipping a switch to keep the lights on,” said Cochran. “These award recipients are doing an incredible job.”


The awards presentation concluded with special recognition to OJ and Sher Sutherland of Executive Events, who from 2002 to 2017 have worked tirelessly to develop and manage both the annual MISAC conference and the Partner’s Program, which has become MISAC’s primary revenue source, and to advise the Board.


Breakout sessions that afternoon and the following day included continued leadership-skills development for project management and a leadership style self-assessment, plus informative sessions on leading technology concerns.


The Hyatt’s convention center floor was transformed into a showcase of leading technology partners from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday morning. This always-popular event provided attendees opportunities to explore solutions to many pressing needs with a record number of 65 vendor partners for this venue.     


Tuesday’s lunch featured a legislative update from Hong Sae, CIO for the City of Roseville; Dillon Gibbons, from California Special Districts Association; and Dane Hutchins, from the League of California Cities.


On Wednesday, attendees participated in leadership and innovation workshops presented by Larry Wolff and Anita Leto of Oullette & Associates, featuring interactive exercises that gave participants effective tools and fresh perspectives to engage their organizations for better results. 


A warm thank you to all who attended and made this year’s conference so successful!


Click here to view a gallery of photos from the event.

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