8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

The Basics of Mindfulness for Self-care and Stress Management
Kick-off the 2021 MMASC Annual Conference by participating in a guided virtual mindfulness and meditation session! Mindfulness is the art of openly and actively paying attention to experience in the present moment. Learn about how these practices can be a means to reduce stress, improve attention, boost the immune system, reduce emotional reactivity, and promote a general sense of health and wellness. This workshop will engage participants in several experiential practices where they will explore the basics of mindfulness meditation, as well as methods to cultivate positive emotions, with special emphasis on stress management.

10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

Engaging Your Community on Difficult Topics, What It Takes 
This presentation will look at the challenges of facilitating difficult conversations in public engagement and the importance of preparing your team for those challenges.

Maureen Tobin, Executive Director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership
Pooja Di Giovanna, Assistant Director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership

Bent, But Not Broken, Emerging from COVID more Resilient, Creative and Hopeful
Over the past 18 months, COVID has consumed our lives and taken us out of our comfort zone.  Yet, we have learned to adapt, learned new technology and new ways of delivering services.  This session will look how COVID has affected our resilience, our creativity and comfort levels.  You will learn positive, uplifting strategies to focus on, so we don’t come out of the pandemic the way we came into the pandemic.  We are bent, but not broken.

Kathy Espinoza, Assistant Vice President, Keenan and Associates

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Keynote Session: Run Your Own Race, Let the World Chase You
This talk is designed to help any group find the strength and determination to succeed on their own terms, turning any failure into opportunity, and to stop looking from side to side along the way. Powerful examples from life experiences demonstrate how circumstances play only a small role in our potential. It’s the discipline to stay focused on goals and keep taking action while being true to yourself that ultimately brings the biggest and most satisfying wins.

Patricia Murray, Lieutenant Colonel Retired, Miss California 1992
Troy Brown, City Manager, City of Moorpark, ICMA President

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Planning for Non-Planners
A must-attend session for those who aren't in planning, but are looking to gain a general understanding of zoning regulations and the nuts and bolts of the planning process. Led by an experienced Assistant City Manager with extensive planning and development experience, this is a session you will find yourself referring back to throughout your career.

Louie Lacasella; Assistant to the City Manager, City of Murrieta
Dominique Samario, Public Information Officer, City of Murrieta
David Chantarangsu, Development Services Director, City of Murrieta

The Distractions Are The Job
The higher up the career ladder you climb, the more unpredictable your day becomes. This can be especially frustrating to goal oriented, high achievers. Managers often see interruptions from staff and others as an obstacle to overcome so they can get back to their "real" jobs. The irony is that the successful leaders are the ones who embrace those disruptions in their schedule. Why is that so important and how do you still get your own tasks accomplished? This session will explore those answers.

Dominic Lazzaretto City Manager, City of Arcadia
Jessica Binnquist City Manager, City of Alhambra
Nat Rojanasathira Assistant City Manager, City of Monterey

3:00 PM  –  3:50 PM

Diversifying the City Management Profession: Building the Pipeline

We often hear about how the statistics for diversity within the City Management profession are not representative of our broader communities. Further they haven’t changed as quickly as we’d like over the last five, 10 or more years. So what’s really going on and how can we make it better? This dynamic panel will be composed of City Managers, Assistant and Deputy City Managers, and an executive recruiter discussing: 1) How to interview and improve your chances of getting hired for the City Manager and/or Assistant/Deputy City Manager positions as a diverse candidate; 2) Personal stories of success and challenges; and 3) Concrete methods on how you can help build a pipeline of diversity within your own organization. The panel members will have brief presentations and then will be taking questions from both the moderator and audience.

PJ Gagajena Assistant City Manager, City of Moorpark
Ben Montgomery City Manager, City of Chino Hills
Valerie Gaeta Phillips President and Recruiter, Bob Murray & Associates
Karina Bañales Deputy City Manager, City of Rancho Palos Verdes
Tony Winney Assistant City Manager, City of National City

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Avocadovore Happy Hour
Join Kitchen on Fire for a virtual cooking Avocadovore Happy Hour on Tuesday, October 26 at 6 PM! This event will provide an opportunity to connect with conference attendees as you cook alongside one of Kitchen on Fire’s chefs who will demonstrate and support you step-by-step to create two happy hour menu items: Avocado Artichoke and Roasted Kale Dip, and Chocolate Avocado Mousse. The shopping and equipment list and prep instructions are uploaded so be sure to download them. We look forward to connecting with you virtually in the kitchen!


10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Annual Business Meeting
Once a year at the Annual Conference, the Election & Bylaws Committee holds a business meeting where changes to the MMASC bylaws can be proposed, discussed and approved. 

The Annual Business Meeting is open to all members of MMASC. Business of the organization will be conducted during this meeting, including discussions and voting of Bylaw Amendments. Per Article IV - Membership of the MMASC Bylaws, only Full Members are eligible to vote.

The Bylaws may be amended at the Business Meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Full Members present.

Register for the 2021 Annual Business Meeting

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM 

Keynote Session: A Siblings Journey to City Management
Hear from the first brother-sister city manager pair in California history as they share what drove them to public service and how they became city managers. They will also share what public service has taught them and provide advice for aspiring city managers.

Pat Martel, West Coast Regional Director, ICMA
Armine Chaparyan, City Manager, City of South Pasadena
Aram Chaparyan, City Manager, City of Torrance

1:30 PM – 2:20 PM 

Meeting Your Community’s Broadband Access Needs
Now more than ever, cities need to foster or create strong Internet access for their communities. Broadband not only addresses resident’s needs for Internet access, but it is critical to economic development within the city. Join Tripepi Smith Director and former Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, Renne Public Policy Group Grant Writer Jake Whitaker and Ting Internet Senior Director Monica Webb as they reflect on the current state of internet access for cities, share success stories of cities solving broadband access issues, discuss new funding options for public agencies and share insights on getting started in your own city. 

Jake Whitaker, Renne Public Policy Group
Monica Webb, Senior Director, Ting Internet
Jennifer Fitzgerald, Director, Tripepi Smith

Engaging Quarterly Reporting
Transparency and Communication are some of the most important service tenants in City of Torrance. Community Development demonstrates how the new department report can engage citizens with key quarterly indicators, real-time permit activity and interactive maps, and community video messaging. 

Danny Santana, Assistant City Manager, City of Torrance

3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

New City Manager, Now What? Succeeding During Organizational Change
When a new City Manager joins the city, what steps do they take their first 30-60-90 days – and beyond? From evaluating current staff, establishing a new vision, to implementing organizational change, a new City Manager has the potential to change the entire organization and significantly impact existing staff. This session will explain what existing employees can do to help the City Manager hit the ground running. Hear from a new City Manager based on his experience during the first year on the job and what he learned from the experience, along with tips and advice for those who may end up working for a new boss.

Jacob Ellis, City Manager, City of Corona

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Virtual Game Night Brought to You By Tripepi Smith
Join us for an evening of fun and laughter as MMASC Diamond Partner, Tripepi Smith, hosts a night of virtual games! Tripepi Smith will guide participants through a medley of online games, so all you have to do is sit back and relax. Maybe bring a few snacks and a drink along as well. Save your spot and register to attend here. Feel free to jump on the Zoom line a few minutes early. Game on!


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM 

Coffee and Conference Connections
Grab your coffee or tea and join MMASC President Tanya Spiegel for a casual conversation about public service and roundtable discussion that dives into our passion for local government. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with fellow local government colleagues and see the inspiring and memorable conversation be captured through virtual illustration.

10:30 AM – 11:20 AM 

Cutting Through the Noise in Building Community Trust
Local government leaders are confronting a challenge of trust that is resulting from the significant disruptions over the past couple of years. This session is intended to examine ways that local leaders can strengthen trust among their residents, including historically marginalized communities using data. The presentation will include sharing best practices and approaches for meaningful engagement with community stakeholders and research findings from our work around public safety.

Matt Fulton Vice President, National Engagement, Polco/NRC
Michelle Kobayashi Senior Vice President of Innovation, Polco

Innovative Programs on Wellness
Cities and their employees are talking more about mental wellness challenges in the workplace. Data suggests that municipal managers need to pay attention to the well-being of their employees. Learn about programs that the City of El Cajon has implemented that strengthen mental wellness and resiliency for City employees from the adoption of a firehouse dog, to incentives for physical and mental wellness checkups, to new policies allowing staff to telework and pick their own work schedules. 

Graham Mitchell, City Manager, City of El Cajon
Marisol Thorn, Director of Human Resources, City of El Cajon

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Keynote Session: Leadership & Crisis Communication: How Do They Relate?

Nico Melendez Melendez Consulting

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Community Engagement & Interaction for Success: Strategies to Stand Out & Thrive
Engage and interact with this panel as they discuss how they’ve shifted community perception of local government through weekly LIVE social media communication, what they’ve learned along the way, how they’ve handled troll and/or keyboard warriors, and how constant engagement has help leadership realize and understand what they’re community really needs. Through this form of communication, leadership has been able to implement key programs on how to directly assist and tackle important issues. Ultimately, the way in which YOU lead, directly affects not only your internal team, but your external team as well. Your community.

Rob Johnson, City Manager, City of San Jacinto
Tara Magner, Economic Development & Special Projects Administrator, City of San Jacinto
Cynthia Espinosa, Assistant to the City Manager, City of San Jacinto

Evolving Toolkit for Economic Development, Housing, and Infrastructure Funding and Financing
A presentation and discussion about how special financing districts, state and federal grants and stimulus funding, and local land use and planning tools can be bundled to catalyze economic revitalization and long-term general fund fiscal solvency.  

Joseph Dieguez, Senior Vice President, Kosmont Companies
Lori Sassoon, Deputy City Manager of Administrative Services, City of Rancho Cucamonga 

3:00 PM – 3:50 PM 

Municipal Law Jeopardy
Come have some fun! In our session, we’ll play municipal law jeopardy & ask questions about various categories that municipal governments & staff should be familiar with, such as the Brown Act, Government Policy & Public Integrity, the California Public Records Act, Public Contracting & Public Finance. Particular emphasis will be placed on social media related laws within those categories. Those who are the first to answer each clue correctly will be entered in a raffle to win a gift card.

Albert J. Maldonado, Attorney, Best Best & Krieger LLP
Henry Castillo, Associate, Best Best & Krieger LLP

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

President's Gala & Awards Reception
Come close out the conference with a bang! This year's President's Gala, hosted by DJ Lee, includes MMASC's Annual Award Ceremony, as well as fun music, contests, and prizes! Party it up in the company of MMASC friends and colleagues as we send off President Tanya Spiegel after a FANTASTIC year! Don't forget your drink(s), and see you there!