After a year of no in-person DSO and dental meetings, I am dusting off my suit and headed to my first DSO meeting since March of 2020. Coincidentally, the event I am heading to learn, network and speak at is Schulman Group’s annual meeting, which was also the last in-person meeting I attended in 2020.
SG Management (Schulman Group) held their 2020 event in Laguna Beach, CA in early March. At that point, the world was starting to shut down and the John Wayne Airport was eerily quiet. The ADSO had just announced that they were postponing their annual meeting which was to be held in National Harbor, MD. We all know that was the beginning of the end for nearly all in-person events for 2020.
As a networker, business owner, industry speaker and frequent flyer, like many, I had to adjust to a new way of communicating. Gone were the quality networking opportunities and the ability to meet prospective customers and DSO thought leaders in the lobby of the hotel or at cocktail hours. Dinners were replaced by email, eblasts, and endless Zoom meetings. Most of us adjusted to this new normal, but I am ready to get back to seeing people in person again. And from what I’m hearing from industry colleagues, I am not alone.
It is hard to predict what 2021 will look like from an in-person meeting standpoint. Schulman’s meeting is relatively small compared to an ADSO, CDA, Chicago Mid-Winter, Greater New York, or an ADA event, so there are no issues with having adequate space for social distancing during indoor sessions. The fact that the event is in Naples, Florida, also makes it easy to offer outdoor networking and gathering opportunities. Additionally, most attendees are dentists which means they have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated by now.
Immediately after the Schulman meeting in Naples, I will be headed to Atlanta, GA, where the Thomas P. Hinman dental meeting will take place.
Last year, the Hinman meeting was canceled at the last minute due to the pandemic. This year, the Hinman meeting will be scaled back and offered in a hybrid format. There will be 45+ in-person courses and 40+ virtual courses. There will also be a virtual and in-person exhibit hall area. Attendees will be limited to scheduled times on the exhibit hall floor. I have been told that an estimated 2,000 attendees will participate in-person at the Hinman Dental meeting.
The dental and DSO meeting landscape for the remainder of 2021 is a mix of virtual, hybrid and in-person. The ADSO is having their event, Boldly Evolving Dentistry, in late March and will be all virtual. The CDA South in May has been moved to virtual as well.
Once we get into the summer months, indications are that more meetings will be held in person or some type of hybrid meeting with a virtual component as well:
- Dykema will hold their DSO event fully in person at the Gaylord resort in Denver July 28-30.
- The CDA North is still on target to happen in person in early September.
- OpenRoom’s DentalForum event will be held in person in Austin, Texas September 13-14.
Sneak peak: At the time of this publisher’s letter, it is highly likely that Group Dentistry Now will be partnering with another well-known dental industry partner to conduct our first-ever in-person meeting sometime in Q3. Stay tuned for more information regarding our event.
Although the Schulman Group meeting has just begun, the excitement and energy in the warm Florida air from both attendees and industry partners is palpable. People are ready to actively engage and learn, and most importantly, share information and experiences face-to-face thereby creating camaraderie.
It’s been a long year, and for a time it may look slightly different than we are used to, but it’s happening – the joy of stepping away from computer Zoom meetings and seeing each other once again has arrived.
Below are just a few pictures from Schulman Group’s annual meeting being held this week in sunny Florida.
Looking forward to seeing you in person soon,
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