The recently concluded EAPA 2018 Conference & EXPO in Minneapolis was a big success, in this humble writer’s view. It was my ninth EAPA conference, and while the temps have been warmer for most of them, the degree of warmth exhibited by the attendees and exhibitors has never been greater.

There were at least 30 first-time attendees, and that’s probably a conservative estimate. First-time attendees I had a chance to meet included Braeden Schaefer, and Karla Amador-Lum Lung, to name a few.

The conference always has a strong international flavor as well, and this year’s was no exception. I was thrilled I got to meet a number of international attendees, especially Thiloshni Govender and Radhi Vandayar, authors of “EAP in South Africa,” an article that appeared in the 4th Quarter 2018 Journal of Employee Assistance. Of course, this doesn’t include all of the terrific EA professionals I have an opportunity to be reacquainted with each year.

Exceptional keynotes and breakout sessions meant some great learning occurred. They included, but were not limited to: an opening keynote on corporate diversity initiatives by Kimberly Messer with IBM; understanding transgender employees by Maria Whitter; and integrating financial wellness into your EAP, Marcy Munro Musselman. Again, let me stress that was just for starters.

All in all, it was a fantastic week in the Twin Cities – enough that even a snowy drive home on Sunday didn’t dampen my spirits… well, not much anyway!