Highlights of USLCA’s Upcoming Inaugural Conference: Gateway to Excellence

By Mistel de Varona and Annette Leary

299737_10152662816125424_1453935094_nSpring is here and USLCA’s first national conference is on its way. Gateway to Excellence will kick off in two weeks! There are many exciting things to look forward to if you are attending and an abundance of wonderfully tempting reasons to commit if you are undecided.

Not registered? It’s not too late! The standard registration rate is available until April 20th. On-site registration is available for a small additional charge. Click HERE to register!

St. Louis Union Station - A DoubleTree Hotel

Photo via hotel website

The beautiful and historic St. Louis Union Station Hotel currently has rooms available for the standard rate. We are looking forward to staying four days at this gorgeous hotel and the pictures on the hotel’s website are breathtaking. Beautiful lodging, first rate education and fun networking make this conference the perfect working vacation. Sharing a room is a great way to build a relationship with another attendee and will help minimize your travel costs. Check out our forums to find a roommate.

The Grand Hall

Knowledge is Power

In a previous post, we highlighted our seven plenary sessions. Check them out:

The State of Breastfeeding in the US: We’ve Come a Long Way with “Miles to Go Before We Sleep” – Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC

Reflux, GERD and Breastfeeding – Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC

How to Evaluate Drug Usage in Breastfeeding Mothers – Thomas Hale, PhD

Into the Mouths of Babes: An Exploration of Infant Oral Skills – Robin Glass, BS, OTR, IBCLC and Lynn Wolf, MOT, OTR, IBCLC

Breastfeeding and the Joint Commission: Partners in Health – Celeste G. Milton, MPH, BSN, RN

Whos’ Your Daddy…Mommy, Surrogate, or Donor? Modern Families and Lactation – Elizabeth Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA

How to Influence Key Stakeholders and Promote Breastfeeding Powerfully – Todd Wolynn, MD, IBCLC

With such great and diverse concurrent sessions, there will be many new ideas to bring home and share with your colleagues. Subjects span from research skills, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, social media, the “F” word (formula), birth trauma, WIC, pumping, preemies, and even a few sessions available in Spanish. It was a fun challenge to choose our topics during registration. Which ones will you be attending? Check out the conference brochure for a complete list of session topics.

We Need You!

All registered attendees are encouraged to get involved. More information about how to volunteer is HERE! We need help with the silent auction, selling raffle tickets and introducing speakers.

Win Amazing Prizes from the Silent Auction and Raffle!

Coming for the education, networking or a passion renewal? One of the real bonuses for some attendees will be winning unique and valuable items from the silent auction and raffles. This is a CAN’T MISS opportunity! Make sure to bring extra spending money! USLCA will accept cash, check, or credit cards for the silent auction and raffle. All proceeds will benefit USLCA’s mission to advance the IBCLC profession.

The Silent Auction will be filled with generously donated items including jewelry, artwork, gift baskets, baby carriers, lactation books and DVDs, as well as other lactation paraphernalia and online conference registrations! Come to the Exhibit Hall to place your bid starting at the beginning of the conference and we’ll keep it open until Saturday at lunch. Please consider donating an item to show your support!

ticketWe’ll also have the best raffle ever! Purchase raffle tickets at the USLCA book in the Exhibit Hall. This is your chance to win an iLactation online conference registration, a year’s worth of USLCA webinars with CERPs, or a full registration to the 2013 ILCA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Winners will be announced during the conference.

Looking for Networking Opportunities?

Look at the communication board as we have reserved several tables each night to restaurants which are within walking distance to the hotel. Make sure you sign up to reserve your dinner spot.

Tweet to Share and Connect with #USLCA13

twitter-bird-white-on-blueGet involved on a deeper level and tweet leading up to and from the conference using the hashtag #USLCA13. It’s easy to join and a great way to stay connected with IBCLCs around the world. New to Twitter and want to get started? Here’s a great guide to get you started.

See you in St. Louis!

mistelMistel de Varona found her passion for breastfeeding advocacy shortly after the birth of her daughter. Eager to support and educate fellow new mom friends, one suggested she become a lactation consultant. A light bulb went off with that idea and has only gotten brighter. Mistel holds a CLS, is an aspiring IBCLC, pursuing an RN and is a Le Leche Leader Applicant. She’s a self-professed nerd and enjoys helping her daughter explore the world. Follow @Mistel_dV on Twitter for evidence based information mostly about lactation.

photo (4)Annette Leary is a mother of 4 and grandmother to 1 beautiful 2 yr old, Makenzie. She has been working with mothers , babies and families for over 25 years.  She became an IBCLC in 1995, and because of certifying at such a young age, she has calculated that she’ll have to sit for the IBCLC exam 4 times in her life!  She feels very blessed to not only be able to help new families latch onto parenting and breastfeeding but also for the opportunity to educate, groom and mentor colleagues in the field of lactation.

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