It is January 8, 2018, and this post is a week overdue! Every year at this time I like to look back over the year that just ended and reflect on what I accomplished. The truth is, the years go by too fast. Life is frenetic. I guess this annual assessment of my professional life helps bring meaning to the chaos while helping me justify all the hard work. If you don’t do an annual assessment of your professional life, I recommend you give it a try.
2017 was a good year for Jennings (my company):
- In April my business partner and I completed our 5-year buyout of the former owners and now own the company free and clear. I see that as a huge achievement.
- We started working with a number of new healthcare clients around the country including the American Board of Pediatrics, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Renown Health (Reno, Nevada), Alosa Health (Boston), Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Spectrum Healthcare Partners (Portland, ME), Manchester Community Health Center (Manchester, NH), Axial Exchange (Raleigh, NC), among others. I like the variety of clients, everything from healthcare technology companies to FQHCs to Health Systems.
- Our clients won a ton of awards: Healthcare Advertising Awards, Aster Awards, Tellys, Lamplighter Awards, Wallie Awards and more. My favorite award of the year was the Gold Lamplighter Award that Copley Hospital won for its new Community Health Blog – “Live Well Lamoille.” I am so proud of this initiative and could not be happier for the team at Copley! I love seeing a small, critical access hospital excel; and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
- For the second year in a row, we held the Western New England Healthcare Marketing Symposium in partnership with our friends at SilverTech and the good folks at Market Street Research. It was another terrific day of learning, sharing and networking in Northampton, Massachusetts.
- In 2017, Jennings was proud to once again sponsor the annual conferences of the New England Society for Healthcare Communications and the Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society, along with the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.
2017 was also a good year for me:
- Overall, I’ve been trying to build more balance into my life. That means intentionally cutting back on some of my extracurricular activities like publishing, speaking at conferences and writing blog posts. In my opinion, I’ve done a good job of cutting back in each of those areas. But that time that I have now reclaimed has simply been shifted into other areas and I still haven’t mastered the idea of work-life balance. Maybe 2018 will be the year!
- As I mentioned above, over the last several years I’ve intentionally worked to cut back on my speaking engagements. At one point in time, I was speaking at 18 conferences a year. Now I try to keep it to 5 to 7 speaking engagement per year. If I want to stay married, this is a must! In 2017, I had 5 speaking engagements including appearances at SHSMD and the Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit. Lately, I’ve been working on speaking engagements that give me the opportunity to collaborate with clients and peers. For the Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit, I collaborated with my friend Colin Hung (#HIT #HealthIT rock star and co-founder of the #HCLDR Twitter Chat) and Cindy Price Gavin who runs a Pancreatic Cancer online community. Collaborations are more challenging than straight speaking engagements, but they can also be more rewarding. At SHSMD, I collaborated with top marketers from the New Hampshire Hospital Association (Vanessa Stafford) and the North Carolina Hospital Association (Julie Henry). We spoke about advocacy marketing, and they were both terrific presenters!
- A goal I set for myself each year is to contribute a number of articles to industry publications. One of the highlights of this year was being invited to contribute an article to the Journal of Management in Healthcare – a peer review publication based in the UK (Henry Stewart Publications). Going through the peer review process is arduous, but it definitely feels good once you successfully navigate all the landmines. (“Integrating Twitter into your Physician Communication Strategy,” Journal of Management in Healthcare, Vol. 2, 3 1–9. December 2017). I am also very proud of an article that Kate Gillmer and I co-authored for Healthcare Marketing Report (“Community Health, Collaboration and Healthcare Marketing,” Healthcare Marketing Report, October 2017). Our article tells the story of Copley Hospital’s community health blog and looks at the role the marketing team can play in advancing community health initiatives.
- I had the privilege of serving once again on SHSMD’s Digital Engagement Taskforce. SHSMD also invited me to serve on the 2017 conference committee reviewing speaking proposals for the digital engagement track. That was a new experience for me!
- In 2017 I served as Board Treasurer for the New England Society for Healthcare Communications. We had an amazing 2017 conference at Cape Cod. It was definitely one of the highlights of the year. I’m still thinking about the opening night Lobster and Clam Bake that my company co-sponsored with SilverTech.
- This year I was honored to serve on the judging panels for a number of award competitions including the Digital Health Awards, the National Health Information Awards, and the annual awards competition of the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society.
Overall, 2017 was a great year but I have already moved on to 2018. January is a crazy month with business travel to Nevada, Massachusetts and Arkansas. My team and I are hitting the ground running in 2018 and we wouldn’t have it any other way.