Happy New Year! As we enter 2024, our events team is bustling with excitement and resolutions, including a commitment to healthier eating during conference travels. The calendar is almost set, and we're eager to spotlight the conferences that will shape our year.
Before diving into the future, let's reflect on 2023. Zencity had an exciting year – we rebranded, made the GovTech 100 list for the 3rd year in a row, and served nearly 200 million residents worldwide across more than 300 partner communities. We emerged from the rebranding process with a renewed focus and emphasis on facilitating building trust between governments and their communities.
The Zencity team embarked on a whirlwind tour throughout 2023, attending 40 government and public safety conferences across 15 states. Our globetrotting adventures expanded to new horizons – from Washington, DC, Mexico City, and Santa Barbara to Bournemouth, UK. In collaboration with our partner cities and counties, we hosted 9 speaking sessions, sharing case studies and learnings from our network. We were thrilled to share the stage with cities such as Austin, TX, and Hercules, CA.
This year, we are gearing up for dozens more city, county, and law enforcement conferences worldwide. The experiences of 2023 continue to resonate as we eagerly anticipate the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead in the dynamic landscape of local governance and public safety. Here's to a year of learning, collaboration, and positively impacting communities globally!
Here are our top picks for those looking to make the most of the best 2024 local government conferences to attend:
Local Government Hispanic Network Biennial Conference (LGHN)
Where: Mesa, AZ
Why? LGHN is the leading support organization for Hispanic local government professionals. This is a must-attend event held every other year, providing professionals with a rare opportunity to engage in pivotal discussions on Hispanic issues within local governance. Focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, this conference serves as an indispensable resource, ensuring participants are well-equipped to navigate the dynamic landscape of local government. We wouldn’t miss it! Especially since it's bound to be such an active conference with many walking tours in and around Mesa.
The National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) Annual Forum
When: April 3-7
Where: Baltimore, MD
Why? The Charm City is calling our names! We attended the NFBPA Annual Forum in 2022 and are thrilled to be heading back! NFBPA is the principal and most progressive organization dedicated to advancing black public leadership in local and state governments. With over 40 chapters, this organization is at the forefront of innovation and leadership development. We’re waiting with bated breath to find out who the signature speakers will be this year – NFBPA never disappoints!
When: April 16-18
Where: Palm Springs, CA
Why? We never say no to Palm Springs! This event offers an exciting experience for public sector professionals, focusing on the intersection of government and social media. GSMCON2024 provides a platform to stay updated on digital communication strategies, ensuring seasoned and new government communicators gain the knowledge and inspiration to enhance their agency's online presence and engage effectively with the public. Conferences are the perfect opportunity to catch up with partners, such as Nextdoor, with whom we launched an official partnership in 2023.
National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) Annual Conference
When: April 23-26
Where: Las Vegas, NV
Why? Who runs the world? Girls (well, women)! NAWLEE was established to support the advancement of women in all ranks and roles in the law enforcement profession – a mission we can get behind. The annual conference is a vital forum for women in law enforcement, providing an unparalleled platform for networking, professional development, and mentorship. We’re honored to support this organization!
ICMA Local Government Reimagined (LGR); Annual Conference
When: April and June; September
Where: Boston and Palm Desert; Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
Why? In 2023, ICMA “reimagined” its regional conferences (we attend all four!). This year, ICMA is “Embracing the AI Era” – something we happen to know quite a bit about! For us, AI isn’t just a buzzword; it’s what we do. We look forward to discussing how to tackle current and future issues facing local leaders and understand how community engagement will evolve.
We’re already counting down to Pittsburgh for the ICMA Annual Conference! Last year in Austin, we built the Zencity Community Park and enjoyed exploring the city. The ICMA team pulls out all the stops for the annual conference – enlightening educational sessions and sensational social events. The host city always finds a way to make us say, “Maybe we should move here?!”. See you in Pittsburgh!
When: July 23-26
Where: Detroit, MI
Why? NACCHO 360 is a new horizon for us. While we currently work with a handful of city and county health departments, 2024 will be our first year attending the conference. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know how important it is for health departments to put forth concise and clear communication and materials, as well as connect with their communities to foster trust. With six educational tracks, the NACCHO360 conference has something for everyone.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference
When: October 19-22
Where: Boston, MA
Why? The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference is undoubtedly the largest conference we will attend – over 16,000 people will make their way to Boston, MA, to experience the event. With thousands of law enforcement officials to meet, over 600 exhibiting companies to interact with, and nearly endless sessions to attend, attendees will surely have a packed schedule. We’ll certainly get our steps in at the convention center and around the city, ranked 7th in the US for walkability!
Where: TBA, UK
Why? In 2023, we attended the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Partnership Summit. Hosted each year in autumn, the Summit is the sole event each year that gathers Chief Constables, Police Commissioners, Deputy Mayors, police Chairs, and leaders from across the policing and criminal justice sectors under one roof. The purpose is to foster the exchange of ideas, share best practices, and facilitate transformative change. Will we see you there?
While we have a soft spot for planning strategically, we also like to sprinkle in a dash of unpredictability. It's become an annual tradition for us to end up at a conference we hadn't penciled into our schedule, and wouldn't you know it, those unplanned events tend to be the highlights of our year (talk about a delightful surprise!). Are there any hunches on which conference is poised to sweep us off our feet this time? Feel free to drop your predictions!