As Day One of our first major virtual meeting dawned, we weren’t sure quite what to expect. The Annual Meeting Planning Committee had been developing AAE21 Live & On Demand for several months. They spent countless hours transforming the live experiences you knew and loved into a remote format; they thought through every detail. Yet, there was still an element of uncertainty going into our very first truly virtual AAE Annual Meeting.
What resulted far exceeded our expectations. Our registration total of 2,372 attendees truly astonished us. The sheer will of our membership to continue their education, to view their favorite special events, and to translate social activities into virtual was incredibly moving. In addition, to date, $3,906 was raised for Feeding America.
AAE21 also featured 44 exhibiting companies, 11 products featured in the Product Showcase, 10 To the Point Lectures and 12 Rapid Fire Presentations – all now available on demand.
The virtual exhibit hall is online through May 31, so if you were too busy during the meeting to visit booths, you still have time to view them on aae.org/aae21. We are grateful for all our corporate partners who sponsored our meeting. We could not have had such a high quality meeting without their support.
We enjoyed the music and storytelling of John Ondrasik, our Keynote speaker. Many of you remarked that you believe he was our best Keynote yet. I agree; he was very inspiring and got us thinking … “What kind of world do we want?” In case you missed this wonderful event during the Annual Meeting, you can view it on demand. I encourage you to watch it.
The phrase “new normal” has taken on a new meaning, thanks to you, who have instilled in each other, and in me, a renewed passion for endodontics. We’re better than “normal” now. I believe, in some ways, we’re more connected than ever before.
Virtual is no longer just a temporary stand-in for live. Virtual is a valuable asset to organizations and it’s an integral component to how we learn, connect and conduct business. It’s here to stay. I think we’ll likely be seeing more hybrid event models in the future.
That said, I look forward to gathering in person again when the time is right. As some members commented in the live chat during the Keynote presentation, “AAE members will be like a ‘Phoenix’ rising next year in Arizona”, and I think that’s true. Assuming the fates allow it – AAE22 will undoubtedly be our very best meeting yet.
Until then: be safe, be well, and be ready for an Endo Strong year.
Thank you for a great AAE21.
Alan S. Law, D.D.S., Ph.D.