Friday, April 15, 2011

NAPO Conference Recap 2011

Last week I attended the 23rd annual National Association of Professional Organizers conference in San Diego, California. This was my first opportunity to attend conference, and I had high expectations for it. Not only was it voted the most valuable educational resource at the Los Angeles Organizing Awards two years in a row, but every single organizer I ever spoke with about conference always said it was one of the best, if not the best, things they did to support their business. So, I went it with high hopes for learning and getting inspired, and I can say that my hopes were met and exceeded.

There's really too much information about the event to write a detailed recap of everything I managed to pack in to a few days, so I want to give you a few highlights.

First, I want to extend a thank you to the NAPO members who volunteer their time to make conference happen. In particular I want to mention Scott Roewer, a Washington D.C.-based organizer who I had the pleasure of talking with at lunch one day, co-chair of the conference committee and chair the conference once again next year. Scott did so much to make the event memorable and his dedication really shows. He also brought the NAPO membership to tears on the last day of conference, when he spoke about his involvement with Soles4Souls, a non-profit dedicated to collecting used shoes and re-distributing to those around the world in need. You'll be hearing more about Soles4Souls from me over the next year as NAPO has been challenged as a group with collecting and donating as many shoes as we can between June 2011 and next year's conference in March.

More highlights:

Of the six educational sessions I attended, my favorite was probably Working with the Media presented by Jodie Watson, a NAPO-LA member with extensive media experience. She was highly encouraging and informative and made working with the media, from print to television, to promote our businesses seem manageable.

Of the three keynote speeches, superstar organizer Julie Morgenstern's was certainly inspiring, as she talked about the future of the organizing industry and how it is becoming more global every day. I also really liked Collette Carlson's keynote on sales being about truth and a state of mind.

I was thrilled to meet in person some organizers who I have read and interacted with online, including Janine Adams, who was even a NaNoWriMo buddy of mine one year, and Linda Samuels, the author of The Other Side of Organized, a great meditation on an organized life.

The Expo Hall had a plethora of booths for products and services germane to an organizer's practice. I really loved getting to see the Planetsafe Planners in person...for some reason I though they were paper day-minder type things, but they are actually large-format dry-erase wall calendars with lots of neat little features. I got a kick out of the StowNSee, a permanent glasses case for people who lose their glasses a lot, and I bought myself a Pouchee (review to come later).

Next year's conference will be in Baltimore and I plan to be there!

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email


  1. Lelah, thanks for the chance to re-live some of the conference highlights, including your shout-out to my conference roomie and accountability partner Janine "Awesome" Adams. Great photos, too! Did you take them?

  2. Hi Margaret, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I did take the photos...I posted more on my Facebook page. I'll bet that Janine makes a fantastic accountability partner!

  3. I met Janine at the POC Conference this fall, and I know exactly what you mean about the thrill of meeting someone face-to-face after knowing them online for months, or even years.

    I do hope to get to a NAPO Conference some day to meet you and many of the other professional organizers I've met through my blog and my work.