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Kansas City’s 5 Hottest Conferences in 2018

Thanks to its central location, business travelers flock to Kansas City, and the metro area is home to many of the country's biggest business conferences. All year long its hotels and convention centers fill up with professionals eager to learn more and network.

Here are some of Kansas City's best conferences, large and small. Pack your bags, bring some business cards, and get ready to learn about the most important developments in your industry.

1. SHPE Conference

Kansas City's Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Conference is one of the area's biggest. SHPE is a professional organization that aims to support Hispanic engineers in their work and professional development. It also promotes STEM in schools to get Hispanic youth interested in engineering.

The conference takes place in early November in the Kansas City Convention Center and draws more than 5,000 attendees every year, including professionals, students and companies. It includes a career expo for grad students, as well as a three-day professional development track.

While SHPE hasn't announced a line-up of 2018's distinguished lecturers yet or the event's date, and tickets aren't available as of this writing, 2017's lineup included Jean Andino of Arizona State University; Oscar Vazquez-Mena from the University of California, San Diego; and Brian Mazzeo from Brigham Young University.

2. 2018 Kansas City Professional Development Conference

The PDC is an annual conference that focuses on higher education, especially professionals like administrators, support and technical staff. The event takes place in late spring every year at Kansas City Kansas Community College, and it features a keynote speaker and several breakout groups and discussions.

The 2018 schedule hasn't been announced yet, but 2017's conference featured discussions of how to lead, no matter your actual role; using technology to foster student learning; how to have important and difficult discussions with students and colleagues; and how to best focus one's time and talents. Advance registration is required for the conference, but registration is free for individuals who work in organizations affiliated with the Kansas City Professional Development Council.

3. 2018 BlogPaws Conference

Looking to monetize your blog? The annual BlogPaws Conference, held at the Sheraton Kansas City from April 18th to the 20th, is sponsored by Pet360 Media Solutions. It teaches attendees how to monetize their blogs. While the event focuses on pet-centric blogging, anyone is welcome and any topics are allowed. Learn how to turn a blog into a book or business, conduct contests via Facebook app, or host special Twitter fundraisers. Naturally, pets are welcome.

4. NP-LEAD

The staff at non-profits often feel powerfully driven to change the world, but they may not come in with the skills they need to do that. NP-LEAD is an annual conference that provides attendees with resources, strategies, and information they need to succeed at their chosen mission. It takes place all day on Thursday, January 4th, at the Kansas City Marriott in Kansas City and it's organized by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

5. 3rd Annual Let's Grow Conference: For Early Childhood Professionals

Each summer, St. Paul's Episcopal Day School in Kansas City puts together the Let's Grow Conference. This event is specifically aimed at early childhood professionals, including elementary school teachers, Head Start employees, day care workers and other educators who work with young children.

Each year's event has a different focus, and the 2018 conference's slate hasn't been announced yet. However, previous years have focused on sensory integration challenges, building motor skills, and enriching children through play and music. Every year, the conference sends educators home with tools they can quickly and easily integrate into their classrooms and lesson plans.

Heading to Kansas City for any of these conferences in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.