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INA Conference: What to Expect!

Every year nannies, nanny educators, nanny placement agencies, and industry specialty services meet together at the annual conference of the International Nanny Association (INA) for three days of learning, networking, and affirmation. The next INA annual conference is March 27 – 30 in beautiful Los Angeles California at a nice hotel with free airport transportation! If you have never been to an INA conference, you might be wondering just what to expect.

Expect to make friends, meet mentors, and gain a better understanding of childcare and the nanny industry. No matter how long you have been a nanny and/or worked in childcare, you will find these three things at conference. I truly believe that going to the INA conference was one of the best decisions that I have made in my nanny career.

First timers can request an INA conference buddy – a nanny who has been to conference who will help you learn the ropes, introduce you to other colleagues, and in general just make you feel welcomed and among friends. The INA office can also help you find a hotel roommate – a great way to keep conference affordable. I used the roommate match service last year. Whomever matched the roommates did such a great job. The two people that I ended up with were the people that I primarily ate with, went to sessions, with, and hung out with for much of conference. We ended up having many things in common so there was no lack of things to talk about. I believe that I have found lifelong friends in these two nannies.

INA Conference Veteran Tip!

Bring a note book and pens/ pencils! Paper and pens are provided but having a note book with you will help you keep your notes organized and easy to find.

You will meet many nannies and industry professionals at conference. For this reason, many nannies bring business cards with their name and contact information. No need to be fancy, you can print them at home with the proper computer program and card stock. There are also some inexpensive sites to buy business cards on the internet.

The conference dress code is business casual. Basically, what is appropriate for a nanny interview is perfect INA conference attire. Personally, I prefer to wear jeans. Most of conference I wore nice denim, a blouse, and ballet flats. I also saw many others wear casual skirts and dresses. Dress in what makes you feel comfortable to sit in sessions. Breakfast and lunch are included in your conference fee; however, dinner is not included. Sign up sheets for dinner dine-around groups are available to all – no need to eat alone ever! Often nannies will get a little more dressed up for dinner out.

I highly recommend signing up for one of the group dinners. Last year, I went on a dinner cruise with several other nannies. It was a more intimate setting to meet and converse with other nannies and agency professionals. I ended up meeting and becoming friends with another nanny from where I grew up, though neither of us where living there at the time.

Plan to come early or stay late. LA is a fun and interesting city and you will want to explore some of the sites. The INA conference will keep you pretty busy during the day with ‘can’t miss’ sessions, leaving little time to really enjoy California.

Kelly, the author, has been a professional nanny since 2005 and currently works in the Seattle Washington area. A few weeks ago, she launched The Planned Nanny as a curriculum planning source for nannies..

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