By Carrie Stiles, MBA, CRA, RT(R)(CT)
I have been an AHRA member for several years and was inspired to volunteer by a former co-worker, AHRA’s 2016-17 President-Elect, Angie McDonald. Each time I volunteer with AHRA, I can’t wait to do it again. It is extremely rewarding and has allowed me to meet so many amazing people from across the country. Being fairly early in my career, it’s been invaluable to meet and learn from seasoned radiology leaders. I have volunteered in many different capacities for AHRA, but serving on a conference design team was at the top of my volunteer bucket list.
Design teams play an integral role in planning, preparing, and overseeing AHRA’s conferences. They review all presentation submissions and make the final selections to ensure each conference is well-rounded and provides attendees with the critical information they need. Onsite, they work hard to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and provide warm welcomes to all attendees.
One day at work I received a phone call from the 2017 Spring Conference Design Team Chair, Tricia Trammell, whose path within AHRA was similar to mine from a volunteer perspective. She told me how a previous Design Team Chair, Terry Bucknall, invited her to be on the design team and later became a mentor to her. Tricia said that she wanted to do the same for me, and she invited me to take the place of a design team member who was no longer able to attend. I couldn’t believe my ears and was so excited! It was an honor for me to be selected.
Since I was added to the design team in January, a lot of the work was already in full swing. We had several conference calls prior to the meeting, which allowed me a chance to get to know the other design team members as well as Meghan Schofield, the conference director. The Spring Conference is smaller in size compared to the Annual Meeting, but I was still amazed at the amount of work that goes into planning it. I now understand why AHRA conferences are as good as they are.
When I arrived in Savannah, I was excited to meet my fellow design team members in person and to help put on a great conference. The first day, I worked in the CRA Exam Workshop. I enjoyed meeting so many first-time conference attendees who were really excited about earning their CRA. Another highlight was a fun cocktail reception with the exhibitors. I enjoyed getting an opportunity to speak with each exhibitor and thank them for their contributions to AHRA. Their support is critical and allows us to attend such high quality conferences at reasonable prices. For everyone attending the Annual Meeting in July, please stop by the exhibit hall and thank the vendors for their support.
The 2017 Spring Conference had a great turnout and was a successful event. The feedback from attendees was outstanding, and they were excited to get back to their organizations and share what they had learned. While I was sad to see the conference end, I made several new friends that I hope to see at the Annual Meeting in Anaheim. I encourage you to meet and talk to as many people as you can when you attend AHRA events. AHRA is made up of some amazing members who are always eager to help in any way they can.
I want to thank AHRA and Tricia for giving me this opportunity. I learned so much about AHRA as an organization and about the work that goes into planning events. I also have a newfound respect for Meghan and the Conference Managers staff. They put in so much work to make these conferences a success for us, and they are truly an asset to AHRA. I also want to thank my fellow design team members, Maureen, Sandy, and Lynn for welcoming me into the fold. It was a pleasure working with such a great group, and I can’t wait to work with them again at next year’s Spring Conference.
I highly encourage everyone to become active in this great organization. You can sign up to volunteer on AHRA’s website, and there are so many different ways you can help that you are sure to find something that will be a good fit for you. You will come away from it enriched and energized to do more!
Carrie Stiles, MBA, CRA, RT(R)(CT) is multi-modality technologist at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.