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

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Industry News for the entire team who designs, plans, constructs and manages healthcare facilities

The Leaflet Article


The Advisory Board Conversation

Jenabeth Ferguson, Vice President, Symposium Director

Picture it . . . Chicago January 2013 and it is 7 degrees out. I look around a table on the 14th floor of the Perkins + Will office to see over 30 dedicated professionals. What would make these folks travel from as far (and as warm) as Arizona, Florida and California or in some cases as close as the other end of Michigan Avenue? They came because it was our annual Symposium Advisory Board meeting and to say they are dedicated is a very mild understatement. Every single one of them is a busy professional with family and personal obligations, not unlike you and me. Yet they set aside a day on their calendar, headed to Chicago to sit in a room and offer all of their expertise, insight and knowledge on how we can once again make sure the Symposium serves you. I continue to be in awe of this group and wish all of you could be a fly on the wall during this amazing day. But since you can’t - let me offer some of my most favorite observations of the day.

We start off by each introducing ourselves and answering the question “What was your greatest accomplishment prior to the 12th grade?” The answers to that question tell the story of our group – we have really intelligent and motivated individuals whose greatest accomplishment was they graduated high school in the 10th grade and were already in college; we had entrepreneurs who had bought their first house, renovated it and entered the world of rental property; and then we had the athletes who held records still standing. What this exercise showed us is that we have a very accomplished group who possess diverse and varied strengths and interests. That really didn’t surprise me as our group consists of architects, engineers, interior designers, contractors, researchers and healthcare administrators representing major design firms, small independent consultants, major manufacturers, large health systems and small hospitals.

What does continue to surprise me is the willingness of everyone to talk about the challenges they are facing individually and as organizations in today’s world. They do this in the hope that the Symposium can find ways to address these challenges and truly serve the industry as a place to educate and inspire our attendees. But in order to share these issues they have to be willing to talk about them in front of their competitors – sitting around the table are folks who on a daily basis are going after the same projects. Yet in this setting, they are able to put that aside in order to serve the Symposium and ultimately the industry as a whole.

At the end of the day I walk away with over 8 pages of notes. I have information on what topics to cover in this year’s conference program as well as suggestions for keynote speakers. They have given feedback on marketing language, images and timing of pieces. We have talked about the “next generation” and how to get them more involved in the Symposium so they can continue the traditions. The conversation has even been about what charitable organization we should select as this year’s raffle beneficiary. This group is your voice in so many aspects of the event you experience each fall and why the Symposium is truly the event for the industry by the industry! The meeting is just one component of their influence but it is most certainly the most significant outside of their role at the event. I am so grateful for their dedication and support. Please be sure to check out who makes up our esteemed advisory board.

Jenabeth Ferguson
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo

P.S. Have a thought or question about the Symposium? Please feel free to contact me at any time at

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