Inaugural YWM Convention: Exceeding Expectations in Every Area

Last year at this time, your OAC Board was nervously planning the inaugural YWM convention and wondering – “Will anyone attend?” “Will anyone ‘invest’ in attending our first time event?” “How will the attendees like our agenda?” “Will the speakers be able to meet the challenging needs of our attendees (we have a great mix of members)?”

As we prepare to unveil the details of our agenda for our 2nd annual Convention, I want to share with you my perspective of the inaugural event and why you should attend.

As someone who has struggled with their weight nearly my entire life, this event provided an almost immediate kinship with other attendees as we were all here with a common goal in mind – to seek knowledge, support, and a little kindness. I left each session feeling as if my soul had received as much knowledge as my brain. The kickoff mixer was a great opportunity for many of our Board members and members to meet, chat and exchange that great energy that makes the OAC the dynamic organization it is today. Some of the “extras” I personally have never experienced at any type of conference I’ve attended included the ability to stay on my weight-loss program while attending, exercise opportunities built into the agenda and the attention to detail on the menu-planning, which actually included a listing of the calories, protein, fat and carbs per serving.

I’m not sure if many of you are aware but there are a lot of us bariatric surgery nursing folks who are also bariatric surgery patients. There were many of us at the Convention. One of the unique things about this Convention was that although professionals, we also got to attend as a patient. We were able to learn on an individual level, “How do I apply this knowledge to my life,” not on the broader “How do I take this back and apply it to my job level?”

As a presenter at the Convention, it was a first to receive specific guidelines regarding the types of imagery and photos to use during presentations. This was done to ensure that our sessions and presentations provided all content in a non-stigmatizing, unbiased manner. I was also very excited to be able to share some of my knowledge on two subjects near and dear to my heart – technology and my bariatric surgery.

As the Chairman of the Board, it was wonderful to see all the hard work and thoughtful attention to detail come together into a wonderful event. On the first day, when I had the opportunity to stand at the podium and welcome everyone… well, all I can say it just WOW. Your attendance far exceeded our expectations; your support far exceeded our expectations; our members have set the bar pretty high for this 2nd Convention, but I have no doubt you’ll exceed our expectations again. I cannot wait to see everyone in Phoenix!

Pam Davis, RN, CBN, Chairman of the OAC Board of Directors

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