The National Association for Court Management (NACM) is committed to providing quality educational opportunities to court administration professionals. Joshua Larsen shares his experience as a scholarship recipient at NACM’s 2022 Annual Conference.
Sunday, July 10
I arrived in Milwaukee after a short two-and-a-half-hour drive from Dubuque, Iowa. In reviewing the agenda ahead of time and seeking to immerse myself in as much of the conference as I could, I reached out to Rick Pierce and inquired about the leadership seminar offered Sunday afternoon and asked if I could participate, and he graciously agreed. The seminar was titled Leaders Teaching Leaders, Leading in Turbulent Times, with Jeff Schrade and Todd Brower from the National Association of State Judicial Educators.
Together with this cohort of respected court leaders, we discussed and answered very thought-provoking questions like, would you hire Elon Musk in the courts? Why or why not? We talked about situational, transformative, and servant leadership and identified how we in the courts recognize and plan for change. We shared desired qualities in new hires and those same qualities in those who lead us. Finally, we talked about court culture, the culture we want versus the culture we have. It truly was an honor to be part of this discussion as it really set the tone for the conference and helped provide an icebreaker to meet court leaders that I would engage with over the course of the week.
Sunday afternoon I volunteered at the conference registration booth and was able to meet several National Center for State Courts staff, as well as others as they checked in for the conference.
After volunteering I attended the Early Career Professional and First-Time Attendee reception, which provided a casual environment and opportunity to connect with those I have participated with on committee calls or those I know by name but had never met in person. This event was followed by the Welcome Reception for all attendees.
Monday, July 11
Monday morning I volunteered again at conference registration before the opening plenary by engagement expert Paul Krismer. His high-energy interactive presentation started the day and conference off with great energy and momentum for what we aspire to do in our roles in the courts. We talked about increasing our happiness and building neurons in our brains by routine habits similar to brushing your teeth and driving a car. I followed up this session with his Leaders as Role Models session immediately after. An excellent lunch followed, along with my first experience seeing the NACM Board in action during a business meeting.
Following lunch I started on my goal of earning the CORE Champion certificate by attending Workforce I and Workforce II presented by speakers from the Minnesota Judicial Branch. We talked about succession planning and performance evaluations, including a new process for evaluations called calibration, which provides a setting for managers to share and discuss ratings before presenting to the employee to ensure the bias is removed.
Tuesday, July 12
Tuesday began with some announcements and the State of the Profession address by current NACM President Kathy Griffin. For the remainder of the day I continued with three additional CORE presentations—Operations Management, Educational Development, and Strategic Visioning and Planning. These sessions continued to build on the CORE model and provide a great foundation for someone like myself wanting to learn as much as I can in all areas of court administration. One of my favorite quotes during the vision session was, “as a court if you’re doing something as big as justice, you need a vision.”
Following our afternoon sessions and a brief check-in with my office back home in Iowa, I ventured to the Harley Davidson Museum, where I along with another Early Career Professional helped with the fundraiser bag-toss game that benefited our conference partner the Milwaukee Justice Center. This was a great outside environment on a beautiful evening to socialize with so many court colleagues.
Wednesday, July 13
The day began with an unplanned but very inspiring and informative visit to the Milwaukee Justice Center located inside the Milwaukee County Courthouse. There I met with several staff who are part of this incredible operation that is a joint collaboration and partnership between several local and state agencies, attorney offices, legal aid, and universities. Together they have made access to justice a priority and enhanced procedural fairness. They have reimagined spaces to better provide flow to their processes and created a warm inviting space for court users to resolve issues, answer questions, and better understand the steps in their court proceeding.
I then ventured to the exhibit hall to engage with several of our conference sponsors and learn more about the products they offer and how they can benefit the court operations we all work hard to improve every day. Layered on both sides of lunch were several different NACM committee meetings—Education/CORE, Communications, and Membership, which provided an opportunity to clarify my limited knowledge thus far of the committees and their structures, as well as interactions with each other. This gave me an opportunity to see where my interests might intertwine with a particular committee and the work they do. It also gave a much less overwhelming understanding of NACM as a whole knowing how committees function and how their work impacts members and services and resources available.
Thursday, July 14
On the final day, an awards session kicked things off for NACM’s most prestigious awards over the year. These awards recognized pioneers in the profession, as well as rising stars. It was great to see so many professionals rewarded for their dedication. It was always rewarding to see the NACM board take their oaths, hear their stories of their career paths, and hear the remarks of the outgoing and incoming NACM presidents.
The final session from Niel Ihde, an Iowa native by the way, touched on adversity and how we cope and ultimately overcome those events in our lives. ”Essential Tools for Challenging Times“ was the title and seemed appropriate given the continued challenges court professionals have been presented with; however, with challenges come great opportunities to forge a new and different path forward.
With that, I depart Milwaukee a much more educated and passionate NACM member ready to dig in when I get home. Thanks to everyone for the conversations, encouragement, and welcoming spirit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joshua Larsen is trial court supervisor IV, Iowa Judicial Branch.
The NACM Scholarship
NACM awards a limited number of conference scholarships for the Annual Conference. Scholarships will be awarded to pay for the scholarship recipients’ conference registration fee, or airfare/alternative transportation up to $500.00. Any current NACM member is eligible to apply for the NACM Conference Scholarship. Please complete the NACM Conference Scholarship application on NACM’s website at nacmnet.org/resources/scholarships-offered-by-nacm.
- Applicants must submit a letter of support from their court administrator, presiding judge, or other senior executive (see form provided with the application). The letter may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Applications will be reviewed by the NACM Membership Committee’s Conference Scholarship Subcommittee, which will then make recommendations to the NACM Board for approval.
- A scholarship recipient who subsequently leaves a position from their respective court before the event, or cancels their attendance for any reason, will forfeit the scholarship and will no longer be eligible to use that scholarship. Any costs incurred by NACM must be reimbursed by the scholarship recipient or sponsoring employer.
- Applicants must agree to volunteer for a minimum of three hours during the NACM Annual Conference. Examples of volunteer work include serving as a conference attendee greeter, serving as a host for a NACM educational session, assisting with the Early Career Professionals Fundraiser, or providing general conference assistance.
- Applicants must certify they plan to attend, in its entirety, the conference for which they received a scholarship.
- A written testimonial summary on conference benefits must be submitted within 30 days of the last day of the conference. I agree to allow NACM to use my testimonial and other material for NACM marketing purposes.