News & Resources


Congress Veterans Share Testimonials on the Biggest Payroll Event of the Year

BY: APA Staff | 04/10/19

For 37 years, the American Payroll Association has taken on a challenge of hosting the biggest payroll event in the country—a week-long endeavor with numerous opportunities for networking, professional development, and earning recertification credits. If you’ve never attended, it can be hard to grasp the incredible benefits that the Annual Congress offers. Thankfully, three long-time Congress attendees have offered to share their stories.


“Attending Congress for the last 34 years has provided me with detailed payroll business knowledge, updated technical knowledge, as well as personal growth. Without these skills and abilities, I don’t feel I would have had the same success working in large organizations and as an independent consultant. As the largest payroll event in the country, there are so many opportunities to learn and to network, that the entire week is packed full of benefits to the attendee and the attendee’s employer.

I can recall so many wonderful memories, such as attendees filling ever-larger conference facilities, speaking at workshops (I was so nervous the first time), being introduced as a CPP Board member, Vice President, or most recently as an Ambassador. Of course, the fun times come to mind, too: hundreds of payroll professionals roaming the streets of Tijuana in green APA jackets, staying at Walt Disney World, my children getting in a squirt gun fight with Dan Maddux, a payroll parade in New Orleans, and Dan riding into a party on an Elephant. The most memorable moment for me, though, has to be receiving the 2001 Payroll Man of the Year award. Unknown to me, my wife and my boss had flown in from Detroit to see me get the award. I was overwhelmed!” 

Roger Smith, CPP

Payroll Management Consultant


“I have been very lucky to attend the majority of Annual Congresses since 1994, either company-paid or on my own dime. As a result, I’ve gained confidence in my skills and knowledge and also widened my peer network. I fell into payroll as a career choice, but the support and education I’ve received from APA and Congress have benefited my career and professional development immensely.

When it comes to convincing your employer to invest in Congress registration, use the APA letter to highlight the benefits of attending Congress. More importantly, report what you learned when you return to the office—then implement it. Invest in yourself, even if your company doesn’t. The return will be evident in your increased skills and knowledge and will support your ongoing career development.”

Valery Noakes, CPP

Sr. Manager of Payroll & Data Operations
Becton Dickinson & Company


“Since attending my first Congress 5 years ago, I have grown substantially. I have gone from not knowing a single CPP or APA member, to having a wide range of payroll professionals in my network. I was able to obtain my CPP. I became a speaker at Congress and participated in the payroll games. I nominated my organization for a 2018 Prism Award, which we won! These milestones have allowed me to present myself as an industry expert among my peers, which has helped me grow my department from a back office data entry team to a strong department full of knowledgeable payroll professionals.

The Annual Congress is like a merging of the minds. It’s an opportunity to not only learn but also network and bounce questions, concerns, ideas, etc. off other payroll professionals and industry leaders. This is a week-long event of learning that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the industry and step away from the normal day to day functions of payroll life. Everyone can learn something. Once you feel confident in your knowledge, then it’s your time to share!”

Laurel Serra, CPP
Director of Payroll
Palm Beach State College

The 37th Annual Congress will be held May 14-18, 2019 in Long Beach, California. Click here to learn more.