Take time to connect at AADE17

Kellie Rodriguez, MSN, MBA, CDE

There is no greater energy than being at an annual AADE conference. Passion abounds! One of my favorite parts of being an educator is the ability to connect with talented, multidisciplinary colleagues. At AADE17, you will be surrounded by networking opportunities, not only with local colleagues but also with national and international ones. This year’s conference theme, Keep Your Drive Alive, is not only about gaining new knowledge and program ideas but also about making new connections. For example, at a recent AADE conference, I caught up with one of my Australian colleagues that I haven’t seen since moving to the United States in 2005. As we all know, diabetes knows no boundaries!

AADE17 will provide you with an abundance of chances to make meaningful connections, including the day before the conference begins. Depending on your schedule, consider coming to Indianapolis a day early to attend a preconference session on Thursday, August 3. Then stick around to attend the State Coordinating Body and Communities of Interest Networking Reception later that evening. I love being able to interact with colleagues that are in my state and ones specifically focused on my practice setting or areas of interest.

Also, remember that just as you are choosing your education sessions based on your professional interests, so are your colleagues. This means when you attend an education session and sit next to someone you don’t know, you are already connected! Reach out to say hello and exchange contact information. It won’t hurt a bit and very well may help you down the line!

The exhibit hall is also a great opportunity to connect. You will walk alongside many new faces throughout the conference and will be stopping at the same booths. Take those opportunities to meet new people and expand your network. If it’s not on the exhibit hall floor, perhaps it will be on the dance floor during an AADE17 evening event! Or maybe it will be in your hotel lobby as you sip a glass of wine or your morning coffee. Opportunities to connect are around every corner!

My key piece of advice: bring a large handful of your business cards! Information is available everywhere you look but dedicated time to network is a real luxury so make sure you attend AADE17 and make connections. These relationships are something you can carry with you throughout your professional career and beyond.

Can’t wait to see you there!

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