My first 2021 in-person meeting was fantastic


I asked just about everyone I met with if they were fully vaccinated, and no one said no.

It happened. SECO 2021 happened both in-person and virtually. From my vantage point, it was fantastic!

I arrived on Wednesday evening. It was quiet in the Omni Hotel, and I thought for a second that this was an indicator of sparse attendance. I ordered a burger and fries and took them back up to my room because I had a conference call to join. The call ended at 11:00 p.m., and I went over my lecture slides once more before hitting the sack.

The next morning was an early one with an 8:15 a.m. lecture. I walked through the lobby to a slew of socially distanced and masked SECO attendees. It was on. SECO was happening! The vitality was palpable, and I was excited to be a part of it.

I completed a health screening on my phone and presented it to a SECO staff member upon entering the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). Then, an automated temperature check allowed me past the gates. I could already see that attendance was better than I had anticipated. The GWCC was alive with optometry, and it is a big (I mean really, really big) building. So, if you are looking for social distancing of 6 feet, you can find it, and many more, with little effort. In addition, even though the Georgia governor lifted the mask mandate for the state, SECO and the GWCC did not budge from its policies.

Back to my first lecture. The chairs were spaced apart accordingly, and attendance was good. The 2 hours seemed to fly by, and I was feeling so grateful to do what I love, lecturing, and in person. After the lecture, I had several meetings with industry over the next 2 days. We were all in agreement over how good it was to see each other again. Just for my own personal edification, I asked just about everyone I met with they were fully vaccinated, and no one said no.

Before I knew it, it was Saturday morning. I had 1 other meeting with a start-up company, and then it was off to my last lecture. This one was in 2 lecture halls and broadcasted virtually at the same time. I had questions from the audience and answered into a camera for the virtual questions. The lecture was well received, and I hurried off our son’s soccer game.

All in all, SECO 2021 was great to attend. I hope it was as good for everyone else as it was for me, and hats off to all the effort that went into it. Hats off to the industry support, as well. My next stop is the American Optometric Association’s Optometry’s Meeting in Denver, and I can’t wait.

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