Every year, I&E Days allows tobacco prevention and public health individuals from all over California to come together at the State Capitol to educate their legislators on local and statewide tobacco issues. There were many highlights this year, however, we want to point out a single few favorite moments. Feel free to tell us your favorite part of I&E Days 2014 in the comment section below!
This is the 10th I&E Days I have attended. But it was my first year participating from behind the scenes and helping to plan the event. I had an opportunity to see how it is that all participants get assigned to their meetings, I even had an opportunity to help with assigning many of the participants as team leaders.
I have to admit it was a big change for me not to prepare to meet with my legislators this year, but I really enjoyed helping participants get ready for
their meetings. But my favorite part of this I&E Days was interacting with participants from across the State of California. Usually, I only interact with the LA folks, so it was great to meet so many people and to feel the great energy and enthusiasm that everyone brought to this year’s I&E Days. Looking forward to next year!
It’s always difficult for me to pick a favorite part of our Capitol I&E Days event because everything, really, is so much fun. From watching the newcomers learn and experience meetings for the first time, to networking with colleagues at the Meet and Greet, to hearing about the legislative visits, it’s a great experience from start to finish. But, I suppose if I have to pick, my favorite part of I&E Days was hearing Assembly Member Dr. Pan speak. While we have had him speak before, I never get tired of hearing from him! His energy and resounding support of the work we do was a great way to kick off the day. Dr. Pan is truly a champion of public health and we are lucky to have him as a champion at the state level.
My favorite part of I&E Days this year was talking to some of the newcomers at the end of the day. Every year we get great feedback about meetings and the event. But this year it seemed to be more striking. I spoke to a lot of newcomers, and they all spoke not only about what a great time they had, but also about all the really great things they walked away with. From a new found confidence in speaking about tobacco control issues to the new connections they made, it seemed like the benefits from I&E Days surpassed the expectations that people had before they came. It really felt like all our hard work paid off!
My favorite part of I&E Days was the time in the late morning when everyone was meeting in their teams. Partly that’s just because my stress about the morning training is over! But mostly it’s because it’s so great to see everyone working so hard together, sharing stories and planning strategies. I liked connecting people who’d never met, but live in the same district. And as I wandered around the tent the energy, excitement and collegiality was infectious.
This year was my second I&E Days, however, it was my first I&E Days where I got to be involved in the worthwhile craziness of doing some behind the scenes work for the event. It was a great experience and I can’t really pinpoint one favorite part, but the Meet & Greet was fantastic. The food, the drinks, the speakers, Prop 99 and all the fun! This was a time where I&E Days attendees had a chance to get to know some of their peers while coming together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Prop 99. Video clips from around the time of Prop 99 were playing in the background, attendees were participating in a scavenger hunt, there was a photo booth and most importantly, there were three amazing speakers who were able to give three different perspectives on Prop 99: Jack Nicholl – the brave and driven campaign director for Prop 99, Kathryn Dresslar – currently serves as Darrell Steinberg’s chief of staff but she was also a staffer in the California State Capitol at the beginning of Prop 99, and Valerie Quinn – a brilliant mind on the media unit of the California Tobacco Control Program at the infancy of the program. The speakers provided important history and thoughts on Prop 99 and the future and got the crowd excited to go into the Capitol and put tobacco control issues on the minds of their legislators. It was great to see people come together and get riled up for the next day!