Keep America Beautiful National Conference Reflections

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

As we return from the 60th Anniversary Conference and Celebration of Keep America Beautiful, I can’t help but reflect upon Keep America Beautiful’s President and CEO Matt McKenna’s message during his opening address on Tuesday January 29, at the Omni Shorham Hotel in Washington, D.C. His keynote speech discussed the importance of creating and sustaining communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound. The overlying theme of his message was “storytelling,” and sharing our story as an affiliate, right here in Akron. As we learned of many different success stories, events and programs that are taking place throughout the country and right here in our backyard, the staff of Keep Akron Beautiful was able to reflect on how we are proud to be included in the Keep America Beautiful network of more than 1,200 affiliates across the country.

The conference offered programs and breakout sessions that covered topics such as community recycling, social media and marketing, strategic planning and a wonderful keynote by Ed Humes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who discussed his recent book, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. During his keynote, he told us, “The average American produces about 7.1 pounds of trash per day, which is 102 tons per lifetime.” And, as a Keep America Beautiful affiliate, we hope to decrease this amount by educating and impacting residents throughout the City of Akron!

If I could elaborate on everything I learned at the 2013 conference this blog post would take me two hours to write. I am excited and energized for our programming in 2013 and ready for the best year yet. I hope you will be able to see everything I learned throughout the programs Keep Akron Beautiful runs in 2013. Oh–and the best part of the conference? Paula Davis, President and CEO of Keep Akron Beautiful won the Sue Smith Leadership Award for all her accomplishments right here in Akron on Tuesday evening–we are so proud of her! See Cindy’s blog post and the Press Release from the Mayor’s Office for more information.

Matt McKenna, President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful and Paula Davis, President and CEO of Keep Akron Beautiful, upon accepting her “Sue Smith Professional Leadership Award” at the KAB Conference in Washington, D.C.

Interested in who Keep America Beautiful is and what they do? Check out their website at! Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that builds vibrant communities. They bring people together to unlock every community’s potential. Keep Akron Beautiful is sure lucky to be a part of all that they do. Thanks for a wonderful conference, Keep America Beautiful! We will see you next year with lots of new stories to tell.

Capt. Danny Zampelli (KAB Board Member), Paula Davis (KAB President and CEO) and Jacqui Flaherty (KAB Program Manager) at the end of the 2013 Keep America Beautiful Conference.

The Keep Akron Beautiful attendees signed the “Vibrant Communities Pledge” at the closing of the 2013 conference. We are proud to be part of the organization that brings people together to unlock every community’s potential.


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