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Outside the Lab Profession

The Power of Connection

In the world of professional growth and personal development, there exists a dynamic force that is often underestimated: the power of making connections with colleagues.

We recently held the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California, and the enthusiasm and energy that came out of that meeting has been an incredible reminder that we are “StrongerTogether”. Forging connections and building relationships can change the course of careers and lives. Connecting, communicating, and collaborating with like-minded pathologists and medical laboratory scientists not only enhances our expertise but also enriches our journey with inspiration and limitless opportunities.

ASCP 2023 was more than just a gathering of pathologists and laboratory professionals with shared interests, it was a hub of innovation and transformation. The educational sessions gave the knowledge we need to ensure we are providing the highest-quality care for all patients, and gave attendees the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences, and expertise. We heard from two keynote speakers who reiterated the power of the laboratory, and how essential our roles are to patient care. Actor and breast cancer spokesman Rob Lowe underscored the importance of patient advocacy in order to advance care. Kizzmekia Corbett-Helaire, lead scientific researcher on what would become the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19, stressed the need for the laboratory to always be prepared, and that healthcare is nothing if not a team effort. We listened to panel discussions on the issues facing laboratories, and importantly, what we can do to solve them. We asked questions, we considered new vantage points, we refined our approach to our practice, and we shared our opinions, all in the name of strengthening the laboratory. 

When so much of our lives today take place online and we connect via screens more often than we do face-to-face, being able to connect in person is a gift. Networking and connecting with others are remarkable forces to be reckoned with – where sparks of creativity can fly, and professional partnerships can be formed. The value of meeting people in person cannot be understated, as it fuels our professional growth while building a support system that can be instrumental throughout your career. Creating a circle of trusted colleagues outside of your own organization can provide the connections you need for advice, guidance, and assistance when you face challenges or uncertainties in your career. And knowing you have this network of like-minded individuals who share your goals and support you can be a source of motivation and help push you to achieve more than you ever thought possible. 

ASCP 2023 was an incredible opportunity to not only forge and foster relationships but also strengthen existing relationships. When we have the chance to connect with others in person, we must approach it with intention and purpose, and be active participants. One of the extraordinary things about ASCP 2023 was everyone was ready to engage, and more than willing to share insights and experiences. It is that spirit that underpins the work the laboratory does and propels us forward in our accomplishments.

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About the Author
E. Blair Holladay

CEO of the American Society for Clinical Pathology

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