Let’s Create Some Good

Earlier this week, TAP sent me to attend the Create Good Nonprofit Communications Conference in Durham, North Carolina, and let me tell you: I left ready to create some good.

When I arrived in Durham on Sunday evening, I couldn’t help but notice some parallels to Fargo. It’s a growing city going through a renaissance period, it’s a college town with a lot of local restaurants and bars, and it has an active arts scene — all with a twist of southern charm (not to mention the much warmer weather).

Even though the conference wasn’t specifically for arts nonprofits (most attendees were not from arts organizations), I appreciated that the conference coordinators, Dawn and Brian Crawford of BC/DC Ideas, encouraged us to check out the art around the city in our free time.

Conference organizers encouraging us to see art!

The conference itself was even held in the Durham Arts Council building, so I had to discipline myself to socialize and network rather than constantly check out the art (I did so only somewhat constantly)!

Breathtaking public art in downtown Durham.

Over the course of two days, I got to meet and listen to influential people doing extraordinary things. Some speakers I got to hear were Kivi Leroux Miller of Nonprofit Marketing Guide; Shanelle Matthews from Black Lives Matter; Twanna Hines of AndAction.org; Agatha Szczepaniak of the National Audubon Society, and many more people creating good in our country. I appreciated that all of the speakers were down-to-earth and easily approachable.

Shanelle Matthews, Director of Communications for Black Lives Matter.

One of the best parts of the conference, though, was getting to meet people with whom I had a lot in common. Most of us are self-aware introverts, we all know how much of a rollercoaster nonprofit life can be, we could bring up Gantt charts in regular conversation without blinking an eye… but most of all, we all have passion for what we do — and want to be better at it.

One of my personal favorite moments was at the closing seminar where we were talking about how we sustain the work we do and what inspires us. One woman, who worked for an organization that helps people with addiction and has battled addiction herself, said art helps her cope. After she was done sharing her story, I had to raise my hand and say, “See, that’s exactly what inspires me in my job — knowing that the arts matter, and they’re making a difference for people.”

By the end of the conference, I had personally met people from nine different states (of the 20 states represented). Most people hadn’t met someone from North Dakota before, so I was proud to represent both TAP and our state.

I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned to help The Arts Partnership create some more good.

I sincerely want to thank Dayna for encouraging me to attend this conference — and Jeff Knight for letting us know about it. It helped me get out of my shell and realize I have a lot to offer this amazing organization.

Let’s do this!

Oh, I also competed in the lip sync battle royale on Monday night and almost won.

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