OVER THE DECADES I WAS LUCKY TO BE SUPPORTED TO ATTEND SEVERAL IFHIIMA Congresses:  My first was Dallas, Texas, USA in 1988: Followed by Vancouver, Canada in 1992: Munich, Germany, 1996, Washington, USA:  Seoul, South Korea, 2007; Milan, Italy, 2010; And Montreal 2013.

My first thoughts in Dallas was that there was so much energy in the room, both during the sessions and at the Congress table.  Everything seemed so important and official.  I was so impressed and honored to be attending.   I wondered to my “young self “, who are these very important people” – I want to be one of them.  Over the years I set out to join those experts at the Congress table; and to become an expert in HIM so that I too could present my work.

Over the years I was amazed that everyone I talked with had the same issues as I did – and through the years – those issues continued to evolve in the same way – in all the main Domains of the HIM Lifecycle.  I am still amazed to this day as IFHIMA is updating the Learning Modules – that are being  written by HIM authors from different countries – that the material will relate to all countries.  In Canada it was always my goal to ensure “standardization” of HIM and the educating of HIM professionals and I am proud to see that happening across the World.

In THE EARLY YEARS, I was awe struck to be meeting the “elite” of HIM – those who have written books, published, presented and got involved on National International Committees, as well as with the World Health Organization.  These same people were leading the HIM challenge in their own hospitals, cities, countries – and were eager to share that information and their experiences with other HIM’s around the world.

Because of these early influences I too began to sit on many committees. Committees that developed Professional Practice Brief’s, White Papers, Book Chapters, HIM standards for the most important HIM topics, and compare these to best practices around the world and Publish!  This for me was an amazing process and journey in my HIM career.

When I finally got up the nerve, I still remember my first presentation – I was so nervous (almost sick to my stomach); but once I got started, I calmed down and it was a wonderful experience.  To this day I still get nervous (but never like that first time).   The feedback from delegates about the information the Presenters were imparting was just amazing.  We all do have information to share – please consider sharing your experiences.

All these experiences inspired me to get on Hospital Committees, then Provincial and National Committees where I believed I had an area of expertise.  Eventually I became the CEO for CHIMA and I worked with the “best of the best” throughout Canada, and Internationally.

I always considered myself to be extremely honored to have my superiors believe in me and invest in me to attend several Congresses from 1988 to 2016.  I rarely was just a delegate – I always tried to get involved in any activity I could.

One of the biggest benefits I derived from my IFHIMA interactions – was to meet many, many good friends.  Friends that I have travelled the world with, met their families and have gotten to know very well.  These friendships have meant the world to me.

I have retired this year after 30 years as an HIM – and I loved every minute of it.  I encourage each and everyone of you to lobby your superiors or save the money yourself too attend a Congress in another part of the world – you too will be amazed!