In January of 2020, the advisory board met like it has at the beginning of the year in Chicago for the past 15 years. The subject of COVID came up a couple of times and there was a news alert that the first case had been verified in Chicago at the time we were there. We all left, said we’ll see you in May in Boston as that is our second board meeting each year, and never imagined we’d go so long between seeing each other in person. As a group we meet twice a year but outside of those settings between the annual HFSE event and other industry events groups of us can be together as many as 5 or 6 times a year. This past December a lot of us were in Austin but not everyone as some folk’s organizations were still not traveling or people had personal situations where they were still not being around large groups.
The Friday before last, over two years later, twenty-eight of us once again gathered in Chicago. The energy was palpable. The friendly banter and teasing felt so familiar. The enthusiasm and passion for our industry and what comes next after all we’ve been through was inspiring. That may have been the most amazing part of it all. We all know what healthcare organizations and the partners that support them have been through. Nobody has been untouched or unchanged. Everyone talked about right now facing staffing and supply shortages and figuring out how to still provide healthcare. And yet there was optimism in the room. There was hope and determination to continue to figure out how to fix some of our most pressing issues from climate change to mental health to reaching underserved communities. Each person contributing in their own way. Intelligent discussions happening and you could see what one person said would spur another to scribble something down or type up a note which often was an email or text to me with an expanded thought on something we’d discussed.
Let me go back for a second to the friendly banter and teasing that was the true delight of the day. These people who enjoy each other’s company coming together and catching up after such a long hiatus. Hearing stories of kids that it seems just yesterday were learning to walk now learning to drive; announcements of new grandchildren, engagements, and graduations; funny anecdotes of what we all learned during the pandemic and so much more. As professionally accomplished as our board is and as varied the backgrounds, what always strikes me about the group is how much everyone enjoys each other’s company and comradery.
It was a special day. And it gave us a lot of great ideas for this September’s event in Long Beach. Stay tuned next week as we’ll be announcing our conference program.
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo
PS. Have a question or comment, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]