NCBC Conference Reflection - By: Monica Yepes, 2018 NCBC Scholarship Recipient
This is conference was truly a remarkable and rewarding experience. Once again, I am truly grateful for the NCBC scholarship program and support from my court in allowing me to take advantage of the NCBC conference and all that is has to offer. I absolutely recommend becoming a member and taking advantage of all the benefits!
NCBC Conference Reflection - By: Sandra Mohammad, 2018 NCBC Scholarship Recipient
So many informative and interesting speakers where do I start? The conference started on Sunday with MSU classes with our first speaker being our one and only San Diego Clerk of Court, man that wears many hats, trainer, mentor, and winning game show contestant, Barry Lander. The required classes for MSU were Vision and Strategic Planning followed up with a 3-part series for Education and Training Principles. I also attended a few breakout sessions such as Retirement & Withdrawal Considerations for TSP. I was very interested in the AO speakers regarding information on our budget, filings, and cybersecurity.
The class for Vision and Strategic Planning was focused on creating a vision, a mission, and a strategy to accomplish the goals of the court. The class concentrated on how we can better achieve our desired results. We need to ask, “Where does the organization need to be to achieve its vision, mission, and goals?” The benefits of strategic planning are reducing surprises and maximizing the ability to manage change. Without strategy the project would exist without boundaries and deadlines which is not efficient or realizable.
In addition to the conference there was also time for fun activities. Times Square was a busy little area filled with bright lights and interesting characters but I would have to say my favorite place of all time was South Manhattan. I thought the highlight of the trip would be attending the New York Yankees game but I was wrong. Nothing can compare to visiting One World Trade Center, museum and 9/11 memorial. I was so moved by the labor and dedication that went into making this memorial so unforgettable.
In addition to the speakers and “fun activities” I would like to give a special thanks to all who put this conference together from Regina Thomas, outgoing NCBC President to all involved that made it happen. Huge thanks goes to the Clerk of Court Vito Genna and the NY-S court for hosting this event in their great city. You all did a tremendous job!
NCBC Conference Reflection - By: Kelly Reaves, 2018 NCBC Scholarship Recipient
During my coursework I learned about a variety of tools that I can apply in my day to day job duties. While participating in the Education, Training and Development class, the instructors provided detailed examples of how to engage employees and make them more open to change. I have to admit, when the teacher started off asking the class, "WiiFM" (what's in it for me), my mind immediately went into defense mode. However, after a more engaging conversation it became clear that perception plays a vital role in an employees career. Instead of looking at that question under a negative light, you can tweak the outlook and rephrase it to match a personal goal you may have. Education, Training and Development isn't always a comfortable topic to discuss but with courts consolidating services and reducing staff, it's imperative that clerks get onboard with advancing their skills.
Overall my experience at the 2018 NCBC conference was extremely positive. The conference continues to be a wonderful forum to meet new people and share ideas. The Bankruptcy Court has such dedicated staff and to be able to network with everyone is truly amazing. Thank you New York for another enlightening conference!
NCBC Conference Reflection - By: Meredith Klassen, 2018 NCBC Scholarship Recipient
I found the conference venue, business meetings, plenary speakers (those Water Coolers – I’m still laughing!), info-sharing, breakfasts and social gatherings to be especially enjoyable. And, in addition to the obvious benefits of personally connecting with the nationwide court community to share information and ideas, my participation in the conference enabled me to renew old friendships and cultivate many new ones.
This year’s conference, for me, was centered squarely around the final two courses I had to complete to advance me towards my non-credit certificate from Michigan State University. The “Visioning and Strategic Planning” course, which was facilitated by the always engaging Barry Landers, was very relevant to my current job responsibilities. In the short time since the conference concluded I have already had opportunities to tap into the techniques I learned as a student in Barry’s course. And the “Education, Training & Development” course, taught by Stephanie Hemmert and Phyllis Drum, helped clarify and define the process of identifying, preparing and delivering effective educational programs for adult learners. But the icing on the cake was the 5-minute team presentations delivered at the end of this course – it turns out bankruptcy court clerks have many unique and hidden talents!
Thank you to the NY Bankruptcy Court for the Big Apple hospitality, and for organizing and executing an enormously fabulous NCBC conference.
NCBC Conference Reflection - By: Toni Elam, 2018 NCBC Scholarship Recipient
I joined the Boston Bankruptcy Court in early 2016 and immediately joined NCBC. The 2018 Conference was not only my first Conference, but also the first “real” time I spent in New York City. [I was there once before for a couple of hours with about 2000 motorcycles from the New England area paying tribute at the site of the 9/11 tragedy—another story for another day]. Anyway, WOW! - Not just NYC, but Times Square! Amazing feat, NCBC Committee planners!
On arrival day, Sunday, our hosts treated us to a wonderful reception of food and drink in the grandeur of their beautiful Courthouse. This was the perfect opportunity to begin meeting and greeting counterparts and colleagues in other Districts and Courts across the country. I had the opportunity to meet Clerks, Judges, Case Administrators and AO personnel from not only New York, but from Delaware, D.C., Colorado, and Utah, to name just a few.
The first full day, Monday, started with the Opening Ceremony and Welcoming Remarks, followed by Peer-to-Peer sessions. Each session I attended was interesting, informative, and some even highly interactive and fun. The Plenary sessions were captivating. The Water Coolers, a New York City improvisational group, through skit and 80’s songs, poked fun at routine office situations, such as “calling the help desk, being the only one called into a meeting and office paranoia. Making presentations with confidence, collaboration and focus were other topics they addressed. If you ever see this listed on the NCBC website, tune in and I promise you will find it as enjoyable as we did. The second plenary speaker was the esteemed, Amy E. Herman, who has worked with the FBI, NYPD, Dept. of Homeland Security, hospitals, churches and many more organizations. She demonstrated to us through images of paintings, photographs and sculptures, how our perceptions, biases and assumptions may play a role not only in how we see certain situations, but also in our decision-making. She says that the “art of perception,” is, in part, “to tap into an ability to see what’s there that others don’t, to see what’s not there that should be.”
The energetic Maryland team of Mark Neal, Clerk and Thomas Kearns, Deputy Clerk conducted, “Motion to What? Bankruptcy Law Made Easy for Court Personnel…or Your Money Back.” Packed with information, this electronically interactive course included information about the Bankruptcy Code and the procedural rules we use and follow every day. There were discussions relating to the advantages and differences in the filings of the varying bankruptcy Chapters and what each Chapter does for debtors and explanations concerning the power of Chapters 7 and 13 for secured and unsecure creditors and claims and the factors that determine creditor priority.
I also attended a class entitled, “How Rude! Etiquette and Manners for the Workplace or Anywhere Else.” The principals of etiquette and manners do not change from situation to situation, however, how we apply the rules and extend the meanings can. Julie Owens, Eastern District of Missouri, led a fun class reminding us that the etiquette principals of manners we begin to learn as children, then bring into our adult lives, should translate in our professional lives. “Consideration, Respect and Smiles are fee to give and receive.” Barry Lander, San Diego Clerk of Court, took us on a musical journey in the course, Presentation Lessons from the Broadway Stage. We enjoyed listening to music from several Broadway plays to understand song placement and their function in the art of storytelling. This helped me to understand how to bring presentations to life by utilizing a structure similar to that of a Broadway play. If we plan a beginning, a middle and an end, in other words, tell our story or presentation by first creating interest, then maintaining that interest, our “finale,” will be effective and much more memorable. There were over 50 different sessions and educational opportunities offered at this year’s conference and I have only briefly summarized a couple of the offerings I attended. The abundance of information available and shared was amazing and I only wish time permitted me to attend more courses.
In closing, again, I thank all those who made it possible for me attend this year’s Conference and many thanks and much respect to all who work to put together such a professional, educational and social conference. It was a pleasure to network and meet so many great people who all play a role in our courts running smoothly. I hope I have the opportunity to participate more actively with NCBC, attend more conferences and just as important, that I get to see all of you soon.
NCBC Conference Reflection - By: Veronica Magno, 2018 NCBC Scholarship Recipient
I was blown away by “The Water Coolers,” the opening plenary speakers at the conference. They were fantastic! They were very entertaining with their singing talent and comedy sketches about everyday challenges we all face at work, such as dealing with annoying co‐workers, the panic of accidentally sending an email, and never‐ending meetings. I also enjoyed and learned a lot from one of the breakout sessions I attended called “How Rude! Etiquette and Manners in the Workplace or Anywhere Else,” by Julie Owen. I can definitely apply what I learned not only in the workplace, but also in my personal life.
I have had valuable learning experiences and have enjoyed meeting and networking with both new and familiar faces from across the judiciary. I have learned a lot from the information that they have shared with me and I was able to share my own experiences as well. It is interesting to see how the other courts do their work. Attending the NCBC conferences has also strengthened the bonds that I have with staff from my own court.
Overall, the conference was educational and a very valuable experience for me. I would like to thank the NCBC Scholarship Committee and my court for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference this year.