Sharon Fahrer

Guest post by Sharon Fahrer, Director of Special Events, LeadingAge PA

We’re excited to present the 2020 LeadingAge PA Annual Conference + EXPO on August 19–21. Our goal is to make the virtual experience every bit as interesting and exciting as the live event! You’ll experience much of what our attendees have come to love about our live conference—plus a few surprises!

From the moment you (virtually) walk into the lobby of the three-dimensional conference, you’ll feel like you’re physically there. You can explore the EXPO exhibits, attend educational sessions, catch keynote speaker Colette Carlson and even network with colleagues. As in past years, the highlight of day one will be the LeadingAge PA Distinguished Service Awards.

Advantages of attending the conference virtually:

  • If you’re among the first 500 people to register, you’ll receive an exhibitor box with carefully selected goodies, including gift cards to cover the cost of lunches attendees are usually provided at Hershey
  • You’ll save time and money on travel: no hotel stay, no gas, no car rental, no traffic!
  • Registration rates are discounted as we’re sensitive to many of our members being under COVID-related financial stress
  • People who usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to physically attend will find it easier to participate

Why we decided on a virtual conference

We were in the final stages of planning our live conference when COVID-19 hit. We decided to go virtual when it became clear we needed to pivot in order to protect our members.  As their well-being comes first, there was no way we could encourage people in the senior living industry to gather and put their safety, or the safety of their residents, at risk.

Finding a virtual platform that feels real

As we pivoted, we concentrated on finding the best virtual platform. We were fortunate that LeadingAge National was also starting a search. We selected the same platform. We chose an engaging system, with three-dimensional elements and cool features, so that you feel as close as possible to being at a live conference. When you enter the conference, it’s not like looking at a flat screen; there’s a three-dimensional building with different activities going on in the lobby. 

The EXPO Hall
Each exhibitor will have a booth. Visitors can chat with staff in real time, access their resources and set appointments. In addition to dedicated hours for the EXPO, you’ll be allowed 24/7 access to booths.

Networking opportunities

You can see who’s online at any given time, so you can connect with them via live video chat. It’s like being at our live conference, seeing a colleague in a hallway, and starting a conversation—only, it’s virtual.

General Sessions

Complementing three days of education sessions will be two general sessions:

  • Colette Carlson, human behavior expert – Keynote Speaker

Carlson’s topic will be, “Many Communicate, Few Connect.” Her engaging, energetic and upbeat presentation style is just what attendees need right now.

  • Rachel Levine, Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Dr. Levine will speak about Pennsylvania’s response to COVID-19 and answer attendees’ questions. You’ll have the opportunity to submit your questions and make your voice heard.

Tips to get the most out of the conference

Approach it as if you were attending in person. Block the time off on your online calendar. Close down other applications, and try to focus. The conference will include breaks and the days will end early so that you can work as needed.

Just a reminder: LeadingAge PA is here to help you during COVID-19, offering:

  • A weekly member update call with President and CEO Adam Marles
  • A community lounge where members can ask questions and communicate with other members about how they’re handling issues
  • Resources and tools on the dedicated LeadingAge PA COVID-19 webpage

If you haven’t registered yet, I urge you to attend the 2020 LeadingAge PA Annual Conference + EXPO: Virtual Experience. Hurry to receive the free exhibitor box full of goodies for only the first 500 registrants.  Have a great time!

Questions? Contact LeadingAge PA at (800) 545-2270 or (717) 763-5724.