By: Samantha Mangino, associate director of IDD Residential Services for Wesley Family Services, Pennsylvania

The Alliance of Strong Families and Communities’ Senior Leadership Conference is right around the corner and once again, we will be returning to the warm and sandy beaches of Clearwater, Florida! Not only is this year’s conference jammed packed with stimulating workshops and networking opportunities galore, but the location and scene is what really brings it all together and allows it to be an impactful, lasting, and one-of a kind experience!

Reason Number 1: Rejuvenate and Reconnect on the “Best Beach in America”

How many times has your work break involved walking along one of the best beaches in America? Due to the perfect beachfront location, the Senior Leadership Conference offers the luxury of enjoying breaks and downtime either poolside, the terrace, beachside along the coast. Imagine taking a morning run (or walk, for people like me!) along the seashore just before a morning workshop. Or consider grabbing a refreshing afternoon iced tea from the pool area and introducing yourself to someone who earlier commented on a topic that is of great interest to you. You might even have enough time in the evening to enjoy an hour or two of the sunset while sitting in a beach chair. Without even leaving the hotel premise, the scene of sand outside your window and the refreshing sea breeze filling the senses really provides great a place where learning, reflecting, and relationship building are at their best. 

Reason Number 2: Enjoy and Experience Mini-Vacation 

Want to really make the most of experiencing Florida’s Gulf Coast and get some local flavor while visiting? Hidden along the Gulf of Mexico and 30 minutes north from the heart of St. Petersburg lays Clearwater Beach. While still part of the Tampa Bay, there are many close options (some within walking distance and others less than a 10-minute drive) right from the hotel that are worth visiting during your time at the conference. A few favorites from past attendees are: 

  • Dining: Backwaters, Jimmy’s Fish House and Iguana Bar and Barefoot Beach House
  • Shopping: Shoppes on Sand Key, Onyx Resort Boutique, Aloha on the Beach
  • Gulf Coast Scene: Pier 60 Park, Coneheads Ice Cream, Sea Life Safari, Clearwater Aquarium

Even if you can’t come a little earlier or stay a little bit longer, Clearwater Beach offers a mini-vacation whenever you visit, even if it is just for a few days. Not only do we get to work while we are here, we also get opportunities to relax, rejuvenate, have fun and reflect on the conference material we are absorbing and plan to take back to our organizations and communities. Clearwater Beach is the perfect location where the top leaders in the field can come together and be offered the space for thought-provoking conversations and opportunities to build ever-lasting relationships.

View full conference details here and register online by Jan. 18, 2019 to receive the early bird discount rate.

Hope to see you on the beach!

About the Author:

Samantha Mangino is a former 2017 Rising Leader Scholarship recipient, member of the Senior Leadership Conference Council, and a member of the Health and Human Services Intersection Alliance Peer Exchange group. She is the associate director of IDD Residential Services for Wesley Family Services, located in southwestern, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. She is also an active trainer with FEI Behavioral Health and has a passion and interest in implementation of trauma informed care across all agency functions and service lines.