EW conference: Time to ‘reconnect’

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Friday, December 21, 2018

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. – Education, networking and football are front and center at this year’s Essentially Women’s Focus Conference, say event organizers.

This year’s event marks a welcome return to the first quarter (Feb. 2-4) after being held for the past two years in busy September, says Nikki Jensen, vice president of EW, a division of VGM.

“The feedback from members and vendors was the earlier part of the year was better,” she said. “(It’s easier for providers to attend) and vendors can show off the new things they have for 2019.”

The educational program features popular industry speakers like Louis Feuer (“If Disney Ran Your Company”) and Miriam Lieber (“How to Make Operations and Billing a Success in Today’s Environment: A Best Practice Approach”), and runs the gamut from sessions on business planning and customer service to fitting for post-mastectomy patients and shoes.

What they all have in common: helping the small boutique business owner thrive, says Jensen.

“Nobody got into this business because they thought billing and insurance companies were loads of fun,” she said. “They are in the business because they want to help people, so the more support and opportunities we can give them, the more time they can spend with patients.”

One common complaint Jensen hears when she talks to providers is their frustration that the very women they seek to help are often unaware of the products and services they offer.

“For someone going under reconstruction—the referral sources don’t tend to send their patients to see a fitter,” she said. “We put some effort behind trying to bring in products and services that are intended for all women who have had surgery regardless of what path they intend to go on. We want to make sure they know about this.”

While education and product buying remain key components of the conference, the main highlight for attendees is networking, says Jensen. This year’s big social event is a beach tailgate party on Super Bowl Sunday, complete with a live band and game viewing areas.

“People tell us they’ve been coming to the conference for years because they come to reconnect with their friends,” she said. “We love to hear that and we love to facilitate that.”