At its Visionary Awards in early May, the Professional Convention Management Association Education Foundation honored Wanda Johnson, CMP, CAE, as Meeting Professional of the Year. Johnson is the chief program officer for the Endocrine Society, leading the team responsible for ENDO, the Society’s annual meeting and expo, as well as 25 other educational events each year. In 2017, she oversaw the year-long celebration of her organization’s centennial and is currently working on the expansion of the Society’s Clinical Endocrinology Update, a three-day meeting where experts share the advances in the diagnosis and treatment of hormone conditions. We caught up with Johnson via email to ask a few questions based on her many years of experience.
MeetingsNet: Looking back over your 25-year career, what have you learned about attendees and their educational experience at meetings that you didn’t know when you started the business?
Johnson: As a general rule, attendees are eager to learn but there has to be balance. In my early years, the more content we could include the better. We could schedule sessions starting at 7 a.m. and finishing at 10 p.m. People might attend all of those sessions but are they actually learning? It is much better to provide a reasonable amount of content combined with opportunities to network and to reflect. This combination is a supportive learning environment that attendees seem to appreciate and is part of the design for the Society’s Clinical Endocrinology Update program that will be held this fall in Miami and Anaheim.
MeetingsNet: Five years from now, what won’t we be doing in healthcare education that we’re doing today?
Johnson: A mainstay of healthcare education has been the didactic lecture with a subject-matter expert providing information and perspective using slides. With the significant changes in methodologies in undergraduate and graduate education, I expect there will be more innovation in the delivery of post-graduate healthcare education, with an increased focus on case-based learning and how to work effectively in teams.
MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Johnson: I am known for being cool and calm in most situations, but I actually have a temper that I’ve learned to manage. Words can be vicious tools and those spoken in anger are never productive!