The National Notary Association’s 34th Annual Conference in San Diego wrapped up four days of seminars, networking events and special presentations this week amid an atmosphere of renewal and rededication to the essential role of the Notary Public office. Nearly 500 delegates, guests and VIPs from 31 states and the District of Columbia embraced a program built around the theme “Service, Integrity, Trust: Working Together for 55 Years.” During the opening General Session on June 4, NNA Chairman Milt Valera introduced the Association’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas A. Heymann, describing him as “a capable, talented and skillful leader who exudes qualities extraordinary in any individual.” “I am here to serve the NNA, and the Association is here to serve all of you,” Heymann said. Throughout Conference, Heymann spoke with attendees, sought their opinions and discussed a number of planned changes — from improving the NNA’s information systems and online presence to revamping training programs to focusing on building a nationwide community of Notaries. During the Gala Banquet June 5, Sheri Kesterke, the Clerk of the Village of Berrien Springs, Michigan, and longtime community activist, was honored as the 2012 Notary of the Year. Apart from her commitment to Notary professionalism, Kesterke was honored for her lifelong dedication to helping others in need. (A profile of Kesterke will be featured in the July edition of The National Notary magazine.) Earlier in the day, Nevada Attorney General was formally presented with the NNA’s March Fong Eu Achievement Award for her dedication to protecting homeowners and consumers nationwide in the midst of the foreclosure crisis. (A profile of Attorney General Masto ran in the May edition of The National Notary.) Other Conference highlights included a special panel presentation featuring North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who addressed issues of Notary compliance and consumer protection; a panel of state Notary Public Administrators discussing issues facing Notaries; and a special social media lab. No Conference would be complete without the announcement of the venue for next’s year’s event: Austin, Texas. Michael Lewis is Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.