How do you celebrate 25 years of learning, networking and inspiration? That was the question posed to us a year ago as we began to plan for the 25th Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo. In the end, the answer was somewhat simple - hold what is being touted as the best event in 25 years. Since I have returned home from Chicago earlier this month, my inbox has been flooded with folks thanking us for an amazing event and going so far as to say it was the best ever. I am hearing from attendees who have been coming for 25 and 20 years as well as those who attended for the first time and were overwhelmed with all the education and contacts they took home.
During the opening ceremonies, I challenged the audience to put down their cell phones between sessions and not run to check email when there were breaks to walk the exhibit floor. I implored attendees to understand that beyond the traditional conference sessions and exhibitors, they had the potential to learn from each and every person sitting around them. Of course this was obvious at the Symposium Party and the Humanscale Networking Mixer but I get the unique opportunity to hear from so many of you about the connections you make through attending the Symposium. Stories like the attendee looking for a solution to a problem at their facility who just happens to sit down for lunch with a manufacturer who can help them. Or the speaker who shares an anecdote in a session about a personal challenge and the attendee who comes up after and can offer a solution. That is always what impresses me so much with our audience is that friendships are made at the Symposium that don’t just help in professional situations but also in personal challenges.
In planning our 25 year celebration, the other important factor for us was that we celebrate the milestone but we also are sure to look ahead. What are the conversations and ideas for the next 25 years? And also who are the leaders for the next 25 years? I am so happy to report that quite a few young professionals have reached out to me in a desire to get involved and help create programs and opportunities for the next generation. One of our board members brought up the most interesting idea to me yesterday. She said we’ve spent the last 25 years creating this community. Perhaps the next 25 years is about harnessing that community outside of the conference & tradeshow environment. Between educating and supporting the next generation and perhaps finding a way to use the energy and passion at the Symposium to create something bigger than an event, we certainly have our work cut out for ourselves for the next quarter century. Work has already begun on the 2013 event and I look forward to keeping you updated throughout the year in this space.
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo