September 21-23, 2021
Austin Convention Center | Austin, TX

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The Leaflet Article


Top 5 Highlights from this Year’s Symposium

Jenabeth Ferguson, Vice President, Symposium Director

Another Symposium is in the books! Once again I am overwhelmed with the dynamic people who come together at our event.  While the subjects and information discussed can be found through other forums, the pillar of our event is the way folks connect and it’s a true testament to the passion and dedication of our community. Last year I shared my top 5 moments from the event and I thought that is a good tradition to continue so here goes.

1. Allison Massari! There was so much buzz and excitement about Allison’s keynote – everyone was talking about her amazing speech and how moving it was. One of attendees shared the following with us and I think they said it best, “Allison Massari was an incredible way to start the conference experience and frame the lens through which our work should be shared and experienced. Her understanding of the importance of design in the medical theater, as a decade-long patient, brings deep meaning to the work we do and passion we serve. Thank you for bringing such a compassionate sage to start our week of learning, sharing, and uplifting humanity through our work in health and wellness design.”

2. The Design Solutions Theater was a new feature this year. It was an opportunity for the Design Galleries to come to life and the firms to give you lessons learned from those projects in a short and poignant format. As you can see from the photo below they were very popular! They will be back next year with some changes but for a first time venture nothing is better than seeing folks flocking to the area.

3. This one is very personal. I love kicking off our event in the Grand Ballroom. Standing there as all the attendees file in for the first time.Hugs, handshakes or finally getting a chance to put a face with a name. I try my hardest to greet as many of you as possible. And then I get to be the first person you hear from in an effort to prepare you for the best experience possible at our event.It is one of the great joys of my job and the culmination of 12 months of work preparing the most valuable event for our community.

4. Our raffle committee is formed of fiercely dedicated women who donate their time and efforts to solicit donations and prizes for our annual raffle benefiting a deserving organization. Every year they push hard to surpass our donation from the year before.This year we blew right past our highest contribution!We raised over $18,000 for Allison Massari’s Roger Pepper Adventure Camp. The camp promotes and provides outdoor recreation to teenagers with severe burns and only serves a small group each year so our donation will go very far in supporting their efforts. With all going on in this world, it is good to be reminded the good that people are capable of when coming together. Thank you to all who supported this effort.

5. We offer discussion forums as an opportunity for sessions to be more interactive. Our goal is always for this to be a chance for attendees to learn from fellow attendees with the speaker acting as moderator and to jump start the conversation.John Milne, MD lead one of our discussion forums this year and the story goes that one of the attendees (you can see her back in this photo) ended up engaging with him and co-leading the discussion. This is an example of what we hope happens at more and more sessions because it’s not just the folks at the podium who are thought leaders and it’s not just traditional sessions that provide learning opportunities.

Those are my top 5 favorite moments from this year. As always, work began on next year’s event immediately. And you may have heard that after 10 years in Chicago we are on the move.  The 2016 event will be at the Hilton in Orlando, Florida on September 19th-21st.  Be sure to read my column in December for more on this exciting change. 

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

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