It is remarkable to me that this will be the third time I will share my top moments from the Symposium in this column. It seems like just yesterday I started this column as a way to communicate with all of you throughout the year and in reality it has been over three years. The Leaflet itself is an extension of the event, a way to offer insight and education throughout the year. And this column is a way for me to reach all of you throughout the year to point out the important things happening. I am going to indulge in looking back as I continue the tradition of sharing my top 5 favorite things from this year’s event.
1. Monday is Mental Health Day!
We offered a series of sessions on Monday addressing behavioral health. Part of this series was a partnership with Bring Change 2 Mind that included having Mark Joyella take part on a panel discussion on the patient’s perspective. This is was in an intimate setting during one session. And then at lunch he addressed the entire conference and spoke bravely and freely about his diagnoses of OCD and what organizations like Bring Change 2 Mind are doing to end the stigmatism association with mental illness. Mark did a video of his trip and I encourage you all to check it out here.
2. Symposium Party!
For years the Symposium party has been part of the opening night of the exhibit floor. One of the features is our annual raffle in which everyone has an opportunity to win some great prizes while raising money for a worthy cause. This year that cause was Bring Change 2 Mind as a tie in to our Monday is Mental Health Day. The twist this year was we introduced Bucket in a Booth where all the prize buckets were scattered throughout the exhibit floor. This created such energy during the party – attendees and exhibitors were talking, interacting and learning from each other all while enjoying themselves. It was a great atmosphere to be a part of and to see everyone thrive in.
3. Ribbon Game!
We have a history of introducing networking games and this year we took an idea from an advisory board member and ran with it. After the opening keynote we had tables of ribbons that said things like Runs with Scissors, Troublemaker, I read your email and attendees were so eager to pick out one or more that they identified with themselves. These ribbons served as conversation starters throughout the week. It was a very fun way to get everyone out of their focused space and open to talking with one another.
4. The Hilton!
This year was a big change for us. After 10 years at the Navy Pier in Chicago we moved to the Hilton Orlando. And boy did that change of venue make for such an improved environment. The big difference was everything being under one roof and not having to battle traffic on shuttle buses or taxis but also allowing more time to network. Not to be overlooked as well was the modern amenities that the Hilton provided and improved everyone’s experience. And of course the chance to take advantage of the outdoor venues as we did during the Humanscale Party.
5. Visual Translator!
A great feature this year was we had a visual translator onsite observing sessions, discussions, interactions and all events. His observations provided insight into what topics are on everyone’s mind and perhaps what keeps us up at night in terms of industry challenges. The final product also gives us a keepsake to remind of us what we experienced at this year’s Symposium. And the joy in watching him work and seeing the canvas fill up as the event continued was a great treat for everyone. The final canvas is a great memento!
Those are my top 5 favorite moments from this year. As always, work began on next year’s event immediately. We are headed to Austin, Texas! I am super excited to visit this dynamic, emerging destination with all of you. Mark your calendars for September 18-20, 2017 and be on the lookout for more information in the coming months. It will be a very exciting year as we’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary!
Jenabeth Ferguson Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo
P.S. Have a thought about the Symposium? Please feel free to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.