By Betsy Hagen
Associate Director for GET Operations
Nov. 20, 2014
Betty Lochner, center, with CSPN Prepaid Co-chairs, Sheila Salehian, left, and Robin Lott, right, at the Prepaid conference.
I just got back from Vegas and the best part is that the old adage, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” doesn’t apply to this situation. I’m excited to tell you all about the very first Prepaid Tuition Conference!

Sheila Salehian, Senior Deputy Treasurer at the Office of Nevada State Treasurer, welcomed attendees at the first prepaid tuition conference Friday, November 14, in Las Vegas. Salehian and her team graciously hosted the event, which was packed with timely and informative sessions.

Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall shared her vision for prepaids during the conference, and CSPN Chair, Betty Lochner, provided an overview of the prepaid industry.

Kristin Lock, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Florida Prepaid College Board, provided an overview of the major changes the Florida plan is undertaking. Emelia Nordan, Policy Director for Mississippi’s Office of the State Treasurer, shared the methodology behind closing and reopening the Mississippi prepaid program.

Additional sessions included a variety of insightful information from industry experts. Paul Curley, Director of College Savings Research at Strategic Insight, presented on prepaid data development. Peter Angus, President of Intuition, offered information on how to effectively utilize savings and prepaid plans together for the benefit of saving for college.

 Lisa Noble, Account Director for the Goodway Group, provided an overview of the media landscape and shared digital advertising best practices. Kathleen McGrath, Director of PA529, shared a 529 legislative update. And finally, throughout the conference, robust, thoughtful dialogues of best practices were presented through operations and marketing roundtables.  These were led by me and Ryan Betz, Associate Director for GET Marketing and Communications.

Twenty six individuals from 11 plans and four affiliates attended and at least five viewers from other plans took advantage of the teleconference feature.

Conference events were tweeted, photos taken, and networking opportunities abounded.

A post conference survey was distributed and the responses were wildly favorable for future conferences.  All sessions received rave reviews!

Altogether, the prepaid conference was a success and we plan to make it an annual event.  In fact, we’ve already started planning for next year, and Virginia has volunteered to host!  Stay tuned for the date and time.

About the Author:
Betsy Hagen is the Associate Director of Operations for Washington’s GET program. Betsy leads the program’s contact center, records unit and finance division. Betsy has been with GET for the past 8 years and has held several different positions within the organization. 

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