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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
NAPO Conference and Expo 2012 -- An Introduction

Hello, patient readers! Although I've been back from the National Association of Professional Organizers 2012 Conference and Expo in Baltimore for a week, it's taken some time to get re-acclimated. It's a heady experience to be surrounded by about 830 of the smartest (and loudest) organizing experts in the nation, all sizzling with excitement to gain knowledge, explore new organizing products and services, catch up with their colleagues...and eat.

And it was definitely exciting to find that while we were off filling our heads, hearts and tummies, our national president, Angela Wallace, was spreading the word about the professional organizing world.


NAPO 2012 was overseen by a conference committee headed by fearless leader Scott Roewer (seen here with financial organizer (and my conference roommate) Nanette Duffey and technology maven Lauren Halagarda).

Scott's intrepid team reviewed and winnowed a mountain of educational proposals to select the final 30 breakout sessions, panel presentations and courses on a wide variety of topics of exceptional benefit to clients, including titles like:
  • Lifekeeping, Not Just Bookkeeping: Advanced Financial Organizing for Seniors
  • Stand Up & Be Counted: Support a Hoarding Task Force
  • Helping Your Client Eat a Frog...Understanding the Causes, Consequences and Cures for Procrastination
  • It's 10 PM: Have You Done Your Homework Yet? (Tips, Tools and Tricks for Teaching Time Management to Students)
  • Organizing the ADHD Brain Using Executive Functions
  • Cleaning Clutter the "Fun" Shui Way
  • The Photo Organizing Dilemma: Meeting the Needs of Your Overwhelmed Clients
  • Digital Disorganization and New Organizing Skills
and the most popular organizing-themed breakout session at conference, Krista Colvin and Allison Carter's Organizer's Favorite Things -- Tools of the Trade for the Modern Home and Home Office!

Of course, not all of the classes focused on the art and science of developing organizing expertise. Professional organizers also flocked to two courses taught by the exemplary Rich Brooks, one on YouTube marketing and another on building business through blogging. Other popular classes included:

Speaking NAKED -- Stripping Away the Barriers of Effective Public Speaking

In Good Company: Building Professional Collaborations and Organizer Teams

and Taking Your Organizing Products to the Market -- What You Need to Know, taught by Clare Kumar, whose Pliio clothing-filing product

I reviewed in the NAPO conference 2011 recap. Coincidentally, the sale of Pliio went national via HSN a mere 48 hours before Clare's presentation at NAPO.


NAPO's educational foundation isn't just built on the smaller breakout sessions, which attract anywhere from 50 to about 200 attendees, each. The whole kit and kaboodle of organizers (tidily) crammed themselves into standing-room-only ballrooms to hear stirring keynotes from the original Apprentice, Bill Rancic, who shared his ideas on How To Think Like an Entrepreneur and Joanne Lichten, PhD, RD (Dr. Jo), who imparted wisdom on How to Stay Focused, Energized and More Productive.

NAPOites like Paper Doll, who had been lucky enough to attend the 2002 NAPO conference in Atlanta were especially delighted to experience the return of our closing keynote speaker, Dan Thurmon. His inspirational keynote on personal growth and expanding your opportunities was accompanied by his impressive

acrobatic flips, juggling lessons and performance atop a 6 foot unicycle! He taught us how to be Off Balance On Purpose!

It wouldn't be a NAPO conference without Ask the Organizer panels, and like last year, we had two, one led by Monica Ricci, Ask the Organizer's creator and decade-long moderator, and another made up of NAPO's Golden Circle veterans, led once again by Lisa Montanaro. There was also a first-timer orientation and two Golden Circle goal-planning sessions. Paper Doll, along with colleagues Helene Segura and the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers' reigning queen, Audrey Levine, led a Jeopardy-inspired presentation on the ins-and-outs of certification and re-certification.


Conference is almost as much about who you get to know as what you learn, and 2012 was no different. There were (NAPO) presidents:

Stephanie Denton (2001-2003), Standolyn Robertson (2007-2009) and Laura Leist (2009-2011)

Stephanie Denton with Barry Izsak (1993-1997)

TV stars and published authors:

A&E Hoarders' star Geralin Thomas & The Other Side of Organized author Linda Samuels

and celebrities of the blogosphere:

Peace of Mind Organizing's Janine Adams with Unclutterer's Erin Doland

Paper Doll, Jeri Dansky, Janine Adams

Sharon Lowenheim with Krista Colvin


NAPO values the heart as much as the intellect. In 2011, NAPO members helped collect over 168,000 pairs of shoes for non-profit partner Soles4Souls -- watch the video for the full story.

At our conference, NAPO gave Organizing Excellence Awards to two Baltimore-based organizations. The first went to the House of Ruth, one of the nation's leading domestic violence centers. The second award, to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), brought tears to the eyes of many as Ellen Palestine delivered a deeply personal story of the role UNOS has played in her life. Readers, I urge you to watch the video and hear just a bit of what NAPO members heard that Saturday afternoon.


Seated: Yvette Clay, Clare Kumar, Allison Carter
Standing: Helene Segura, Paper Doll

NAPO members cannot live by words alone -- not even blog posts. In large groups and small ones, we ventured out into Baltimore to explore the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fell's Point and elsewhere in Charm City, share convivial conversation, and at least once, dine on-the-go when a fire alarm interrupted the salad course.

What? Paper Doll was hungry! I thought it was quite organized of me to carry my Caesar salad, napkin and coat through the rain, to safety, especially my when dining companions, including Professional Organizers in Canada's President Jacki Hollywood Brown and Vice President Carolyn Caldwell, and NAPO's own Jeri Dansky, all left their beverages at the table! (This might all have involved the "luck of the Canadians", as POC's leaders encountered three fire alarms on this conference trip.)


Over the coming posts, we'll be exploring the great new organizing products (paper and otherwise) NAPO conference attendees saw this year. I don't want to spoil the experience, but to tantalize you, here are a few thematic hints:
  • All You Need Is (About) a Dollar and an Organizing Dream
  • Pretty (and as Organized) as a Princess
  • A New Way to Do Long Division
  • Stick'em Up!
Until next time, happy organizing!

posted on: 4/3/2012 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by Linda Samuels on 4/3/2012 11:31:42 AM:

Great post, Julie! It brings back all the highlights and great memories from the 2012 NAPO Baltimore. Thanks so taking the photo of Geralin & me. I love it! It was great seeing you & can't wait to see you again very soon.

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 4/3/2012 3:36:21 PM:

It was lovely seeing you (and your souped-up bag) at NAPO. I hope to see you soon...and in New Orleans next year.

by Jacki Hollywood Brown on 4/3/2012 7:43:19 PM:

This will freak ya out but my first day back at my corporate client after the NAPO conference....we had a fire alarm and had to evacuate. It must be just me.

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 4/3/2012 8:35:57 PM:

Oh, good gravy, Jacki! Your body must be running some alternative electrical current that's making the detectors go all wackadoodle. (That's the scientific term, isn't it?)

by Janet Barclay on 4/4/2012 6:21:41 AM:

I see 1-2-3 of my clients here! How exciting!

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 4/4/2012 11:21:10 AM:

Janet, I'm hearing the Count from Sesame Street in my head. Ahahahahaha! Three professional organizers. Aahahahahaha!

by Heather Burke on 4/4/2012 2:24:35 PM:

Great inside scoop. It is nice to see that Professional Organizers are such a smiley group.

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 4/4/2012 8:21:51 PM:


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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.

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