Thoughts from a Virgin Exhibitor


I love going to professional conferences.  The idea of expanding my knowledge base and views, while being surrounded by people also wanting to become more excellent at what they do, has always interested me.  When the opportunity arose to attend the CareNet National Conference in Washington D.C. in late August, of course I wanted to go.

However, as one of the newest team members at Sparrow Solutions Group, I would be attending as an exhibitor rather than an attendee.  It was an eye-opening experience.

The Exhibition Hall had about 70 wide-ranging exhibits.  I noticed ministry tools, books, t-shirts, speakers, marketing companies, ultrasound support, and pro-life organizations.  After walking through the hall and seeing all the many booths “displaying their wares,” I wondered how attendees would distinguish between each vendor and the potential value to their organization.  Had they ever been in a role where they were the decision-maker for their organization?  How many of the exhibitors did they have prior knowledge of or experience with that was meaningful?  Was placement of the booth key or the attractiveness of the displays?  If you were the first booth in the hall with the biggest display and handing out yummy candy, was that the key to understanding the organization and what they offer?  Wouldn’t it be great if folks could look at reviews as they walked through the Exhibitor Hall to get some more valuable information?

As attendees walked through the Exhibitor Hall, I interacted with many people that knew Sparrow Solutions Group and just came by to say, “Hi!” (and “where’s Connie?”—next time Connie doesn’t attend, I know I will bring a cardboard cutout of her likeness).  They talked about the training they’d received and reminisced about fond memories with the Sparrow team (and the good meals Steven had prepared).  Some attendees were looking for more training and some wanted Sparrow’s point of view on topics discussed at the conference.  Some folks walked by without stopping at all, and others just wanted their exhibitor cards signed for the possibility of a prize.

A few attendees stopped by with the question, “What does Sparrow Solutions Group do?”  It was a joy sharing our passion for equipping with excellence the people that God calls to work at the Pregnancy Medical Center.  God calls; we equip.  When discussing our philosophy of training and why we train the way we do, it seemed to resonate with folks.  Some shared that they had lost nurses due to being uncomfortable with their skills or the lapse in time between the didactic training and finding a hands-on training person.  Some shared they were new to this clinical setting and weren’t clear on what training options were out there or if training was even pertinent.  Each time I wondered what factors could be considered when making a decision on training options after they got back to their Clinic.

What factors will they consider when making a decision on training options?  How will they sort through the options available to them?  Would hearing about other Clinic’s decision-making process be helpful?  Would using a Decision Guide make a difference?

I look forward to the next time I’m able to attend a conference either as a participant or as an exhibitor.  Both are rewarding experiences.   Look for me and come say, “Hi!”  I’ll be the one next to the cardboard cutout of Connie’s likeness.

Kari Haug
Director of Nurse Operations
Sparrow Solutions Group

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