My Very First Convention!
You know how you plan for something months ahead of time? Countless hours of throwing around ideas. Plenty of wasted trees with paper printouts of plans. Discussion after discussion. Email after email.
This was me a few months ago, planning for what we call around Medtronic “Convention Season.” The basis was simple. A large group of people from all over the organization would attend a bi-weekly meeting to discuss each convention we are attending this year. We couldn’t speak about each one in the same meeting as they would all be unique, so there were meetings planned for the 9 major conventions we would attend this year.
My role in these meetings was to bring to the table ideas on how we can highlight our Service and Support. How can we let people know we have 5 ways to order supplies? How can we tell them that if you were ever in trouble, we are here for you 24-hours a day? And how can we let them know about our new proactive communications, like this blog and our monthly newsletter.
I was chosen to go to the Children with Diabetes Convention as my first one. I could not be more excited as I have always felt a connection to young people with diabetes and their loved ones, since my diagnosis was at the age of 12. I have to be honest, the only thing I wasn’t excited about were the Hawaiian shirts we had to wear (although in retrospect, I think that was a good decision too). Well, the day drew near to the first convention that I would not only ever go to, but now it would also be the first time I was representing Medtronic at a convention also. I was nervous, excited, and anxious to see how all of these planning meetings would result in the real deal.
Everything went off without a hitch. I was able to meet with some of Medtronic’s favorite d bloggers (Amanda and I love our great photo – thanks, Sara!). I got to give a mother of two teenagers with diabetes a hug. I got to share about the product benefits of our CGM, but more importantly the personal benefits that I have experienced from it (for example, when my pump gave me a heads-up about a low literally the night before the convention). I got to meet Lenny the Lion. I got to help those with diabetes order their own pump skins (found a cupcake one that I fell in love with). Oh, and of course, I got to talk about what I was there for: our 5 ways to order supplies, our 5 call centers for customer support, and my favorite- our proactive communications.
I will be forever changed by my first convention as I have never seen so many people “like me”. Each person with diabetes wore a green bracelet, and those without it had an orange. The green connected us, even to people like Crystal Bowersox (who performed, and was amazing by the way). There were a few of us with green bracelets on in our booth who were truly touched by the sense of unity. And the ones with orange in our booth were able to understand the perspective of what it is like to be there supporting someone with diabetes. I am thankful for my first Children with Diabetes Friends for Life, my first convention, and the fact that all of the meetings were worth it (beyond words). Next on my calendar, AADE. See you there!