February 17, 2021, Norwalk CT – IDOC's Connection 2021, the alliance's annual national conference, took place for the first time this year via a virtual platform that featured general sessions, exhibitor booths, nightly entertainment, and networking opportunities for over 1,100 attendees. The three-day online event also featured live chat rooms, continuing education and a roster of noteworthy keynote speakers selected for their relevance to the current environment and the industry's need for innovation and adaptability.
"This year's virtual format exceeded our expectations in every way," said IDOC CEO Dave Brown. "Not only did we attract more than a thousand attendees, we were able to connect both members and non-members to content that addresses some of today's most pressing issues. Just as important, The Connection 2021 offered a much-needed forum for the dynamic exchange of ideas."
The 2021 agenda included 85 Sessions in eight concurrent tracks, 43 event sponsors and over 600 pieces of downloadable content. New and popular this year was a Wellness Track that featured sessions focused on individual health and well-being, including Parenting in a Pandemic, Couples in Business, Communicating During Stress, Preventing Burnout, Running 101, and more. Access to the event's recorded content is on-demand through the end of the month, providing valuable opportunities for session review and sharing. ODs and Staff can still register and access the on-demand material by visiting: www.idoc.net/virtualconnection.
The new virtual format also offered some unexpected benefits for attendees, including greater participation among staff members. "The fact that all my staff was available to watch the classes was a big win," said Dr. Vijay Shenai, an independent OD from Port Richie, FL. "Normally, only half of my staff can join me in Orlando. We were all able to be part of it this year." Dr. Stacy M Hinkemeyer, of Sartell MN, agreed that the new online venue provided a positive and productive experience: "Although a virtual event, I really felt connected," she said.
The Connection's three keynote speakers were a highlight of the conference, winning praise from attendees for their inspiring messages and pragmatic advice. On Wednesday, February 3, attorney, leadership expert and best-selling author Kim Becking presented "Punch in the Gut Moments: How to Get up, Grit up, and Conquer Change," an exploration of response to change and adversity. Jay Baer followed on Thursday with his presentation of "4 Ways to Win: How Small Businesses Can Outflank the Big Guys and Thrive," revealing lessons about how shifts in technology and consumer expectations can be used to advantage by independent practices. On Friday, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith presented "The Power of Resilience in Cultivating Healthy Leaders and A Healthy Team," an exploration of how to boost productivity, avoid burnout and live your best life.
Leading industry vendors embraced this year's new virtual format, replicating their previous on-premise booths with special offers and engaging interactive content. "We are proud of the teamwork and collaboration between the IDOC & CooperVision teams that helped deliver a wonderful experience for attendees," said CooperVision's Evan Schwarz.
The Connection 2022 is scheduled to take place live February 23-26, 2022 in Orlando, FL. For more information about IDOC, and to learn more about IDOC's year-round calendar of events, call (203)853-3333 or visit www.idoc.net.
For the past twenty years, IDOC has remained committed to building a powerful community of independent optometrists, providing advanced practice management tools, advice and support systems that drive business growth. Membership plans include expert consulting, metrics-based business solutions, negotiated vendor discounts and peer-to-peer networking. IDOC works collaboratively with 3,000+ independent ODs to help them stay ahead of industry change and achieve their business vision, their way. For more information about IDOC, call (203) 853-3333 or visit IDOC.net.