In Their Shoes: Why I joined WHPRMS, a newer member’s perspective
To be honest, I joined WHPRMS for a pretty lame reason- my coworkers told me to! But, why I stay a member, and remain an active part of the Board of Directors, is much more important.
When I began my new job at Mercyhealth, I leaned heavily on my colleagues for best practices in health care marketing, and to learn the “who’s who” in the industry. I was also fresh-faced and practically came straight from my college graduation. Thankfully, my coworkers had another suggestion as to how I could learn more about my field-join WHPRMS.
My team also invited me to also attend the WHPRMS Annual Conference, assuring me it would be a blast and a great networking opportunity. We were slated to win awards too, which added to the excitement.
Looking back, I know that their descriptions just scratched the surface of what WHPRMS has actually offered me in my (FAST!) two years of membership. Let’s review:
Many of the marketers I’ve met have similar personalities. Most of us are people-people. We thrive on relationships and have a great capacity for empathy. There is NO better place for networking than WHPRMS. The two conferences I’ve attended provide the opportunity for me to meet other professionals facing the same successes and challenges as me. They’ve shared best practices, failed projects, and lessons learned.
Outside of the conference, there are other networking opportunities. Any member can “Ask the membership,” A quick way to access 200 health care marketing and public relations professionals. Plus, I know I’ve made lifelong professional and personal contacts. Our people-oriented personalities make it easy to connect. It’s those connections that led to me joining the Board of Directors for WHPRMS. Being on the board has been rewarding and given me great experience, which leads to my next item.
Besides networking, I’ve already learned so much by being a member of WHPRMS. It was great to come to that first conference and see the accomplishments of my organization recognized, as well as countless of accomplishments of other organizations. From the speakers and presenters to the award ceremony, it was fascinating and inspiring to see all that creativity. We all know it’s easy to fall into routines where we don’t access our creativity. Learning from others about what has worked for them, and what hasn’t, has helped me do my job.
The articles, blogs, website and questions that are shared are also a great part of my WHPRMS experience. It’s so easy to take a few minutes to review the latest info that’s posted, and I always learn something new. My learning experience expanded exponentially when I joined the Board of Directors. There’s not enough room in this article to mention all I want to say, but here are just a few that had a big impact on me: budgeting, how to gain and retain membership, and how to think sharply about my audience and what they need.
FUN!!! (Yes, three exclamation points are a must here)
This last point is the easiest sell of all. I had the time of my life at that first conference. At that time, I had only been in health care marking for six months. The experience helped me bond with my team. It set a strong foundation for the relationship I have with my colleagues (friends) now. Some of these fun experiences are professional, others speak more to my personal friendships. Regardless, WHPRMS is where is started!
Even more fun? The Board of Directors. When you work with a tight-knit group of people who are as dedicated as the WHPRMS board is, the work doesn’t seem like work. Our meetings every two months are gatherings I look forward to—I want to know how fatherhood is treating one member, how another is helping plan their daughter’s wedding, and another building a new home! We laugh together, and get a lot of work too, but those Friday meetings are one of my highlights. I love spending time with people who are as inspired as I am to make a difference for those facing the same struggles as me in their professional lives.
Ultimately, these professional/personal relationships are awesome, and they are the heart of why I joined WHPRMS. I joined for the team I work with every single day at Mercyhealth, but I gained an extra team of people who are there to help me succeed too – not just the Board of Directors, but all of WHPRMS. It’s an open book of who I could meet at this year’s conference to spark my creativity, change my perceptive on a project I’m struggling with, or simply find a new friend.
I love meeting new people, so feel free to say hello and introduce yourself at this year’s annual conference. (October 11-13 at Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan) See you there!