Finally, putting faces to all those names

Posted by Jen Levine-Fried, Membership Manager

PRIM&R’s members are the heart and soul of the organization. There’s nothing I enjoy more than connecting the names and voices from e-mail and the phone with the faces of all the wonderful members I met recently at the 2008 Advancing Ethical Research Conference. This year’s conference was particularly exciting because so many attendees took advantage of our Join and Save registration package and opted into membership when they registered. Nearly three-quarters of our attendees this year were members, which is a remarkable increase over previous years.

But I am not the only one who benefits from this expanded membership attendance at the annual conference! This year member attendees had numerous opportunities to connect—in person—with other members:

  • At the Membership Orientation and Continental Breakfast, PRIM&R Board member and Membership Committee Chair David Borasky welcomed new members and offered an overview of membership benefits.
  • Both member and non-member attendees made new connections at the Common Ground Luncheon. Colorful balloons represented different areas of the country (and the world!) so attendees could forge new relationships with others from their region.
  • Many participants in the Mentoring Program and the Ambassador Program finally had a chance to meet their “matches” in person.

Perhaps my favorite story of two members making a connection at the conference comes from our Speed Mentoring event. One of our Speed Mentors, Denyse Pettersson, had been contacted by another PRIM&R member several months ago regarding a comment she had posted to the IRB Forum, and the two talked by phone and e-mail during the months leading up to the conference. They made plans to finally meet in person in Orlando, but had trouble finding the time to get together. By the time Speed Mentoring rolled around on Tuesday evening, it seemed as though they would just have to miss one another. Amazingly, however, their meeting was in the stars: The second mentee who was assigned to meet with Denyse was the very same member she had been trying to connect with! They each were thrilled to make their “virtual connection” a reality, especially through such a serendipitous encounter. Do you have any great stories of making connections at PRIM&R events? Did you make a lifelong friend, or reconnect with someone from your past? If you have suggestions for additional opportunities for networking and connecting through PRIM&R, we’d love to hear about them! Post a comment here, or contact me directly.