Missoula 2017 Region 8 Conference Recap!

Region 8,

Thank you to everyone who made our 2017 Regional Conference in Missoula, MT a huge success! This year was unique, because we had a firm registration cap due the venue size. However, we hit our cap, and all total we had 317 attendees who were excited to learn and to share the things that make advising special.

This year, we had 4 pre-conference workshops, 35 concurrent sessions, two keynote speakers, an amazing opening reception with live music, and some amazing local cuisine. Presenters…if you have not submitted your presentations materials, you can email our Communication Coordinator Allison Ramsing or our Proposal chair Leah Panganiban and those materials will get posted.

Our event kicked off Monday night in the Big Sky Atrium at the Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula. We started our event with Bill Swaney, head of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Education Department. After Bill shared a story of the local native people in Montana, we were treated to some live music from a local musician and University of Montana MIS student,Drew Dill.

New Member Orientation. Photo Courtesy of Nicole Kent

Tuesday we opened with our New Member Orientation and had an amazing turnout; the room was packed! After a few morning sessions we got to our first keynote/awards luncheon. Dr. Mary Kay Patton from Washington State University shared some great information in her keynote “The Conviction Behind the Work: Cultivating a Culture of Thriving Not Just Surviving.” Her talk on mindfulness energized the audience. This year, our conference theme centered around mindfulness, and along with this opening keynote, we also had dedicated space for several different wellness activities throughout the event. During our opening luncheon, we also were treated to a Montana food favorite, the Pasty.

Dr. Mary Kay Patton – Tuesday Keynote. Photo Courtesy of Jesse Poole

Wednesday, we were able to hear from our second keynote speaker Dr. Nathan Lindsay, who during an interactive keynote “Sharpening Your Superpower as an Academic Advisor”, taught each of us the true superpower of being an academic advisor. Following this keynote, we also officially kicked off conference prep for the 2018 Region 8 Conference in Portland, Oregon. Conference Co-Chairs Rachel Allen and Miranda Atkinson shared some unique bits of information about Portland and got the crowd excited for next year’s highly anticipated event.


Dr. Nathan Lindsay – Wednesday Keynote. Photo Courtesy of Ryan Graham-Laughlin

This event was amazing, and Darlene and I would like to thank a few people that helped us accomplish this amazing event…


First, we would like to thank all of our sponsors who each year share valuable information on tools that can help advisors in the everyday role. Thank you to SARS, Emsi, K-State, and BYU Independent Study. We would also like to thank the Holiday Inn for their hospitality and helping us make the event great.

Second, I would like to thank members of the NACADA Executive Office Diane Matteson and Wendy Troxel, and NACADA Board member Kerry Kincannon for attending our event and showing everyone how much support we get from NACADA. I would like to add an additional thanks to Diane for all her work helping us plan and execute this conference from the NACADA EO and then stepping up and helping with the hospitality and registration table during the event.

Third, I would like to thank everyone who served on the conference planning committee and volunteers for different aspects of the conference.

Finally, I would like to thank three people who put in a lot of time with making this event a success. Brenda Truman, our conference co-chair was unable to attend the event, but put in countless hours in the early planning stages of this event and set the stage for its success. Kerry Thomas, our Region 8 Chair supported the vision for the event and dealt with a ton of logistics during the planning. Nicole Kent, our Past Region 8 Chair, who served in the role of Region 8 Chair for the event; Nicole brought a wealth of experience to the event and helped guide everyone on the ground in Missoula.

Thank you to everyone! 8 is Great!

Alex Kunkle & Darlene Samson
Conference Co-Chairs


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