The Monday before the first official day of the conference gave attendees a chance to pick up their registration materials and get settled into the conference hotel, the beautiful Denver Marriott City Center. Students enrolled in the Michigan State University Judicial Administration program also enjoyed a full day of educational courses in Human Resources Management, Information Technology Management, and for the first time, an MSU/NCBC Faculty Development workshop for those interested in conducting training for the NCBC or MSU. At each NCBC conference, MSU offers two different courses as part of its certificate program in the area of judicial administration. Students in the program gain education and exposure to the various aspects of court management and administration. Monday evening featured a welcome reception at the historical Byron White United States Courthouse, where attendees got the opportunity to network and meet with fellow Bankruptcy clerks from across the country, forming new friendships and reconnecting with familiar faces.
The first day of the conference included an opening ceremony and welcoming remarks from Kenneth S. Gardner, M. Regina Thomas, NCBC President, the Honorable Timothy K. Tymkovich, Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Honorable Michael E. Romero, Chief Judge for the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Colorado. Chief Judge Romero also opened the ceremony by singing the National Anthem. Following a presentation by the Honorable Karen E. Schreier, Judicial Conference Committee Chair for the Committee of the Administration of the Bankruptcy System, attendees were simultaneously entertained and challenged by motivational speaker, Craig Zablocki. Mr. Zablocki posed a question about how often we are held back from accomplishing things because of fear of what other people think. He urged us to look at the example set by young children who are fearless and jump into trying new things with both feet without fear of negative repercussions. To help the audience overcome these fears, he urged everyone to ask ten strangers questions while expecting to receive a “No” response. Over the course of the week, he said, we would be surprised at how many of those expected “No” responses would turn out to be “Yes!” responses instead.
The various informative breakout sessions offered during the week included such topics as TSP and retirement planning; presentation skills; new technologies in the courts; managing “difficult” people; IT applications, internal controls and finance; social media in the courts; developing leadership styles; and soft skills training on topics such as work-life balance, memory skills, developing positive habits in the workplace, working in a multi-generational workplace; and much more. More information on the specific breakout offerings at this year’s conference can be found here.
Tuesday afternoon also featured the annual Information Sharing Session, where exhibitors from local courts brought new programs, applications, and other innovations to share. Special thanks to everyone who participated for showcasing your work and talents! In the evening, attendees had the opportunity to attend an exciting baseball game featuring the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres, which was won by the home team.
On July 19, attendees attended the NCBC Program, featuring updates from AO Associate Directors James R. Baugher, Laura C. Minor, and James R. Peters as well as Dana K. Chipman, Education Division Director from the Federal Judicial center.
This year’s closing NCBC Dinner event was held at the beautiful History Colorado Center where conference attendees and their guests were treated to a wonderful tour of the museum, which featured artifacts and exhibits illustrating the rich history of the state of Colorado. Before dinner, the group gathered in the museum lobby for annual group picture. A wonderful dinner was served and music and dancing concluded an evening of fun, fellowship and the celebration of another successful conference!
On the final day of the conference, attendees gathered for the NCBC business meeting, where the annual election results were announced. Congratulations to returning Board of Governors member Teresa Underwood (OHNB), who was elected to a second term, and to Eileen Garrity (MAB) and Matt Brittain (NCMB), who were also elected to the Board of Governors. Shannon Morris (GANB) was elected as the new NCBC Secretary. Clerk of Court Matthew T. Loughney (TNWB), provided an update from the Bankruptcy Clerks Advisory Group. Board of Governors Member and Awards Committee Chair, Mona Sparks (KYEB) recognized several courts and individual members for their special service and outstanding accomplishments in their local courts and in the bankruptcy community by presenting them with awards on behalf of the NCBC. We were also privileged to hear from Lee Ann Bennett, NCBC Past President and the new Deputy Director of the AO. Lee Ann thanked the NCBC membership and credited her work with the association for giving her the opportunity to do work that led her to her new position. She assured everyone that she would do her best to listen to the concerns of the Bankruptcy community. Vito Genna, Clerk of Court for next year’s host court gave a fun presentation to get everyone excited for next year’s conference in the “Big Apple,” New York City!
To wrap up the conference, plenary speaker Craig Zablocki followed up with attendees about his assignment from earlier in the week. Many shared surprising “Yes!” responses from their questions when they were expecting a guaranteed “No” answer. One member shared that her Uber driver said yes when she asked if she could drive his car; another shared that he had asked a server at a local restaurant for a discount and she obliged. After hearing several responses, he tied our collective experiences back to a three-tiered lesson about letting go of negativity and embracing new experiences and possibilities: 1) unlearn fear by replacing it with action, courage, and love; 2) unlearn worry by planning ahead, and 3) unlearn ego by getting more embarrassed. He also expressed the importance of taking a moment to show appreciation for those around us.
Overall, attending the conference was an immensely educational and valuable experience for all. For more information on the 2017 NCBC Conference and additional photos, please visit the 2017 NCBC Conference Website.