2017 ICMA Annual Conference

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By Victor Cardenas

2017 ICMA Annual Conference
San Antonio/Bexar County, Texas
Oct. 22-25

It’s that time of year that all of us manager types begin to look down the road toward the upcoming Annual ICMA conference. You may remember my quick presentation at the MME conference in Kalamazoo earlier this year as I sat on the Planning Committee along with Jim Ritsema.  At that point, I knew the conference theme; “Building Bridges – Serving our Whole Community,” and the various tracks:

  • Contemporary Local Law Enforcement
  • Diversity, Inclusivity, and Social Justice
  • Emerging Technology
  • Preparing for and Managing 21st Century Threats
  • The National Divide
  • Career Tracks:
    • Assistant Managers
    • County Managers
    • Senior/Credentialed Managers
    • Small Community Managers

Well, now we know the fantastic line-up of keynotes that will enrich you while you’re in San Antonio:

Opening Session, 3–5 p.m
Rabia Siddique: Courage Under Fire

The Opening General Session of ICMA’s 103rd Annual Conference will feature an inspirational presentation by Rabia Siddique, a former war crimes and terrorism prosecutor, international humanitarian, retired British Army officer, hostage survivor, and mother of triplets. Rabia’s story of courage, strength, resilience, and her commitment to truth, justice, equality and authentic leadership, defines her. Having battled abuse, discrimination, chronic health problems and trauma, she is a fighter, trail blazer and an eternal optimist. Rabia’s story will inspire and motivate you, provide you with attitude and tools to empower, free you from whatever is holding you hostage, and enable you to display courage under fire.

Monday, October 23

Keynote 8:30–9:30 a.m.
Richard Florida: The New Urban Crisis

In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. One of the first scholars to anticipate this back-to-the-city movement in his groundbreaking The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida believes that the same forces that power the growth of the world’s superstar cities also generate their vexing challenges: gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality. Meanwhile, many more cities still stagnate, and middle-class neighborhoods everywhere are disappearing. Richard offers a compelling diagnosis of our economic ills and a bold prescription for more inclusive cities capable of ensuring growth and prosperity for all.

Afternoon Featured Speaker, 12:45-2 p.m.
Stephanie Meeks: The Past and Future City

Historic preservation isn’t about casting buildings in amber; it’s about keeping old places alive, in active use, and relevant to the needs of communities today. Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, describes the many ways that saving and restoring historic fabric can help a city create thriving neighborhoods, good jobs, and a vibrant economy.


Tuesday, October 24

Keynote, 8:30–9:30 a.m.
Anna Maria Chavez: True Moral Leadership

In 2016, Anna Maria Chávez was named by Fortune magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Propelled by a lifelong desire to transform the world through servant leadership, Anna’s career of public service led her to becoming the first woman of color to lead Girl Scouts of the USA as CEO, where she was cited for her vision and creativity in working to revitalize the organization’s brand for a new century. With a message centered on true moral leadership, Anna examines what it takes to empower women and girls into leadership positions.



Afternoon Featured Speaker, 2–3:10 p.m.
Bruce Katz: The New Localism: How Cities Triumph in the Age of Populism

With the rise of the politics of populism, how can openness and diversity survive? Bruce Katz, Co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, believes the answer lies within local communities. Citing many positive examples of how cities are taking the lead in dealing creatively with their local problems—even while the national government often is gripped in partisan gridlock—Bruce calls for a twenty-first century localism attuned to the needs of all citizens and with the potential to be not just a reaction but also an antidote to the rise of populism and nationalism across the globe.


Wednesday, October 25

Closing Celebration of Service, 8:30–10:30 a.m.
Simon Bailey: Leading Amidst Uncertainty

ICMA’s Celebration of Service to the Profession culminates with a presentation by leadership catalyst Simon T. Bailey, former leader of the Disney Institute and founder of the Brilliance Institute, Inc. Simon’s expertise equips leaders with tips, tools, and techniques to unleash the potential in your organization’s most important asset – people. In the context of change happening at the speed of light, requiring even the most senior leaders to reposition themselves and their organizations, Simon will share core principles for acquiring a forward-looking mindset and discovering the insight needed to be a leader for the future.



Most important – Hotel reservations can be made online beginning June 28 at 12 noon EDTI strongly encourage you to be online at your desks at that time (this means you Dave Bowyer of Farmington Hills).  Any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Enjoy San Antonio!

Victor Cardenas, Assistant City Manager
City of Novi

Victor Cardenas has served as Novi’s assistant city manager since 2010. Previously he held positions as village manager in Brooklyn and assistant to the city manager in Oak Park. You may reach him at 248-347-0450 or vcardenas@cityofnovi.org.