This Conference Will Change Your Life. No, Really.

Subena presentation

If you’re early in your career in the industrial hygiene and occupational health (IH/OH) field, a conference like AIHce EXP can feel exciting — but overwhelming — at the same time. There is a lot to take in even if you’ve spent decades in the industry, so we know that the event can be that much more intense for the professionals just hitting their stride.

Sure, conferences allow for continued education, but for early career professionals, these events are the perfect place to make connections that can take a career in unlimited directions. From the vendor reception to the keynotes to the breakout sessions, opportunities abound to learn what’s happening in your industry and to have conversations that’ll open your mind in ways reading a research paper can’t.

“I attended a ton of sessions, learned about some occupations in the IH/OH field I didn’t know existed,” says Subena Colligan, MS, CSP, CIH, who attended her first AIHce EXP last year in Minneapolis. “I even got to hear from an EHS manager from one of the most forward-thinking manufacturers in the world on how they are incorporating EHS into world-changing practices. It was eye-opening!”

Subena believes it is critical that new professionals to the IH/OH field, as well as those with 10 years or less experience who identify as early career professionals (ECPs), make it a point to attend AIHA’s largest annual event. “There’s literally everything available that you’ll need to step up in your career,” she says.

“The vendor exposition gives you the opportunity to explore various solutions to problems in the workplace. They will overload you with swag, so be sure to have a goodie bag handy!” Subena also enjoyed a special hangout for ECPs equipped with comfortable seating, charging stations, and quiet space for networking. This year, a “Lessons in Leadership” series, featuring short discussions with different IH/OH leaders in the industry and the association, will be available for those attending the conference for the first time, as well as students and ECPs.

Speaking of networking, there are several networking events offered each day that allow everyone an opportunity to make new connections. The 2020 conference is situated in Atlanta, a trendy yet venerable location with amazing restaurant options to meet up with people you just met after a busy day. “Those ad hoc meetups were some of my favorite times, especially the impromptu lunches with a person you just met and had been talking to for ten minutes,” says Subena.

If you are an early career professional and still debating if you should attend AIHce EXP 2020, here are few reasons you should, according to Subena:

  1. FOMO (fear of missing out). You don’t even know what you’re missing for your professional development and career if you haven’t experienced this conference event.
  2. Opportunity. There are so many opportunities to network with other early career professionals and those that have made big moves in the career field. Your next opportunity — the opportunity that you may not have even known was in your grasp — might just be at conference.
  3. Connection. There are so many professionals, just like me and you. We are the future of the IH/OH profession. We need the time and space to make that connection for the next generation, and we can’t do it if you aren’t there.

“I will be at AIHce EXP 2020 learning, growing, and making connections… you should be too,” says Subena. “Don’t miss out on an experience that could change you, and your career, like it did mine.”

Hear what Subena has to say about her conference experience.