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Each year, hundreds of grant professionals descend upon a chosen city in November to discuss all things grants for our annual Grant Professionals Association Conference. This year, the conference was held at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa in San Diego. At the onset, I thought that trying to participate in valuable professional development sessions, demonstrations and networking opportunities while also at a resort spa in 70-degree weather, would be a challenge, it was also a positive. My next thought it, why do we have to separate business and pleasure? Here’s why:

1) Deepen Connections: Engaging with colleagues on a personal level allows them to get to know you and vice versa. Perhaps you are able to establish a connection when one did not exist before. This opens the door to further conversations (and hopefully collaborations) and shared learning.

2) Clear your Head: You might be able to think more clearly when you have some relaxation time – perhaps a blank slate will help generate some useful ideas.

3) Loosen Up: When you are more relaxed, you might be more open to feedback and ideas. This can include those who you might not have been on your radar.

4) A Family Affair: I know a number of people who brought family members to the conference. This helps engage people you love with the work that you love. I know it is difficult to explain to others about the work that you do (we do not simply just write grants….), so this is a good way to get them involved.

How can you make your work more personal and engage more people at the same time? I hope you can get more out of your next upcoming professional development or networking opportunity.

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