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Showcasing Your Expertise as a Presenter at the 2023 NOW Conference

UC employees have used the past year to find levels of comfort, community, and new practices when adhering to work responsibilities. We have evolved and set some new standards of practice, while also relying on each other to push ourselves forward. With mutual reliance, we have learned a great deal from others while also having much more to learn. Professional development conferences have traditionally been a space to share insights, best practices, and techniques for others to use in benchmarking professional standards.

As a member of the University of California employee network, your expertise is requested for the annual Next Opportunity at Work Conference (NOW Conference). The NOW Conference takes place annually and invites UC staff to attend in supporting their career and professional development through inspiring keynote speakers, workshops, community building, and career planning. The conference attributes these successes to the quality of workshops and concurrent sessions that come from professionals who are willing to share their content knowledge and best practices from their work experiences. The learnings, messages, and takeaways from those sessions are what attendees leave with and bring back to their teams, students, clients, and constituents.

This week’s edition of Wisdom Café Wednesday asks its readers to consider the theme of the 2023 NOW Conference Reconnect, Recharge, Reimagine! This theme for our first in-person conference in 4 years offers endless possibilities for how you might be able to design a learning experience for an audience. As professionals, we can apply our area of content expertise to a preferred teaching style, and give our colleagues a window into a new way of thinking and practice.

The NOW Conference is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, 2023, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM at the Oakland Marriott City Center. In addition, there will be pre and post-conference activities held virtually on June 5, 6, 7, and 9, 2023, including but not limited to virtual group/1:1 coaching opportunities and other activities.

We are inviting proposals for 75-minute concurrent sessions during the in-person event on June 8th. As a presenter, you will make a noticeable contribution to the continuing professional development of over 1,500 attendees from a variety of professional fields at one of the world’s most admired public land-grant research university systems. Don’t miss this opportunity to partner with us as we inspire and embolden our valued UC colleagues.


To submit a proposal, you will need the following:

  • Name and contact information of concurrent session presenter(s)

  • Bio (maximum 100 words each) and headshot photo of concurrent session presenter(s)

  • Signed Media Release from each presenter; access the form here:

  • LinkedIn url for presenter(s)

  • Session title

  • 300 word description of the session

  • Up to 3 learning objectives for the session

  • Your target audience

  • Focus area and competency (see UC Systemwide Core Competency ABCs below) 

  • (Optional) Video clips, relevant articles, sample presentation packets from a previous event/presentation, and/or your website


As you consider your proposal, how does your topic focus on this year’s conference theme of Reconnect, Recharge, Reimagine! 


Reconnect: Re-establish a bond of communication or emotion; build community

Recharge: Return to a normal state of mind or strength after a period of physical, mental, or emotional exertion; to be refilled

Reimagine: To form a new mental picture; to explore possibilities

Also consider - how does your topic support the UC Systemwide Core Competency ABCs?

You can submit your proposal by completing this Call for Proposals submission form. The deadline to submit a proposal is 5 pm, Wednesday, February 8th.

You can learn more about the 2023 NOW Conference and past conferences by visiting the 2023 NOW website.

Please share this message with others who you think may be interested in presenting at the premier career and professional development event for the University of California.

Questions? Please contact Fatima Alleyne (Co-Lead), Lisa Rykert (Co-Lead), Deepak Sharma, and Ying Kuah 2023 NOW Conference Program Sub Committee at
In conjunction with how the NOW Conference has identified its parameters for how to craft a program proposal, there are ways to put yourself in the seat of your audience when drafting your notes. When you remember your experiences as an audience member from your last professional development experience, what did you admire most about a session or topic that was engaging?
  • Was it the slide deck?  
  • Was it the persona of the speakers?  
  • Was it the practical/interactive components? 
  • Was it the personal stories and narratives that you related to?
Putting yourself in the driver's seat of the audience’s experience, the following LinkedIn Learning e-course Designing a Training Program: Setting Goals, Objectives, and Mediums provides insights into why we commit to training and how to convey our knowledge through storytelling, narratives, and technology to your audience.  Dr. Karl Kapp, Professor of Educational Technology and Co-Founder of Enterprise Game Stack, presents training techniques in 4 sections to help presenters design an engaging experience for their audiences.
Wisdom Café Wednesday invites you to think of a story you want to tell in relation to your expertise. As keynote speakers inspire their audiences with personal stories, TED Talk presenters tell stories with a defined start and end-point; how do you translate your content expertise to a compelling story? Remember stories reflect both a combination of past accomplishments and future aspirations. Let these two career milestones be the baseline that guides and lead others when crafting a program proposal for the NOW Conference.

Wisdom Café Wednesday Resources to Design Presentations Using UC Core Competency ABCs

Achieving Results

If you coordinated a project that tracked success and improvement from a point in the past to a milestone in the future, this competency is for you. As we all look to continuous improvements, upgrades, and solving for challenges - audiences are inspired by transformative changes that transpire from a team’s work and progress. Use your recent accomplishments as a guide to consider submitting a proposal that showcases results to inspire others looking to transform current practices.

Building Relationships

Communities of practice and employee affinity groups have relied on each other for allyship and expertise. Remembering and showcasing any experiences you had with teams or a cohort of employees can be a powerful way to demonstrate professional development, diversity of employees, and cross-collaboration between functional areas. Our communities of colleagues make the experiences we remember, and such presentations that demonstrate these practices can inspire ways to build relationships with new and current colleagues.

Creating the Future

A large takeaway from a concurrent session leaves the audience inspired to chart a new pathway using knowledge within their professional sphere. The UC system is forward thinking as campuses and institutes of research, teaching, and output of public & social goods. We present our long-range values (i.e. DEIB, Fundraising, Student Services, Life Planning, etc.) to an audience, and they use our teachings to apply it to their careers, constituents' needs, and helping other professionals in their field.

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How to Share Your Insight on Wisdom Cafe 

Discover the benefits of sharing your professional insights on Wisdom Café Wednesdays and how to do it here.
-Reading about and reaching out to featured colleagues.
-Finding supportive communities.
-Using resources to start your own network.
-Signing up for this Wisdom Café Wednesday Newsletter to ensure you get a message that you can use to support your development every week!
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The Wisdom Café Team
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