FAQ: December 2016 Peer Convening in New Orleans


The National Resource Network has announced its third annual Peer Convening, scheduled for December 8-9, 2016. Attendance at the event is by invitation only. See below for answers to commonly asked questions and information for how to learn more. 

What will happen at the peer convening?

What will be different about this convening than the one in Miami?

Who has been invited to the convening?

Who can I bring from my community?

What expenses is the Network covering and what expenses are attendees responsible for?

Our city is receiving or has applied to receive assistance from the Network. What if we cannot make it to the convening?

Where are we meeting and staying? Can I stay through the weekend?

How should I make travel arrangements?

I've registered. Now what?

I still have a few questions. Who should I contact to learn more?


What will happen at the peer convening?

While we’re in New Orleans, you will have the opportunity to learn from and connect with peers, hear from national experts on the kinds of challenges you face in your community, and explore the redevelopment efforts of our host city. There will be plenary sessions; facilitated workshops; formal and informal opportunities to connect with your counterparts in other cities; and an optional tour of redevelopment in the City of New Orleans.

A detailed agenda has been posted online here and will be shared with attendees the week of the convening.


What will be different about this convening than the one in Miami?

A year and half later, the Network team has a lot more experience working with you all in many of your cities. Many of you have completed engagements and are thinking about what comes next. We are excited to craft the New Orleans convening to focus on these insights and preparing all of you for the next steps in making your cities stronger and more economically competitive.

Taking into account this different focus, the feedback we received from the Miami convening, and the shortened timeframe, you can expect several changes to last year’s convening, including:

  • Educational sessions: This is perhaps the most significant change from prior convenings. These sessions will be focused on the work that the Strong Cities, Strong Communities effort in your city has supported – whether it was Network direct assistance, a community solutions team or an EDA grant. Each of the sessions will be facilitated presentations by cities on the work that they have done and will have two goals: 1) help attendees think through best practices, lessons learned, and common challenges when considering similar projects in their communities and 2) help the presenting cities think about what comes next and how to make new efforts successful.

  • 5x5 City Introductions: We will be exploring ways to do these virtually, ahead of the convening, and will provide better guidance and oversight on what each city should include.

  • Companion City Pairings: Given the shortened convening, the Network will provide suggestions ahead of time for whom each city should try to connect with and on what topics.

  • City tours:We still plan on conducting at least one tour of the City of New Orleans, and will try to provide sufficient background information to attendees ahead of time to ensure that they have the proper context to understand and learn from the tour.

  • Informal networking time:Even with the shorter meeting, per feedback from Miami, we will build in more “down time” for informal connections between attendees.


Who has been invited to the convening?

More than seventy communities are invited to join us in New Orleans for the convening. These include cities that are receiving or have received assistance from the Network; cities active in the assessment process; select cities that completed the assessment, but chose not to move forward with an engagement; cities eligible for assistance through the Network’s partnership with MassDevelopment to create a pilot State Resource Network in Massachusetts; and cities taking part in other SC2 programs, including those that have hosted Community Solutions Teams and taken part in the Economic Visioning Challenge.

Please note that, while all of following cities are invited, attendees should review the information on cost, which differs by the category of participating city. You can learn more about the work being done in partnership with the Network and other SC2 programs in each city here. The following is a list of invited cities:

  • Compton, CA

  • Fresno, CA

  • Gonzales, CA

  • Greenfield, CA

  • King City, CA

  • Lancaster, CA

  • Los Angeles, CA

  • Oakland, CA

  • Richmond, CA

  • Sacramento, CA*

  • Salinas, CA

  • Soledad, CA

  • Yuba City, CA

  • Hartford, CT

  • Fort Myers, FL

  • Miami, FL

  • Miami Gardens, FL

  • North Miami, FL*

  • North Miami Beach, FL*

  • Ocala, FL

  • Atlanta, GA*

  • Macon, GA

  • Peoria, IL

  • Rockford, IL

  • Gary, IN

  • Kansas City, KS

  • Lake Charles, LA

  • New Orleans, LA

  • Brockton, MA

  • Everett, MA

  • Fitchburg, MA

  • Haverhill, MA*

  • Holyoke, MA*

  • Lynn, MA*

  • Malden, MA*

  • New Bedford, MA

  • Peabody, MA*

  • Pittsfield, MA

  • Revere, MA*

  • Springfield, MA*

  • Worcester, MA

  • Baltimore, MD

  • Dearborn, MI

  • Detroit, MI

  • Flint, MI

  • Springfield, MO

  • St. Louis, MO

  • Jackson, MS

  • Meridian, MS

  • Greensboro, NC

  • Rocky Mount, NC

  • Winston-Salem, NC

  • Passaic, NJ

  • Perth Amboy, NJ

  • Las Vegas, NV

  • North Las Vegas, NV*

  • Cleveland, OH

  • Cleveland Heights, OH

  • Youngstown, OH

  • Chester, PA

  • Pittsburgh, PA

  • Scranton, PA

  • Wilkes-Barre, PA

  • San Juan, PR

  • Providence, RI

  • Chattanooga, TN

  • Memphis, TN

  • Brownsville, TX

  • Dallas, TX

  • Waco, TX

  • Danville, VA



Who can I bring from my community?

Each city should identify three attendees to join us in New Orleans. We strongly encourage each city’s mayor and/or manager to attend, along with a community partner (e.g. funder, nonprofit leader, private sector partner). If only the mayor or the manager is attending, a senior staff person involved with the Network’s project or other senior City official should be included. This model was tested and proven highly successful at both of our convenings.

For cities that submitted a regional application to the Network, we will cover the cost of three attendees (as outlined above) from the primary applicant city, as well as one representative from each co-applicant city.

If you would like to bring additional attendees, your city will be responsible for making and paying for their travel arrangements; in addition, your city will be required to cover their share of the meals, meeting space, transportation, and other group costs that the Network is coordinating.


What expenses is the Network covering and what expenses are attendees responsible for?

The answer to this depends on your city’s relationship with the Network and the SC2 initiative. For the majority of cities, the Network will cover expenses for three attendees; for a select number of cities (indicated with an asterisk in the list above), attendees will be responsible for their own travel and lodging. Please read the following information carefully and contact arybnicek@nationalresourcenetwork.org if you have any questions.

Please note that all attendees (regardless of category below) are responsible for transportation to your home airport (including parking); checked baggage fees; food or beverage in transit; and other incidentals. While this is highly discouraged, if you choose to eat apart from the group at any point during the convening, you will be responsible for those expenses.

Cities listed WITHOUT an asterisk: the Network will cover airfare and hotel expenses for three city representatives to join us in New Orleans. In addition, we will provide for your meals between the start and end of the convening (snack on Thursday through lunch on Friday) and transportation to and from the New Orleans airport. Local attendees can be reimbursed for mileage and parking. 

Cities listed WITH an asterisk: the Network will cover meals and meeting expenses for three attendees in New Orleans (see note above), but those attendees are responsible for their own transportation and lodging costs. The Network will book their hotel, but attendees will be expected to provide a credit card for payment upon check-in.


Our city has received or is receiving assistance from the Network. Does that mean we have to come to the convening?

The peer convening and our other peer activities are designed to complement and enhance the Network’s direct assistance activities. We strongly encourage you to come, but if your city is not able to send a team to New Orleans, it will not negatively impact the assistance process in your community.


Where are we meeting and staying? Can I stay through the weekend?

The convening will be held at New Orleans Marriott Downtown Convention Center. The Network will book your hotel room for the night of December 8; if you would like to extend your stay, please contact Wendy Sager at wsager@enterprisecommunity.org.


How should I make travel arrangements?

Different from past years, each attendee is responsible for making their own flight arrangements to New Orleans.

For those cities without an asterisk besides their name above, the Network will cover up to $350 in airfare per person; flights that are more expensive than that must be pre-approved in order to guarantee reimbursement. Last minute booking is not an acceptable reason for a flight to exceed the $350 cap. We strongly encourage attendees to book flights early; we require that they be booked by Wednesday, November 23 to be eligible for reimbursement.

For pre-approval on flights exceeding $350, please contact Abigail Rybnicek at arybnicek@nationalresourcenetwork.org. Flight expenses will be reimbursed after the convening. 


I've registered. Now what?

Don't worry - you shouldn't have gotten a registration email. City teams will be contacted after the registration deadline with an email that outlines next steps, key information, and updates. If you've got any questions in the meantime, you can reach out to info@nationalresourcenetwork.org. 

I still have a few questions. Who should I contact to learn more?

To learn more about the convening and or non-lodging questions, please contact Abigail Rybnicek at arybnicek@nationalresourcenetwork.org. For lodging questions, please contact Wendy Sager at wsager@enterprisecommunity.org.