2023 Western States Association Staff Meet-Up Recap

5 Sep 2023, by Jessica Roth Share :

The 2023 Western States Association Staff Meet-Up was hosted this August in Sacramento by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). The annual event brings together state-based county association staff from western states to discuss issues and best practices regarding communications, policy, finance, and administration relevant to the associations. The resources and shared-knowledge gained at the meet-up can then be implemented back in the attendees’ state associations.

“The opportunity to network with peers and learn from other associations is both enjoyable and invaluable,” said Sara Westbrook, director of government affairs with the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC). “I always leave these meetups with a ton of ideas I’m excited to share with my team back in Idaho.”

This year’s meet-up was well-attended, as association staff from Utah, Washington, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming traveled to California’s capital city to participate. Attendees enjoyed a healthy mix of planned activities and impromptu social hours, with ample time for collaboration among those in similar positions.

“Connecting with professionals who have common goals and objectives has innumerable benefits,” said Amanda Steinmetz, IAC director of finance and administration. “It’s so helpful having an expanded network of colleagues and resources.”

The event also provides an opportunity for the rotating host state association to introduce their organization, highlight their organization’s accomplishments, and showcase some of what their host county and state have to offer. Farrah McDaid Ting, director of public affairs for CSAC, organized the event and spent some time educating attendees on CSAC’s ‘AT HOME’ campaign, a comprehensive plan to address homelessness. “AT HOME” is an acronym for accountability, transparency, housing, outreach, mitigation, and economic opportunity.

McDaid Ting also arranged an equally entertaining and informative group tour of California’s State Library, which also serves at the Courts Building, led by Alex Vassar, director of communications for the library. The group enjoyed Vassar’s comedic commentary as well as his wealth of knowledge while touring the various floors of the library and its countless historical publications. The well-preserved propaganda pieces from World War II were fascinating, as was a large book that held a collection of newspaper articles with various ads touting men’s suits for less than one dollar from decades prior.

Outside of scheduled events, attendees enjoyed exploring downtown Sacramento and the surrounding area while patronizing local haunts, like Capitol Books on K Street, Temple Coffee Roasters on 9th, and DOCO – Downtown Commons, a modern, open-air shopping complex.

“This was my first time attending the meet-up and it was even better than I could’ve imagined,” said Jessica Roth, IAC’s communications and marketing manager. “I’m so appreciative to CSAC and Farrah who did a wonderful job hosting, and I’m excited that Idaho will be hosting next year’s meet-up in Boise!”

See and download photos from the event on our Flickr page.