The year 2014 has been memorable and there’s still a lot more to come. For me, the year has been full of successes and challenges, ups and downs. I started the year with a horrible case of vertigo. It lasted for about two months and made air travel very challenging. As the vertigo subsided I came down with the shingles. This occurred at the time of year when I am busy speaking at conferences around the country. The good news was it seems to have been a mild case. Then in March, my dad went into hospice care, finally passing away on June 2. After a long delay, the memorial service is finally taking place this weekend. It will be good to have some closure.

Anyway, you get a sense of the year I’ve had, so far. But there have been highlights to go with the inevitable challenges. I was invited to speak at more than a dozen national and regional conferences over a three month period. The highlight of my speaking tour was moderating a “Connected Patient” panel at the annual conference of the New England Society for Healthcare Communications. It was an honor to champion that idea and to see it brought to life at the conference.

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This was my first time speaking at the annual conference of the American Association of Physician Liaisons, and it was a blast. The attendees were energized, engaging and ready to learn. Another highlight of the conference season was speaking with Lyle Green at the Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit. Our talk on the “Digital Future of Physician Relations” vastly exceeded our expectations. We managed to have a conversation with the audience in a way that seldom happens during conference presentations. We both left that experience feeling recharged.

Other good things happened during the first half of this year. My firm’s clients were recognized with a ton of healthcare marketing awards. I can honestly say that awards have limited value, but they sure are fun to win. This year it was nearly an embarrassment of riches. In the annual Healthcare Advertising Awards (Healthcare Marketing Report) our clients won a total of 21 awards including a Best in Show for a radio spot we created for Signature Healthcare and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Seven of our clients received awards. In the national Aster Awards (Marketing Healthcare Today), Jennings clients won a total of 36 awards (15 Gold), including the Best in Show Award for the pediatric hospitalist campaign Jennings developed for Signature Healthcare and Floating Hospital for Children. In the Lamplighter Awards, sponsored by the New England Society for Healthcare Communications, six of our clients received a combined 32 awards, including 10 Gold. Finally, our clients also won seven awards in the Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA) competition.

In early July, my company, Jennings, launched its new website! All of you who have been through the process of building a new website certainly understand what a labor it can be. In some ways it is like a rebirth. Feel free to check it out – The new site has a resource section with access to videos, articles, white papers and more.

I’m already thinking about next year

Over the last two weeks I’ve taken a break from blogging. The first six months of this year have worn me out. I’m heading to Florida later this week with my family to attend my dad’s memorial service, and then I’m taking a week of vacation to re-energize. There’s so much good happening right now in my career and in healthcare marketing. Intellectually, I am ready to take on the challenges inherent in crafting a new future; my body, on the other hand, needs a break. I could also use some time for emotional recovery. After a couple weeks of vacation this summer, I plan to renew my efforts as a catalyst for healthcare marketing reform. Opportunity is all around us!

Meanwhile, this year has taught me a few lessons. I’ve already vowed to lighten up on the speaking engagements next year. This will come as good news to my wife (Scotti) and to my business partner (Paige). It will mean less travel and less time away from home. It is a hard choice for me because I love teaching and sharing – and that’s what I try to do when I speak at conferences. But I am spread too thin. Everything in moderation.

In 2015 I need to spend more time hiking in the mountains and reading paperbacks (fiction) on the beach, sitting next to my wife. I need to be home more and I need to be present – not vacant or distracted. Those are some of my goals for next year, but I’ll start working on them today.

Over the next 12 months I’m also going to focus on attracting amazing new clients to my company and on recruiting the best talent to supplement my incredible team. Life is short; and most of us work pretty hard. I want to spend my time working with clients who want to achieve something special. But I also want clients who challenge us intellectually and whom we enjoy spending time with. In my experience, my best clients have made me a better marketer and enriched my life. Again, life is short.

In any event, I’ll be on vacation next week. Can’t wait. My daughter will be in summer camp, so this will be an adults-only week of vacation. Who could ask for more?




9 comments on “Time for a Break

  1. Enjoy!!!

  2. Enjoy your well-earned vacation, Dan!

  3. You deserve a break, Dan. Enjoy.

    • dandunlop

      Thanks so much, Karen. You also deserve a break! I appreciate your friendship.

  4. Debbie Reczynski

    Have fun Dan!

  5. Well done you for honoring where you are at in your life. The death of a parent even if expected, is a time to reevaluate where our lives are heading and it sounds like you are doing the best thing for you and your family. May the time you devote to this relax, re-energize and rejuvenate you. Warmest Regards, Marie

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