The Radiological Society of North America is a non-profit organization with over 54,000 members from over 100 countries. It provides educational resources online and in-person, contains five premier radiological journals, and their foundation has raised over 60 million dollars since 1984.
RSNA’s most recognized event is their annual meeting, hosted every year at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. With over 50,000 attendees, over 15,000 exhibitors, and an artificial intelligence exhibit, one can only imagine the endless opportunities that are available while at this five-day convention. Last year, I had the privilege to attend the annual meeting as a first-time exhibitor with my company, Pulse ISM. My CEO, Laura Newill, had attended this conference previously, but the five of us who attended with her had no idea what we were walking into.
We had confirmed that we were going to participate
in the conference as exhibitors at the end of September. As the executive assistant for my company, I took on the major responsibility of making sure all preparation was done correctly and on time. I had less than three months to coordinate with my team to attend a conference that businesses usually spend at least a year planning: challenge accepted! I had to figure out due dates, finances, with whom to network, and where to network. I had to schedule our time while at the event as well as after and, since I have an adventurous personality, I wanted us to enjoy Chicago while we were there.
I first met via phone Atusa Moreno, RSNA Sales Manager, during my first call to the RSNA, “RSNA. This is Atusa.” I had endless questions: How many attendees were directors of radiology? What was Freeman and how do I reach them? How did the liability insurance work and what were the deadlines to register badges? Atusa made sure I was set up for an eventful relationship with a new client of hers.
I informed Atusa during our first phone call that I was going to stay in touch with her and only her unless she directed me to one of her peers who had better knowledge about my concerns. She had my loyalty, and from there she gave me every reason to trust her. Now, I’m not writing this blog to brag about the new friendship I have within the RSNA—okay, maybe I am a little— but I am expressing gratitude for how much easier Atusa made it for me as a first-time exhibitor who had just stepped into the imaging world less than a year ago. I would call Atusa randomly and be greeted by “It’s my BFF!” Laughing because I could hear the excitement in her voice but also because, for some reason, I had no idea that RSNA had caller ID.
Atusa had made it a point of hers to come to visit our booth during day two of the conference. We exchanged bright smiles and big hugs and I was able to introduce her to Laura and Tori, our graphic artist. She then went above and beyond, asking if I had anything going on at 2:00. She offered us a little over an hour of her time and gave Tori and me a tour of the conference. Telling us her story as to why she works for the RSNA; informing us about the changes the RSNA has made, such as the AI exhibit; and introducing Tori and me to some of the people she knows within the industry. Atusa gave us insight on what is a “good prospect” at the RSNA and she even awed both of us with a fresh breath of air on the Lakeside hall. This location can really help you tune out for five minutes when you’re in the mix of RSNA craziness!
I am sure many of you are aware that RSNA2020: Human Insight/Visionary Medicine will be virtually hosted this year, allowing all RSNA members to attend for free and providing exhibitors with a virtual exhibition hall. I can only stress the importance of establishing a relationship with an RSNA representative during this time. Having a genuine connection with someone whose career helps members excel in the Radiological Society of North America may determine whether or not you have an astonishing virtual conference.
Reflecting on last years’ experience, I’m not sure if Atusa was going above and beyond because it is “part of her job” or not, but, either way, it impacted my and my team’s experience tremendously and it allowed me to trust all of her advice when it came to this year’s exhibit. If you’re a first-time attendee, an exhibitor, or even a speaker at the RSNA, I advise you to gain a relationship with an RSNA employee. I’m pretty sure they have the insight into things you may find valuable, whether it’s food, connections, or transportation. Sticking with Atusa as my sole source of information for the RSNA was the best choice I had made. Thank you, Atusa!