December 2016 President’s Message

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Published on: December 9, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, I hope that everyone will have opportunities to take the time to reconnect with family and friends during this holiday season.

The annual meeting in St. Louis was quite exciting. The Convention Committee worked hard to provide a program that members would enjoy, based on comments on the surveys returned at the Niagara meeting. There was a considerable interest in more information on IVF production of embryos, and for myself, I’d say that the Convention Committee delivered! As a rule, comments were very positive, and the Midway provided a great layout for the exhibitors. Thank you to all who filled out the convention surveys. We appreciate the feedback. We acknowledge some of the challenges of the venue, specifically with the room block. In Niagara, we had an incredible turn-out of AETA members, well in excess of what CETA had anticipated, based on historical data. As a board, we made a point to chat with the hotel staff in St. Louis about our options to expand the room block, should we see similar attendance figures. We were verbally assured that they could accommodate us; however, when the Cardinals made the pennant race, our meeting took a backseat, and the hotel would not budge on the issue. This was very disappointing to us, particularly after we were given assurance that we could be accommodated. The seemingly simple solution would be to have the FASS staff simply book a larger block of rooms. This, however, would come with some significant financial risks. Jeremy did a very good job of explaining to the Board that it would only take 19 open rooms for us to incur an additional $10,000 cost for these unused rooms. Thus, the FASS staff do their best to estimate attendance, based on historical figures, to try to be as fiscally conscientious of the association as possible. Quite a challenge! The venue in Orlando (Caribe Royale Orlando) is huge, with many other hotels in close proximity. We should not have to deal with this problem in 2017. For future reference, if you find that the a block of rooms is full for a conference, you might make a phone call to the association office. There are some individuals (speakers, staff, exhibitors, etc.) who may not be attending the entire meeting, but their one-night stay may block out a room for the entire conference. If the office staff are willing and able, they may be able to find creative ways to get you a room at the convention venue, even if the block of rooms is full.

At the annual business meeting, the topic of online voting was brought up to be considered by the Board of Directors. This is an issue that, though seems very innocuous at the start, could have dramatic implications, and requires very careful consideration. There are many different points of view related to something as simple as online voting, and the Board will need to have the opportunity to hear and consider all of these various perspectives before making a decision. Please share your thoughts and opinions with the Board on this issue! This will be a topic on the agenda for the mid-year meeting, and any comments you have before the meeting will be welcome.

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to serve the AETA. I was particularly thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize Steve Malin’s work for the AETA as the long-time chairman of the Certification Committee and present the President’s Award to him. The connections that I’ve made and the broader perspective of the AETA and its committees are invaluable to me. I’ve found the experience to be a very enjoyable and highly gratifying, and I look forward to many more years of service to the organization in whatever capacity presents itself. If any of you are interested in serving the AETA, either as a Board member, or on an AETA committee, please step forward and let it be known.

Thank you again, and have a safe and happy holiday season!

Respectfully,

Bethany Funnell

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