2022 GPA Conference Experience, by Madison Shampine

While, I’ve had many years of experience in development, I began my grant writing career in December 2021. Shortly after my arrival, my predecessor and grants mentor decided it was time to retire. I stepped into the Grants Manager role mid-2022 and knew I wanted to absorb as much information as possible in order to excel in this new role. The Grant Professionals Association became an important tool to my success. I was beyond excited to receive the GPA Conference Scholarship and was looking forward to attending my first GPA Annual Conference. What I did not anticipate was the networking this opportunity afforded me. As a self-described introvert, networking is not something I typically enjoy; however, this felt different. As a conference scholar we were given opportunities to engage with other scholars and GPA and GPF board members on a smaller and more personal scale. The networking breakfast was intimate and let us chat with other scholars, some just as new to the profession, as well as with board members and more experienced grant professionals.

The volunteer opportunity gave me a chance to give back to the foundation and to work side by side with others in the industry. The conference itself was incredible. The sessions were all led by professionals in their own field and provided attendees the opportunity to learn a variety of topics to increase our own capacity. I am still reeling at all of the people I met, making connections across the country (and beyond), and having conversations about our own niche in the grants world.

This was a wonderful opportunity and I’m grateful for the GPA and the GPA Foundation for providing this to us. I am looking forward to many more years of attending this conference. Thank you!