Apr 13, 2023
By Katherine H. Crawford, MA, PMP, ASCO Communications
In response to feedback from attendees and members, the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting will feature a new space designed for those onsite to relax and connect with peers, as well as attend professional development sessions. The Career Connections space will be centrally located next to Registration in the North Building, Hall C. The space will be open to all meeting attendees and will offer comfortable seating for unwinding and catching up with colleagues informally, tables and chairs for more formal meetings, and informational panel discussions on topics such as career transitions and using social media for career advancement, as well as mock interviews and one-on-one mentoring sessions.
This space also will feature the ASCO Career Fair, which was previously located in the Exhibit Hall. The Career Fair offers a chance for attendees to explore new career options and job opportunities with representatives from hospitals, academic cancer centers, private practices, and some of the leading firms in the field of oncology.
Upon learning about the new space being offered at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting, Brandon Huffman, MD, a clinical fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and ASCO member-in-training, was enthusiastic: “As an early-career medical oncologist, I look forward to learning from the career-focused panel sessions. This is a unique opportunity for me to understand experiences of a community oncologist, academic oncologist, government advocate, and pharma in the same sessions! Plus, as I meet new people at ASCO, I look forward to using the Career Connections space as a place where we can chat about future collaborations.”
Maria de Lourdes Garcia-Jimenez, MD, MHS, a medical oncologist at UCLA Health and ASCO early-career member, is also looking forward to the new area: “The new Career Connections space will fill the significant need for a dedicated space to network with other medical oncologists at different career training levels and with different career backgrounds in a smaller, manageable, and less intimidating environment than the larger meeting. For me, this will be a space to learn different perspectives on oncology practice and discover new friendships, mentorships, and collaborations.”
Attendee surveys from previous meetings showed that a large part of what makes the ASCO Annual Meeting special are the opportunities for networking and catching up with colleagues. This Career Connections space is designed to meet that need.
“We know that the ASCO Annual Meeting offers the best scientific and educational content in the oncology space, but there is so much more that happens at the ASCO Annual Meeting,” said Mandy Davis, vice president of the ASCO Meetings Department. “We also want to prioritize the ‘other stuff’ that happens at the meeting—the connections, the camaraderie, the professional development—and this new space is a way to do that.”
Five Fun Ways to Connect at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting
- The therapy dogs will be back! Therapy dogs from Canine Therapy Corps will be stationed at the front of the Exhibit Hall, awaiting love and affection from attendees.
- The ASCO Garden is moving to the McCormick Place Lakeside Terrace so that visitors can enjoy the beautiful view of Lake Michigan while relaxing in this informal patio space.
- Pop-up shops will be back, including the ASCO Store—which will now have ASCO merchandise that can be purchased onsite—and various shops that give a percentage of proceeds to Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation.
- More ASCO Communities of Practice (CoP) have sprung up, so you can find your people virtually or in person. In addition to the existing CoPs dedicated to clinician medical educators (@OncMedEdCoP), geriatric oncology specialists, and palliative care clinicians and investigators, there are new ones, including groups for adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology specialists and international medical graduates (IMGs). You can connect with these groups on the ASCO myConnection platform. Find more information.
- More seating has been added throughout the venue, including to the poster session hall, so there are more opportunities to catch up with colleagues and hold informal discussions and meetings.
Dr. Garcia-Jimenez echoed the notion that the camaraderie and shared purpose is what makes the meeting so special: “My favorite aspect of the ASCO Annual Meeting in terms of professional development and networking is being able to meet oncologists from across the country at different stages of their careers, hearing about lessons learned, career trajectories, and commiserating about shared experiences as we navigate this rewarding career!”
Dr. Huffman concurred: “I really love that everyone has a common goal at the ASCO Annual Meeting: to help our patients with cancer live longer and better. As an early-career medical oncologist and clinical investigator, I love meeting the future leaders of this field. I also love to walk through the poster sessions to meet all of the incredibly smart people presenting their amazing research. It is a great way to develop new ideas and to meet new friends and collaborators.”
Stop by and visit this new space when you’re in Chicago at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting. See you there!