Darcy’s journey to the NASFAA Leadership and Legislative Conference as President-Elect

I had the opportunity to attend the NASFAA Leadership and Legislative Conference February 3-5 as a benefit of being KASFAA President-Elect. I would like to recognize KASFAA for providing the support to send the President-Elect, and now also Treasurer-Elect, to this conference each year; especially prior to their year as President. In her post on February 19th, Tammy shared information about out conference location, Washington update, and trip to the Hill. I would like to highlight what I learned and some ideas I’m excited to bring to KASFAA.

The idea that excited me the most and I started to implement before I even left DC, was to hold a board retreat for the incoming board members prior to their year on the board. Turns out there are many associations currently holding these retreats and in a variety of formats and lengths. The inaugural KASFAA board retreat will be March 9th for the 2020-2021 KASFAA board. I feel that this will help us make the most of our year, allow the committees to start on their work early in the year, and begin thinking about the 2021-2024 Strategic Long Range Plan which we are tasked to develop this year.

Two items that I highlighted in my notes as I was typing them was the 3-foot rule and to read Road to Relevance. I’m going to encourage everyone to follow the 3-foot rule at our Spring Conference. This rule means that you introduce yourself to everyone that you come within three feet of. I had this happen to me on the elevator before the conference even started and I wasn’t wearing my nametag; and let me tell you, it made an impact. Not to mention it’s then fun to say “HEY” to those same people in the airport on the way home (…gas station since we’ll be driving?). The latter task of reading Road to Relevance (and browsing in the airport bookstore) (and Amazon shopping at 2am after arriving in KC after midnight), let to my husband asking me, “why did you order $100 worth of books?” when he received the order email. (I would change the email on the account if he actually cared).

LLC - Darcy 1

Leaders Eat Last was the book I saw in the airport and I love Simon Simek’s TED Talk about starting with Why. I’ve started reading Start With Why and Race For Relevance and already have some ideas to propose to the board that I hope they think are good ideas (or that they tell me I’m crazy if they don’t think they are good ideas).

The one thing that I learned that was most eye-opening to me was about advocacy. Straight from Justin and Megan’s mouths, “Advocacy is not always lobbying. Advocacy is education.” They also shared that we don’t always need to be in DC to be an effective advocate. During this session, we practiced developing a one-pager using an inverted pyramid model. This helped me later that evening as Tammy and I were researching the senators and representative we were meeting with the next day, and formulating how we hoped our conversation would go with them.

LLC - Darcy 2(left to right) Christiana Reasor, Benedictine College alum and Senator Moran aide, Tammy Higgins (KASFAA Treasurer-Elect), Pittsburg State University, Darcy Johnson (KASFAA President-Elect), Emporia State University, Brenda Hicks (NASFAA National Chair-Elect), Southwestern College, Christal Williams (RMASFAA President-Elect), Johnson County Community College


NASFAA arranged an optional bus tour for the evening before the conference started that would take us around to see the monuments at night. We had a smaller group, a great driver, and many Chiefs fans watching the game!

LLC - Darcy 3

All states are listed around the Lincoln Memorial.

LLC - Darcy 4

This was my first time to visit DC (or be anywhere east of Indianapolis), so I took the opportunity to travel out a few days early for a sightseeing vacation. As a nerd, I very much enjoyed seeing the sights and packed as much in as I could. If you have the opportunity, work with your Congressperson’s office to get tours, however try to space them out. Our Library of Congress tour was Friday morning, and then 20 minutes after it was over was our Capitol tour. I would have loved to have had the entire day to explore the Library of Congress after that tour was over.

LLC - Darcy 5

As a former banker, I really wanted to visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and drove us like cattle to make it there in time. It was my second favorite thing that we saw. And this is how tall I am in 100s:

LLC - Darcy 6

Saturday was the White House tour, National Portrait Gallery, and walking past the NASFAA office building so I could say that I knew where it was.

LLC - Darcy 7

Sunday was the National Archives and Smithsonian Natural History Museum, plus the aforementioned bus tour.

Whew. With as much sightseeing as I did before, it was the conference itself that filled my brain, excited me, and exhausted me. I’m looking forward to the upcoming KASFAA year!

I now leave you with a few more photos surrounding the trip (and trust me I took 100s).

LLC - Darcy 8Abby trying to make her point that she wasn’t going to allow me to leave.

LLC - Darcy 9Leaving before dawn ensures a good sunrise view from the plane.

LLC - Darcy 10

Last but not least, I made Traylor download Google Duo on his phone so that I could video chat with Abby because I was missing her something fierce.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s