Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 24 2016

An Inside Look At One Organization’s First-Ever Virtual Meeting

Alex Kozak

inside look

When Kerry Crockett accepted the role of Associate Executive Director at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine two years ago, she recognized an essential ingredient for the future of one key section of the organization’s membership: virtual education. The Society for MR Radiographers & Technologists is part of ISMRM, but SMRT members have different needs due to industry norms.

“Technologists don’t normally receive reimbursement for their travel expenses, and their salaries are not as high as many other medical fields. However, they still need CEUs to maintain their certifications and refine their skills,” Crockett says. “So when I came onboard, I realized that a virtual meeting and a virtual presence were going to be very important for SMRT.”

As a graduate of the Virtual Edge Institute’s DES program, Crockett was excited to know that she could put her digital skills in action to benefit the organization, and her fellow decision makers didn’t need much convincing of the need for a virtual engagement strategy. “The virtual meeting wasn’t hard to sell,” Crockett says. “Part of our strategic plan is to position our brand on a more global level, and our leadership understood that virtual offerings would allow us to expand into areas of the world where we don’t have much of a footprint.”

SMRT — Live From Singapore

Fast forward to 2016, and Crockett and her team began cementing that footprint with the first-ever SMRT Virtual Meeting. With two full days of learning opportunities and the potential to earn 12.25 CE credits, the inaugural experience welcomed attendees from  six countries across five continents. As more than 260 SMRT members came together in Singapore for the face-to-face meeting, 25 additional technologists tuned in for the experience. While virtual participation fell short of the projected 45 virtual attendees, Crockett highlights that everyone in the organization recognizes that virtual success relies on the long-term impact.

“This is an investment for us,” Crockett says. “We knew that even if we didn’t turn a profit on the first year, we’re confident that this will pay off in the bigger picture.”

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