First Timer to Career Timer

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By Tina Checchia MBA, RT(R)(CT)(MR)

Hello AHRA, it is a pleasure to officially meet you. I am Tina. I am new to management and to AHRA, and I am excited to share that I was a first-time attendee at the 2017 AHRA Annual Meeting!

Before I continue, kudos to everyone that attended for investing in your personal growth and development, your organizations, and the profession. You all rock and deserve some recognition. I am proud to say that I am an introvert. Large, unfamiliar crowds are synonymous with an anxiety attack for me, but everyone that I encountered at the conference was very welcoming, which really helped me connect and get the most out of the sessions. Thank you!

During the conference, I completed the Basic Management track, attended a few of the exhibitor symposiums on various topics, and was present for the three keynote speakers. I also spoke with numerous vendors in the exhibit hall. While I was partially motivated by the free food, I genuinely appreciated seeing where technology is today and making new connections. I thought that my head was going to blow-up by the end of the conference because it was full of information!

As a newer manager, the Annual Meeting was exactly what I needed. I admit I did not know how much an imaging administrator is responsible for when I transitioned from the clinical world. I’ve spent the last year learning on the go, laying down one brick at a time. The conference brought the pieces together. For the first time, I feel like I am standing on a solid foundation.

My experience was made possible by the AHRA Education Foundation’s Osborn Scholarship. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for the opportunity that was awarded to me. My presence at the meeting changed my point of view, which is my key takeaway from the event.

I am a single mother, and like all kids, mine are magicians – they make my money disappear. Originally, I joined AHRA because of the resources that came with the membership. Like many of you, I knew that I needed easily accessible and current imaging education. I figured that I would get it as a passive member through Radiology Management articles, the forum, webinars, and scholarship opportunities. My organization does not assist with educational expenses that are not tied to a degree, and the kids come first, right? After sports, activities, and their other numerous needs are paid, there isn’t much left for Mom. My mentality was, “I cannot afford to attend the Annual Meeting.” Then EF Chair Lori Burns called to let me know that AHRA invested in me.

The AHRA Annual Meeting is more than great education and networking. It is an opportunity to connect with an organization that truly believes in and supports the imaging profession as well as its leaders. It is feeling like you are a part of something big, a family. I heard many stories from veteran AHRA members and Fellows that involved tears, laughs, and triumphs. Everywhere I looked, friends reunited. As the days went by, I wanted to be a part of the family more and more; not a distant relative. The conference showed me that I do not want to be a passive member. It is impossible to connect to a webpage. I want to be present. I want to give back. I want to make a difference. That means investing in me. I removed “I can’t afford it” from my vocabulary. The kids still come first, most of the time.

We are all in this together! Help me enhance my network of mentors by connecting with me. I look forward to seeing you next year in Florida for the 2018 Annual Meeting!

Tina Checchia MBA, RT(R)(CT)(MR) is the imaging services manager at Memorial Hospital in York, PA. She can be reached at


  1. Hi Tina! Great article! I am so glad that you were able to attend the Annual Meeting this year! After I attended my first Annual Meeting several years ago I felt the same exact way! I was nervous at first in such a large group but quickly learned that AHRA is full of truly amazing people and I quickly started forming really special friendships. I left the meeting energized, with a ton of new knowledge, and it also inspired me to become an active member and to volunteer in several different areas/ways. Doing so has made my experiences even more special and I know the same will be true for you. Warning — attending the Annual Meetings is addictive and you will be hooked for life! 🙂

    I look forward to seeing you in Orlando next year!

  2. I agree utilize the AHRA to give you ideas of how to work on challenging situations and issues. We have many experts in the field that can help. I am glad you enjoyed the meeting, I have been an advocate of this organization for a long time and I really enjoy the networking, which gets better all the time.
    Best wishes

  3. Hi Tina,
    What a great article. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to attend and met these great members of the AHRA. Just like you, this was my first time too and I met great people, made lifelong friends and learn so much. I am so proud to be part of such a great organization. I came back inspire to do more, give back and so I signed up to volunteer. I don’t know where I will find the time but it is worth it. I look forward to seeing you at the next annual meeting.

  4. HI Tina, I too enjoyed reading your article. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I have been attending AHRA for over 12 years now and have enjoyed each annual conference that much more. I have made many great friends, had great networking opportunities and learned so much about our ever changing and evolving industry. I encourage you to continue full speed ahead on your journey. You will meet so many folks that will walk with your and help lead your through any challenges you may face. Take care!

  5. Hi Tina,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad that you were able to experience an annual meeting. There is really nothing like it!

    There are so many opportunities to grow within the AHRA. We are all so blessed to be a part of such a wonderful organization with members who share their knowledge! Before you know it, you’ll be up on that stage presenting information to the attendees!

  6. Although you were a first time attendee you write like a veteran. It is fantastic that you are making the most of your membership and the family you build by being engaged. Volunteering is fulfilling both personally and professionally. The more you give the more you get in return. I am confident you will find the AHRA offers a lot of tools you can use in leading others as you get inspired yourself. Whatever isn’t on the website you can find by asking a question on the forum as the wealth and breadth of knowledge is truly amazing. The Annual meeting is like a family reunion. I come to learn and I keep coming back because of the people from whom I learn so much. I always feel energizing to go back to work after with a renewed sense of purpose and ready to kick some patootie with a smile.

  7. Tina…it was great to meet you. I am so glad you are part of this crazy thing we call our AHRA family.
    Your excitement about your new career and immediate desire to write for the Link is awesome. I hope that you find yourself surrounded by great opportunities to learn, grow, and create life long friendships.
    Excellent article….unfortunately… this means we will be expecting more of these from you!

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