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Breakout: The Pandemic Pivot: The Power of Parks & Rec Leadership During COVID-19

October 15, 2020 | 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Aisha Panas   

Session Description:

What happens when a park and recreation agency can’t provide recreation services? That’s what happened when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered community centers, sports complexes, and pools, and people were subject to “stay home” orders. The answer is: they PIVOT. This session shares Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s response to the pandemic – the decisive early steps, the creation of a “business case for recreation,” and the importance of fostering a resilient workforce to help achieve the agency’s vision.


  • Utilize new tools to manage through leadership changes, economic pressures and changing community desires within the park and recreation industry
  • Assess your agency's capacity to communicate your mission effectively, and bring employees and management staff along for the ride
  • Understand the value of building a resilient, nimble workforce

Aisha Panas, the director of Park & Recreation Services for Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, has spent more than 20 years in the fields of long range planning and parks and recreation. She currently oversees the provision of high-quality recreation services for a community of 250,000 people and is the president-elect of the Oregon Recreation and Park Association, where she developed the association's Leadership Academy.


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