Stanley Rokaw, far right, in his natural habitat.
Before attending the Treatment Center Investment & Valuation Retreat (TCIV) in Scottsdale next week, Stanley Rokaw, Avea’s Principal Product Manager, shares some thoughts and tips from his experiences as a behavioral health conference veteran.
WHAT’S THE MOST FULFILLING PART OF GOING TO CONFERENCES?
Learning from people with different perspectives about changes within the industry. I really like going to TCIV in particular because representatives from private equity and investment firms will be there, and they have teams of market analysts whose entire job is to research what’s going on with the valuation of treatment industry trends. That kind of insight and data is incredibly valuable to what I do, so being able to connect with them is a great opportunity that I really only get at conferences.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CONFERENCE EXPERIENCE?
Put yourself out there. There’s a lot of great information to glean if you can connect with people and have genuine conversations. We’re all there because we’re part of the same industry. Being open to learning new things from people you wouldn’t normally run into is probably the best thing you can do there.
HOW DOES ATTENDING CONFERENCES HELP YOU PROFESSIONALLY?
It’s really important to be able to gage where the market trends are going. Often at these conferences, I’ll learn pertinent information from market analysts who have been studying it, even before your customers will even know they have a problem, such as the stress that comes from trying to integrate medically assisted treatment into treatment programs…most of our customers didn’t know that was a viable option for them. Learning more about trends like these allows me to anticipate the market’s needs, rather than reacting to them.
HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR A CONFERENCE?
I like to go to as many panels as I can, so I try to go through the attendees list if it’s available beforehand to see who’s going. This helps me determine who I’d really like to meet up with, so I can make a concerted effort to reach out. If there’s an event schedule beforehand, I mark out my priorities so I can make sure to carve out space appropriately, because it can be easy to lose track of time in the conference environment.
WHAT DO YOU MAKE SURE TO BRING?
- Protein Bars: Inevitably, things get busy. You’re running from booth to booth and presentation to presentation. So I keep a stash of protein bars with me to keep me going.
- Phone charger
- Portable battery pack
- Business cards
- Comfortable shoes
- Pen: so I can jot down notes on the business cards you collect
WHAT MUST YOU BE CAREFUL NOT TO FORGET?
My dress clothes. On the way to a conference, I was sitting at the airport, eating a quick lunch, and about 15 minutes before boarding, mid-bite I dropped my fork and realized I forgotten my dress clothes. I had to find a store to buy button downs and slacks.
If you’ll also be attending TCIV, make sure to stop by Booth #1 to see Stanley and share your own conference tips and tricks!