Executive Director's Column: On (to) Orlando!


Robert A. Wynbrandt, Executive Director & General Counsel
Courtney Miller Donovan, Director of Meetings & Conventions

STS News, Fall 2013 -- As the calendar takes us closer to the end of 2013, the Society’s organizational focus turns more squarely toward the upcoming 50th Annual Meeting in Orlando. Accordingly, it is fitting that the latest installment in our series of guest columns prepared by members of the STS management team is from Courtney Miller Donovan, our Director of Meetings and Conventions. Courtney joined us in July of 2012, following a 9-year stint as Senior Manager for Conference Services at the American Dental Association, and has now overseen a full cycle of STS and affiliated organization meetings. Here, Courtney helps get us in the mood for a terrific experience in Orlando, focusing on attendee time spent apart from the scientific sessions.

On January 25, 1965, the very first STS Annual Meeting commenced at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, led by President Paul C. Samson, MD of Oakland, CA. This inaugural gathering drew 411 attendees and 19 exhibiting companies, including current exhibitors Medtronic, Scanlan, and Storz. Speakers included some of the most well-respected and innovative physicians in the world, such as F. Mason Sones Jr., MD of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who gave a guest lecture on coronary arteriography.

Fast forward 49 years. The STS Annual Meeting has grown into a premier international educational event in cardiothoracic surgery attended by thousands, and the Society is pulling out all the stops to honor its Golden Anniversary. The celebration will take place January 25–29, 2014, in sun-drenched Orlando, which boasts a variety of activities and attractions that will appeal to the entire family. When you’re not taking in the groundbreaking invited lectures, scientific sessions, or hands-on learning opportunities, you can head to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando® Resort, or SeaWorld, explore the BoardWalk, or get in a round of golf without even having to leave the property.

This year’s venue conveniently offers both housing and Annual Meeting activities under one roof. The Orlando World Center Marriott is a spacious resort that boasts an 18-hole championship golf course, 10 restaurants and lounges, a rejuvenating spa, and an impressive pool complex featuring a slide tower with two 200-foot waterslides.

The educational aspects of the meeting are featured in this issue's cover story, which describes the hot topics that will be presented in the scientific sessions. President Douglas E. Wood, MD has secured two internationally renowned speakers—Bassem Youssef and Shaf Keshavjee—for the Ferguson and Lillehei Lectures, and he has worked closely with the Workforce on Annual Meeting and STS staff to help ensure that the 50th Annual Meeting gives attendees information and techniques that they can take home and immediately put into practice.

Several celebratory events and historic displays will enhance the educational offerings. The festivities kick off on Sunday, January 26, in the Exhibit Hall with an Opening Reception that will feature a 50th Anniversary cake cutting by Dr. Wood. A timeline display and documentary videos will showcase important Society milestones. To underscore the worldwide impact that STS has had over the last five decades, a flag ceremony highlighting all 85 countries in which STS members are located will be held during the General Session on Monday, January 27. Tribute will also be paid to the Society’s Founder Members, some of whom will be in attendance, for their roles in establishing this distinguished organization.

Although the meeting will commemorate the past, STS continues to innovate at each Annual Meeting and offer new features with an eye on the future. A multiscreen video wall will keep you updated on happenings inside and outside the convention center. You can also visit the STS Pavilion—a one-stop shop for all things STS—to receive information on advocacy efforts, membership benefits, STS National Database initiatives, upcoming educational programs, and more. And don’t miss out on the special commemorative 50th Anniversary briefcase that will be available only to meeting attendees.

Finally, what would an Orlando meeting be without a social event that allows you to mingle with your colleagues at one of the area’s most exciting theme parks? On Monday, January 27, be sure to attend the STS Social Event at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure®. You’ll have an evening of unlimited access to some of the most amazing theme park rides and attractions in "The City Beautiful."

All of this and more awaits you in Orlando. The STS Meetings and Conventions team, along with the rest of the staff, has been hard at work planning a special event that honors the past, celebrates the future, and creates an unforgettable experience for everyone.

We look forward to welcoming you at the Annual Meeting. Register now at www.sts.org/annualmeeting!

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