Taking the Field: A Time for Education, Networking, and Gathering

Rose Vaughn Williams, NCLM Executive Director

At the NC League of Municipalities, all roads lead to CityVision 2024!

Our annual conference serves as the League’s ultimate congregation of education, networking, ideas sharing, and relationship building for our member cities and towns. It is where emerging issues are discussed. It is where valuable connections are formed. And it is where we can all, as a League, gather in one place and learn from one another. It is an exceptional event, and I cannot wait to see you there.

That is not to say, however, that CityVision is the only time that we pursue these goals. In fact, the mission of education and relationship building are always front of mind.

Towards education, we announced late last year our revamped AML Certificate Program. This program tracks and recognizes your education credits, earned by taking courses in our AML curriculum. From Council Academy to New Mayors School to HR 101 to Municipal Fiscal Training, all aspects of local leadership are covered through the AML education catalog—and you all have responded with tremendous support! Keep an eye on our event calendar to see the trainings coming near your town.

We are also in the middle of the Essentials of Municipal Government courses—a massive biennial education effort, put on with our close partners at the UNC School of Government. These offerings are invaluable to newly elected officials who are seeking a comprehensive understanding of their new role. This year, the Essentials courses will take place in five locations over ten total days, and will host more than 400 local elected officials!

There’s then the relationship building component of our work. Of course, that takes place through the above educational events too, when mayors, councilmembers, managers, and clerks sit alongside their statewide colleagues and discuss issues, problems, and solutions. But we also aim to provide networking opportunities more directly and with leaders at both the local and state level. To that end, we have our upcoming Town and State Dinners: From Jones Street to Main Street.

Typically offered in Raleigh (and with nearly 600 attendees last year!), we’re taking the show on the road in 2024. Town and State Dinner gathers local elected officials and state elected officials over a reception and a meal, and proves each year to be one of our most successful engagements. State leaders get a chance to learn about the issues impacting our local governments, local leaders get a chance to meet and converse with North Carolina’s lawmakers, and true, lasting relationships are formed that help move our state in the right direction. Town and State Dinners will be offered at five locations across NC in 2024—don’t miss it!

All of the above—the education, the partnerships, the networking, and the gathering—culminates at CityVision 2024. It’s where we bring it all together. For two-plus days in late April, more than 600 people will gather in Winston-Salem. They will learn, through multiple keynote addresses and 16 educational sessions, all of which offer credit towards our AML Certificate Program. They will network, sharing best practices and discussing pressing issues that affect both the east and west, urban and rural, and mountainous and coastal.

And most importantly, they will simply be together. Each year, I am astonished at the value of this event. I see relationships form in April that result in real, on-the-ground results later in the year. I see elected officials from all over the state put their heads together to address problems and create real solutions for their communities. North Carolina is only as strong as our cities and towns, and our cities and towns are only as strong as our local leaders. As you embrace education and the power of networking, you are continually improving not just your own capacity as a local leader, but also your community itself.

As always, I am proud to lead this organization and to serve you—our selfless and dedicated local leaders. I look forward to our busy spring calendar, to meeting our new elected officials and to gathering again with our experienced leaders. See you at CityVision!