Catching up with Allison Brennan, the 2019 PCMA Capital Chapter Emerging Professionals Intern
My fifth and final rotation of the Emerging Professionals Internship with the PCMA Capital Chapter was with AACC. My time at AACC was extremely hands on and spent helping the meetings and educational team gear up for the 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Anaheim, California.
I spent two weeks with the team in their D.C. office and a week onsite with them at the Anaheim Convention Center. This past rotation was uniquely different than the previous rotations because I was able to see firsthand the direct partnership that AACC had with SPARGO over the course of their meeting. My first rotation of the internship was at SPARGO where I was able to see the opportunities and resources that a third party is specifically able to offer their clients. However, in my time at AACC I was able to see this relationship from an association standpoint.
The first week in the office, I had the pleasure of working with the meetings team on the finalization of service orders for the convention center and BEOs for the Marriot and Hilton. Throughout this process I had the responsibility of cross checking each order to ensure it matched the current report. I enjoyed working on this task because I had the chance to see the correct order confirmations onsite that I had directly assisted with two weeks prior. Additionally, this was a great educational opportunity for me to see the difference between a hotel BEO and convention center service order.
The week leading up to the annual meeting was all hands-on deck as I facilitated the organization of the conference signs. The binder I put together for the meetings displayed each sign broken down by meeting location (convention center, Marriot, or Hilton), room, and usage. I greatly enjoyed this assignment because, like the service order confirmations, I was able to see the work completed onsite in Anaheim. During this time, I was also given the exposure of coordinating with the shirt vendor that AACC was using for their staff shirts onsite. Coincidentally enough, I had recently corresponded with a shirt vendor for Radford’s VACAS conference last semester, but I of course appreciated viewing and comparing this process from a smaller scale school event to a large meetings perspective.
Onsite, I had many roles, as I worked in the headquarters office, confirmed room sets, aided post conference receptions, and assisted with roundtable registration and room sets. I enjoyed working in the headquarters office because I was able to be of assistance to any attendee who came to the office with concerns or questions. Furthermore, this opened the opportunity for me to learn about and converse with attendees who were extremely passionate about the research and jobs which they pursue that brought them to AACC’s Annual Scientific Meeting.
Monday evening, I supported the team during the Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians reception at the Marriot. This provided me the opportunity to view a reception at an additional location and to see the planning and execution tactics of this specific reception up close.
One of my favorite parts of working onsite with AACC was helping with the roundtable discussions. I was able to partner with Jackie Nassy, a member of the meetings team, to ensure this portion of the conference was a success. The immense number of roundtable discussions that AACC provides was new to me.
Throughout my previous experience, I have only ever seen roundtables in a classroom style from an educational conference standpoint. I found AACC’s intimate setting of 35 roundtables each highlighting a different discussion twice a day in a large ballroom intriguing. During the process of setting up the roundtables, I would first make sure the room was properly set and matched the floorplan I had created for both the AM and PM sessions. I would then retrieve the roster count from the registration team and pass the information along to the staff checking each table and attendee into their specific discussion. Following roster counts, I would occasionally assist Jackie Nassy with speaker check in or the overview of the entire check-in process.
During my time at AACC I always appreciated the confidence that the meetings team had and instilled in me to complete each task to the best of my ability. It was a large compliment to me that they saw me as a true extension of their team with the capability of making a positive impact on their meeting