And a Great Time, and Some Great Learning, Was Had by All

workshopMy head is still spinning from our Business and Marketing Workshop Experience in Chicago over the weekend. While I’ve already told you how United Airlines tried to ruin the experience for me, I don’t want that to overshadow the real outcome of the weekend; that is, that about 25 of us got together for 1-1/2 days of EXCELLENCE.

My measurement of EXCELLENCE comes from attendee comments, but even more so from the things I learned along the way, too. It’s the interaction, the connections, and the shared learning that comprise my definition of excellence.

Observations and comments:

Our group was a marvelous mix of veterans (advocates in business for a few years or more) and newbies who are still thinking about advocacy as a profession. Our focus, of course, was on the business of advocacy (as opposed to the actual advocacy work itself.) We spent one day focused on marketing topics and ideas, although the learning of the day was peppered with topics that crossed over to the business of patient advocacy, too. We spent a half day focusing on business topics and, you guessed it, they were peppered with marketing ideas as well. Balanced and coordinated.

Steve Okey, Ohio Patient Advocates, added to our list of the reasons someone might contact an advocate. That is, that when they call, they feel as if they have failed the loved one they have tried to support. They can’t do it all themselves. He explains to them that they have not failed; instead they have succeeded because they have called him. Great message. Steve also shared their experience with adding pricing to his website – a brand new and very useful perspective!

Lisa Withrow, Focused Health, helped us reconfigure our master list of patient advocacy services, suggesting that both Hospice and Palliative Care should be broken out as their own “thing” – not to be included under Eldercare Services. We’ll be making that change.

Yvonne Mossberg, Prairie Healthcare Advocacy, and Steve Okey (mentioned above) won the “branding experts” designation. They’ve both done an outstanding job of branding their businesses both graphically and through their messages. Yvonne even has monogrammed shirts!

Bill Wilkes, Medvocate Group, may be doing the best job of networking with others. He has helped pull together a group of advocates in his Ft. Lauderdale area. They get together once a month sharing advocacy and business ideas, supporting each other, and proving (as we’ve said here many times) that networking is about growing your business, it’s not about giving away the farm to your competition.

Those are just a few of the learning highlights, many of which will now be shared with future advocate audiences because they are so very valuable.

Now let me share some of their post-workshop comments, gleaned from the evaluations they provided afterwards:

Annie Sommerfeld: This experience has been life-changing! It was a terrific experience and I have benefited in many ways. I pray I can stop thinking and move forward with the start of a patient advocacy business. I really feel like I now have the tangible things I need to begin.

From Don Rigot, Reassured Advocacy: We are ready to accept clients now. This workshop has helped us fine tune things. I feel very empowered and confident that this new business will be successful.

And from Don’s wife, Cindy Rigot, his partner in their advocacy venture: Very confidence building! We are more qualified than we thought! Cindy was also surprised to learn how much more they could charge for their services and why clients will be willing to pay that much.

From Melissa Stewart, an event planner and soon-to-be advocate: The workshops make me look at everything differently! Thinking about how to end my business as a way to build my business was an a-ha moment!

From Kris DeLong who has spent a 30+ year career in education and is shifting to advocacy: Thanks for helping me “think big.” I can do this and have it be more than I have ever thought about before.

If I had to give you one word that describes what I think everyone’s takeaway was from the weekend it would be CONFIDENCE. That’s the one word I heard from almost everyone who spoke to me about what they had gained. It did my heart a lot of good 🙂

Please know that you have not missed the boat if you didn’t join us in Chicago! We still have workshops scheduled in Philadelphia and Los Angeles to go!

We’d love for you to join us, too.

(PS – No, that photo is not us. Unfortunately we never took any photos! Nor have not had that figure since I began birthing babies in my 20s.)

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Agree? Disagree?

Share your experience or join the conversation!


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1 thought on “And a Great Time, and Some Great Learning, Was Had by All”

  1. APHA members, if you are on the fence about whether or not to attend one of the two upcoming business and marketing workshops—SIGN UP NOW. I guarantee the learning will make it worth the price of admission, and then some. It is a great way to network and learn how to refine and improve what you are already dong. Trisha is a wealth of knowledge and presented the information in a way that was both engaging and easy to digest.

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