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Directly Speaking
Things I Learned at the Annual Meeting

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President

Another ICHP Annual Meeting has come and gone and the highlights are contained in this issue of the KeePosted.  And, rather than rehash them again, I thought I would share some of the behind-the-scenes happenings that I observed, enjoyed, and continually make me shake my head!

First thing out of the box actually occurred before the Annual Meeting began on Wednesday night.  Our new lobbyists spend their off-session time running or helping with campaigns for many of the legislators around the State and on the Wednesday night before the meeting they put together a fundraiser for Senators Andy Manar (Bunkerhill) and Kimberly Lightford (Westchester).  We found three ICHP members from Senator Manar’s district who were headed to the meeting from Decatur Memorial Hospital:  Pharmacy Director Kristi Stice, Pharmacy Operations Manager Michelle Heidel, and Pharmacy Technician Emily Boyer.  I asked them if they would like to attend the event and they agreed.  On Thursday morning, I met an energized and enthusiastic Kristi, who relayed the previous evening’s events and I could tell she was hooked on becoming a political activist for pharmacy.  I didn’t realize how hooked until the following week when Kristi e-mailed me to volunteer to serve on ICHP’s Government Affairs Division and asked how she could follow-up with Senator Manar back home!  Saying yes to a simple invitation has hopefully awakened another voice for pharmacy!

Fast forward to the last day of the meeting (pardon me for jumping around but I’m sharing nuggets based on personal impact), when I had a conversation with James Lodolce, widower of Dr. Amy Lodolce and presenter of the Amy Lodolce Mentorship Award.  James has now presented the award since its inception in 2013, and he was sharing with me that during that time he has had pharmacy student annual meeting attendees approach him after the presentations to ask if he remembers them from his microbiology and cellular biology classes at Loyola University, where he teaches.  James was impressed that they would do that but was even more hopeful that someday, perhaps one of his former students would be the recipient of the award named for his wife!  That would be another amazing example of the circle of life!

During much of the meeting, I spend time at the registration desk, meeting and greeting attendees, listening to practice issues, and helping when I can - usually on the regulatory side.  I enjoy the opportunity to talk to members, as most of you know, and it provides a great chance to catch up with friends and colleagues from around the State.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to catch up with everyone and to be honest, I’m now pretty sure I don’t know everyone who attends our meetings.  So what also is important to me is to get your feedback on the meeting through your completion of the General Meeting Evaluation that we provide in every attendee’s folder and online with the mobile app.  This year, as with every year, we get many of the same comments, suggestions and complaints.  I relearned this year that many of our attendees are helpful and complimentary with their input but a few still don’t understand all the intricacies of our Annual Meeting.  This year I thought it might be worthwhile to uncover some Annual Meeting Myths!

Annual Meeting Myth 1: 
“The 1.5 hour breaks were too long!” (Referring to the exhibit program)  For those individuals who would rather have CE instead of exhibits, we can do that, but be prepared for the price of the meeting to jump up significantly.  Did you know that ICHP gathers more revenue from our industry partners for exhibits than we receive from our attendees for their registrations?!  If we do away with exhibits and replace those two 1.5 hour exhibit sessions with continuing education, we will lose more than 30% of our income and would have to raise registration fees by more than that!

Annual Meeting Myth 2: 
“You keep raising the price of the meeting!” This appeared more than once on the evaluation form and this in fact, is fake news!  ICHP’s Annual Meeting has been priced at $250 for a pharmacist member full registration since 2013.  Except in 2016 & 2018 when we lowered the price to $200 because we partnered with the Pharmacy Learning Network and they paid for the entire Thursday programing and food each of those years!  Aren’t you glad we shared the savings!? 

Annual Meeting Myth 3: 
“The networking lunch was great but you need to assign people to tables to make sure they mingle more!”  No, what our attendees should do is decide, in advance, when there are multiple attendees from the same institution participating in the lunch, that greater success can be attained by dividing and conquering.  Many years ago, I learned from a great team leader, that pre-planning who attends each session allows each team member to bring back the nuggets of gold to share with the entire team in order to produce a much larger wealth of information to improve patient care!  Thanks Dr. Mike Youssi!

Annual Meeting Myth 4: 
“The mobile app didn’t work!”  What do you do when new software or hardware doesn’t work in your department?  You call technical support!  Well, there’s a wealth of technical support just hanging around the registration desk.  If you need help with the mobile app, finding a meeting room, checking to see if a friend or colleague is coming to the meeting, we always look forward to helping you find an answer or solution!  We look forward to solving your problems if we can or finding someone who can, if we can’t!

Annual Meeting Myth 5: 
“It is too cold in the meeting rooms” seems to appear on every meeting evaluation and this year, we agree, it was too cold several times!  And here’s how you can help.  Next time you’re in a meeting that seems extremely cold, please find an ICHP staff member and let us know.  Every morning at Drury Lane and most venues, the meeting rooms are not cooled down enough, so staff come in and crank up the air conditioning.  In the meantime, they get to work and stay very busy, so they don’t notice that the temperature has fallen too far.  Let us know and we will let them know.  If we’re out at the registration desk, we don’t know what’s going on in each of the meeting rooms.  But we can if you help us.

I learned these and a few other valuable nuggets at this year’s Annual Meeting and I hope by reading this column, you have, too.  And ask your colleagues if they’ve read this column, too.  Especially if you hear someone sharing one of the myths above.  The more they know…

There are a variety of ways you can get more involved with ICHP and the Annual Meeting is a great place to start.  Meeting new friends at the networking tables, learning about new products and services in the exhibit hall, and gathering new knowledge about treatment options, management skills or the latest in technology trends.  It’s a great beginning to hopefully a career-long relationship.


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Best Practice Journal Article

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Chicago Area Pharmacy Directors Network Dinner
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