Image of the Minneapolis Skyline with text that says "Welcome to #MinnAEApolis"

Ope—have you heard the news? The American Evaluation Association annual conference is taking place in our backyard this year! We send a cohort of IG-ers to the conference every year—whether it is in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, or Atlanta—and so are excited to host all our evaluation friends and colleagues here this year!

We all hope to see you at the conference from November 11 – 16—and, you betcha, there are many chances for us to catch up. Consider our sessions, where you can hear IGers sharing the latest trends and lessons learned from their work:

  • Thursday, 8:00am-9:00am: Building out a winning team through collaborative evaluation design with partners, subcontractors, and community liaisons
  • Thursday, 3:45pm-4:45pm: Practical strategies for using Theory of Change as an evaluation and program management tool (here’s a preview from Associate Consultant Isabel Marsh)
  • Also Thursday, 3:45pm-4:45pm: Trust building as a critical evaluation skill
  • Friday, 4:30pm-5:30pm: How to measure the community impact of social purpose investments
  • Saturday, 11:15am-12:00pm: Mindfulness: A Breath of Fresh Air for Evaluation (speaking of mindfulness, here are some tips for keeping centered during the busy conference season).
  • Poster: When DIY design isn’t an option. Tips for creating a project you’ll love with your graphic designer.

Even that list is a lot—and dontcha know, it’s just a fraction of all the learning there is to do at AEA. So, to provide you a break and a laugh as the week winds down, we are also hosting a party at Minneapolis’ famous Brit’s Pub (a 5-minute walk from the conference) on Friday, November 15 from 7-10pm. Come hang out with us and our friends from The Theater of Public Policy (aka T2P2) for what we’re calling “A Night at the Improv with The Improve Group!” T2P2’s policy wonk comedians will chat with attendees before performing a very AEA-themed improv set. If this opportunity to meet and hang out with other AEAers sounds like your jam, please arrive by 8pm so performers from T2P2 have time to mingle with you—that’s how they’ll get inspiration for their 8:30 pm show!

We’re partnering with many other organizations to sponsor receptions for two Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) we’re involved in: the All-Diversity TIG reception at the conference hotel on Thursday, and the Social Impact Measurement TIG reception at Finnegans (a local social enterprise!), also on Thursday. These are great opportunities to connect with like-minded evaluation colleagues.

Started packing yet? Check out our very own Maria Moeller with some tips for keeping warm—and remember the Minnesota Evaluation Association (MNEA) will collect and distribute donated warm weather gear at the welcome table when you arrive.

We’ll save you from a Minnesota Goodbye and wrap up with these three quick tips for AEA:

  • Stay warm: Take advantage of warm weather gear at the MNEA welcome table and the skyway—our secret to staying warm all winter!
  • Pace yourself!
  • Make time for joy (with us on Friday night).

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