2022 GPA Scholarship Essay by Dabney Brand

There seemed to be many first-time attendees at the 2022 GPA Conference, including myself. That in
itself, is telling as to the necessity for conferences such as this, training, and new grant professionals.

Like others, I found myself involved in grants not as a career path. However, we can all agree we have
found our places here among amazing colleagues. I received a scholarship for 2022 GPA membership
through Grants Professional Foundation. I have utilized this year to familiarize myself with GPA, and the
many learning opportunities provided with this membership. In fact, I feel like there is so much learning
offered, I am barely able to keep up. The annual conference was one of those times. There were many
lectures at each time frame that I wanted to attend. The ones I was able to attend were very helpful and
bursting with information. It was a bit confusing as a first-time attendee with schedules and class
locations, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to navigate through the lectures, questions, and
discussions. There were some things I feel like I missed so I am hoping to attend next year’s conference
in person. I did enjoy the federal grant discussions the most since that is what pertains to my position. I
would have liked to have seen more of this. My favorite lecture was the OMB Update with Gil Tran. He
had a wonderful way to explain things with a jovial and kind attitude. I was very sad to learn this would
be his last time attending. I feel the conference was well rounded with lectures and would be beneficial
to anyone working in the grant professional field.

As I make it through my first year of membership, I can say without a doubt, that GPA and GPF have
helped me grow to a professional level that was not expected. I look forward to being a member for the
years to come and learning all there is to offer.