Heartland draws crowd

Keynote speaker Amy Van Dyken tells attendees: ‘You learn to push through the challenges’
Friday, June 19, 2015

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group’s Heartland Conference posted impressive numbers this year.

The annual event saw a 15% increase in attendance and 13 new vendors, according to group officials.

“This year’s Heartland Conference was a success,” said Christa Miehe, vice president of strategic projects. “We are pleased that so many members made the trip to Waterloo.”

In all, there were 530 attendees and more than 70 vendors, according to VGM.

The four-day event featured a keynote speech from Amy Van Dyken, a six-time Olympic champion and former competitive swimmer. Dyken suffered a major spinal cord injury in 2014, severing her T11 vertebrae.

Her message to attendees: “You learn to push through the pain and the challenges.”

That message and others resonated with attendees like Kim Barbour of Major Medical Supply in Denver.

“I loved her comment, ‘Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?’” she said. “That is the attitude that drives success. Like Amy, I try to have a positive look on life. I come to work with a smile, because I know my staff is doing amazing things.”

The keynote speech was followed by a myriad of education and training sessions. Attendees also enjoyed social events like the hog roast and fireworks during the event.