We can’t put learning on hold.
By Karen Moseley, HERO President & CEO
“The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Board of Directors announces HEROForum21 will move to a fully virtual event.” I never expected to arrive at the same decision and outcome as we did in 2020. This year was supposed to be different with access to vaccinations and diminishing case counts. Yet, here we are again, exploring new ways to connect a dissociated group.
The decision to convert to a fully virtual conference was heavy and frustrating and disappointing. The hard right often is. In addition to a stellar speaker line-up like every other year, we were looking forward to line dances and extra networking because we were giddy with the anticipation of seeing our HERO family and friends and putting Austin’s hospitality to the test. But we couldn’t ignore the number of businesses pressing the brakes on nonessential travel or the pandemic trends we’d been watching for 18 months climb yet another hill.
It feels like we’re on that same roller coaster of COVID-19 data, yet upside down. For every increase in case and death counts, the track of emotions dives deeper. This time, the hill of euphoria had just reached its highest peak since March 2020, making the downhill plunge even more devastating. And emotionally exhausting.
These challenges are clearly germane to the theme of Forum21 and HERO’s mission. Our theme of emotional resilience echoes our conviction that the health and well-being profession is critical to the ability of business, and our nation, to emerge from this pandemic and is positioned to lead in preventing and reducing the burden of future disease for employees, families and communities. This is why we can’t put learning on hold.
2020 taught us many lessons. The HERO team has used some of those learnings to curate a more exciting virtual experience for Forum21. No, we won’t be able to dance together in a hotel ballroom, at least not this year. But we can be together, albeit in “Brady Bunch” fashion, to support one another through another season that is testing our individual resilience.
HERO is determined to pursue our purpose connecting science and practice to demonstrate the value of a health and well-being employer ecosystem. This year. Every year. We will get through this. Together.