Lessons from WHPRMS Annual Conference

I remember the first time I attended a WHPRMS conference 12 years ago. I didn’t know anyone except the co-worker I came with (and I didn’t really like him all that much). I didn’t put myself out there and ended up coming home with some good information but still very unsure of this organization that my boss told me I should join.

Year 2, I went with several co-workers. We mingled and met a few people and I started to learn more about what WHPRMS was all about. By year 3, I was mingling on my own and met some more good people. And Year 4 was the year I joined the board (or I should say – got talked into joining the board over breakfast). From that point, I was hooked. I love the annual conference – meeting new people, seeing old friends, going to bed without having to read Green Eggs and Ham …..

I know at times, people seem to have their own cliques. And there are a lot of inside jokes. But what I have learned is everyone is always so nice that it doesn’t matter if you are new – people never seem to mind if you join their table or group.

Over the years, here are a few things I have learned:

  • The Plaza Hotel in Eau Claire is a little scary (and I hope we never go back there).
  • The Heidel House must be the end of the universe – since cell phones and the internet do not work there.
  • “I GOT WOOD” really means that you won an award of excellence in the Communications Review (referring to the plaque made of wood).
  • Kevin Stranberg looks really good in a crown.
  • If three board members corner you at breakfast – run – otherwise you might end up on a committee or the board.
  • The annual meeting would be way more fun if you could heckle the President!
  • Some issues are universally challenging – like physician relations.
  • There are A LOT of really cool people practicing healthcare marketing and PR across the state.

The annual conference is a great time to relax, network and learn. I always come home inspired with new ideas. So I invite you to put yourself out there and join us.

And don’t worry if you don’t know anyone – just come find me at the Wednesday night reception – I promise to introduce you to some really fun people!!

Melissa Douglas

WHPRMS Past President

BVK, Milwaukee

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