As LeadingAge PA's Director of Special Events, no one was more excited about the 2020 LeadingAge PA Annual Conference + EXPO in Hershey this year than I was! Planning an event for our members to learn, honor their peers, engage with exhibitors, and network with colleagues is extremely gratifying and what I love to do.

However, with the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic that reached Pennsylvania this spring, it became clear that we would have to create a "new normal" for our annual conference, which traditionally has been a nearly week-long, onsite event at the Hershey Lodge. Recognizing that we must be good stewards and do our part to not only help keep our members safe, but also close to their communities and homes where they are needed more than ever, we embraced the challenge of planning and hosting a three-day virtual experience.

The entire LeadingAge PA staff is excited to offer the best of our conference--learning from top-notch keynote speakers and breakout sessions, celebrating the Distinguished Service Award winners, and networking with our loyal exhibitors--on an engaging, interactive platform. The 2020 Annual Conference + EXPO virtual experience will be an online world that allows us to offer new opportunities, which you can experience comfortably and safely from your own office or home. Just think: no packing, no traveling, and no traffic! Instead, you can find a quiet spot to enjoy the same great learning opportunities, celebrations, and networking--in real time.

Change, as we're all learning, can be difficult; if embraced, it can also lead to wonderful new experiences. Our team has put great effort into making sure some of your conference favorites are still part of your experience, such as visiting exhibitors in our virtual EXPO Hall, receiving a special "swag bag" filled with fun treasures from vendors, and enjoying complimentary lunches, too!

For those of you who were planning to attend the 2020 LeadingAge PA Annual Conference + EXPO in Hershey: Rest assured, the conference you know and love is still here - it's just taking a little pivot like the world around us. For those of you who were not going to be able to attend the original event in Hershey: We are excited about the features this new option offers and look forward to you joining us! Please watch our member communications and social media pages, as we'll be sharing more details with you in the coming weeks.

We are looking forward to sharing the 2020 Annual Conference + EXPO virtual experience with you!