Welcome to Veterinary Events and CE in 2021 and Beyond - Episode 2, Featuring NAVC CEO Gene O'Neill
Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of Webinar Wednesdays here with GeniusVets. This season we are discussing the return to events, events in the veterinary industry, which we are so excited to get back to after a year in lockdown and we have with us an incredibly distinguished guest today the CEO of NAVC, Eugene O'Neill. Gene has been with NAVC since August 2013. He came to NAVC from the Institute of Internal Auditors, where he had been for 15 years. He started as the manager of conferences, developing and delivering 12 conferences a year. He spent nine years as the VP, finance, and controller, where he worked closely with his staff to implement new accounting software and a state-of-the-art budget and forecast system that remains an invaluable tool for the IIA management team.
After his time in the finance area, he moved into the operations of the organization and assumed the position of VP North American Relationship Management. In that role, Gene and his team are responsible for developing and delivering benefits to 72,000 members across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. He was also responsible for print and electronic publications including the flagship member benefit, Internal Auditor Magazine. In early 2013, Gene took on an assignment as the interim CEO for the Institute of Internal Auditors Australia, based in Sydney. During his four-month term there, Gene was able to implement new programs and benefits that turned around a declining membership base, develop an operating business plan for the organization that matches the changing dynamics of the structure of the Institute, and produce a world-class conference for members in Australia and Southeast Asia.
Prior to joining the IAA, Gene spent 10 years with SeaWorld of Florida, holding positions mostly in administration and finance areas. Gene also spent eight years as the general manager of Baseball City Sports Complex, the spring training site of the Kansas City Royals. A New Jersey transplant, Gene has been living in Orlando since 1986. He and his beautiful wife, Pam, each have two wonderful children—Brie and Shawn and Amanda and Nikki, and a handsome grandson, Owen. Gene is an avid golfer, a music enthusiast, and a loyal follower of the bands and musicians who made New Jersey famous. Gene, thank you so much for taking some time to spend with us today.
We're kind of kicking off this season, asking a few questions. I mean, let's address the elephant in the room. It's been the weirdest year, right? I mean, we've been locked down. We've been socially distanced. Events, your particular space in this industry have taken a tremendous hit, obviously, completely and entirely disrupted, but while we were locked down, spending time, socially distanced, we all kind of had some time to really get to know ourselves a little bit better, I think and kind of deal with some things. What's something interesting you learned about yourself over the past year?
Good question. It's probably two things. One, personally, one professionally. So, personally, I've really gained a greater appreciation for those who work remotely. Those that can manage their own time, have the discipline to work on schedule, locked down when they have to, show up at the computer, spend time with their family. I can't do that. So working remotely for me was an eye-opener. I just don't have it in me, I get up in the morning, open the computer but by the time you realize it, it's after dinnertime, you're still working and then, you have a few hours to spend on your own. So that I realized for me, those who can manage that remotely, all respect for them doing it that way. Professionally, I think what I've learned about myself more is I went into this role as a CEO.
I was more of an ... thought of myself more as an introvert. So I was always the second guy. I was the right-hand man. I was always helping the leader develop ideas and have them flesh them out. I realized that I really like being in the spotlight now. I like doing the openings at VMX. I like being on stage. I like doing interviews like this, where it's just me. So maybe I'm not such an introvert that I think I was. I think I may have opened up a little bit. Everything is a process improvement.
Something I found really interesting, and during the time in lockdown, people did a number of different things that could ... you categorize just into a few things. They either kind of ... of course, everybody worked and they dealt with the working from home things, but they kind of either just became homebody, sitting on the couch, maybe drinking a little much, maybe watching a little much TV and movies and whatnot. "We were locked down, what are we going to do," or some people really worked on themselves in various ways. Improved a skill, got in shape, did different things. What have you done over the past year to improve yourself?
Again, I'll answer it two ways. One is personal and one professional. So there was a time during the lockdown, the COVID period where I did manage to schedule a time for myself to do things that I like to do and get away from the work. So going back to your story about working in an office with a guitarist, I love playing guitar. I need some downtime and just to give my mind a little rest, I'll just pick it up and strum it or pick it for a little bit, and then put it back down, but that's what I ... but that was I was able to do. So I enjoyed getting back into that mode, because I would put the guitar down for a while and never pick it up again because I was always reading something or writing something, preparing for something, it was never enough time. So I've managed to schedule a time for that, which for me was a real benefit. So on the personal side, I love doing that, I love golfing so I spend time on the golf course, practicing, chipping, putting all that type of stuff.
Professionally, when I stepped into this role as CEO, like I said when I came into the role of CFO and sort of second hand to the CEO at the time, but being in the CEO role, there are certain skills that I had to develop that I developed better than what I had. The leadership skills, all the softer skills. I was a debits and credits guy. I was a finance guy but now, I'm stepping away from that from those disciplines, getting more into leadership. So I was reading a lot about best practices, going back and reading about what the leaders in some of the industries had done to form their teams and to progress and really grow. So I spent a lot of time doing that professionally.
I think it's paying off, I think we got through the crisis fairly unaffected as a staff, and I think it is a lot of cool things in the interim.
You mentioned that you went back into study on some of those softer skills and CEO skills and some management stuff. It's just fascinating because you've had such a career where you've been at a very high level as a CFO. I mean, you are very much in leadership over a large organization and have ... over numerous organizations, as we heard in the bio. If you were turning to books, any particular books that you read in the past year that you thought were just really impactful?
So I read more articles and books, but the one book that I did read, that always sticks with me is the one on Lee Iacocca and this is going back into the 80s, and how he turned around the whole industry, basically. So I go back to his principles of just being a great listener, a great planner, a follow-through, a visionary. So guys like Steve Jobs and old guys, like they just use articles on so I just subscribe to a lot of those types of newsletters, magazines that bring out the best of the best.
What newsletters are really good that you like?
I like Harvard Business Review. Korn Ferry puts out a great newsletter once a week too, that captures the essence of leadership, their CEO puts out a letter every week about personal attributes that he feels he's grown with and gives personal stories about it, which really makes it interesting. It's not dry. It's really personal and you can see how he applies the way he leads.
Well, listen, thanks for that. I'd love to change gears a little bit. First of all, I want to make sure that ... I mean, your organization does so much. I want to make sure that people really understand the depth and breadth that NAVC is covering now. So why don't we start with just a broad overview of the different offerings just to make sure our audience has the full picture.
Sure. Okay. So just to step back a little bit, NAVC has been around for over 30 years, but it started as the eastern states veterinary conference. So that was the genesis of the whole organization. Throughout the years times change, names change and now, we're known as the North American Veterinary Community. Now, what we do as far as providing education in the global veterinary profession, is relying on our portfolio of products and services. I think our most well-known product right now is our conference, which we've rebranded as VMX, Virtual Meeting, and Expo. We've done that probably at best, about four years ago. Right now, it's probably ... It is the largest ... world's largest, and most comprehensive global veterinary education conference with hands-on workshops.
So I look at it as more of ... VMX as the event and if you haven't attended VMX, I would suggest you do it because it's more experiential than just going to a conference and getting CE. It's really an event to partake in. Another live event that we had, that some people don't realize is affiliated with NAVC is our Institute which is a ... it's a hands-on workshop, intensive hands-on workshop that we do here in Orlando every May, and we're able to educate veterinarians, nurses, technicians on the latest procedures, surgical procedures, techniques, so they can bring these right back to their practice. It's not theoretical, it's hands-on and it's really pretty intense. We also have the largest trade publications in the industry.
You may be familiar with Today's Veterinary Practice, Today's Veterinary Nurse. We started our own publication, Today's Veterinary Business, and they all have different markets that they address, that they try to target. So that's another thing that NAVC is getting behind. Then, we have VetFolio. VetFolio is our digital platform for virtual learning, that the future ... our future is really going to be based on the platform that VetFolio has established for itself. So in a nutshell, those are the core products and services that we have, but we also have certifications that we do, that you can get through the VetFolio platform. We have a retriever app that matches job applicants with job ... with employers. So, we provide a lot of secondary, tertiary products and services to the veterinary professional market.
VMX, as I said, for those of you who have attended, you know the depth and breadth of what we offer. This year will be a little different and we'll talk about that I'm sure as we get into what our future is, but as far as the core products and services, I think those really capture everything that we do. One other thing that we do have, that we rolled out pretty ... it was a prescient moment it was we rolled out our virtual expo hall before this whole COVID thing hit. So, we rolled this out, right at the end of 2019, and what it is, it's a 3D, again, the experiential opportunity for both sponsors and for attendees to see in 3D form, almost like you're there, talking to somebody or looking at products, looking at articles, downloading specs. So we started that in 2019 and that has taken off because there's no one in the industry doing what we do when it comes to that type of product.
It's affiliated with our VMX, and it's also a year-round product for sponsors to showcase their new products, their new services, have interviews with candidates, have sales calls. It's really, really pretty cool. We're getting to see what we do in that one product itself.
Online CE isn't new over the past year, but it's something that ... it was a little harder to gain real traction throughout the industry, the majority of people still kind of wait for the events and this and that, but yet over the last year, hey, if they wanted to, they had to get it virtual. So I'd love to hear a little bit about the impact that the lockdown ... that you felt in terms of numbers of people, how did that really affect the offerings that you already had out there since you're already out in front of this thing?
Right. Right. So, yes, originally how we leaned into the online CE arena. So this came up ... and we had planned on doing more virtual-type offerings prior to COVID. However, I think COVID just accelerated that for us in planning and designing what our platform was going to be and what our delivery mechanism is going to be. We didn't jump out of the box like everyone else did. I'm not saying that's ... that was our approach. We did notice that once COVID hit and offices were closed and events were stopped, pop-ups every day and emails about get CE here or visit this website and get CE there or there's a virtual webinar here and podcasts there. It was a lot of choices out there to make for the marketplace. So, I went into my staff, my technical staff and I was a little annoyed that we weren't out there.
I wasn't seeing anything from NAVC out there that we could share with our community and after we talked about it, I said, "Okay, I get it, let's not just jump out there with something that's not going to stick. We need something that has stickability, right? We need something that's going to be sustainable and people come back to, that the public wants to track and want to come back always to see what we're doing." So our plan was to take it methodically, take it slow and build a platform, build a design, a system of delivery that really makes sense for anyone who needs to obtain CE, anybody who needs to obtain learnings on-site ... either on-site or virtually, and just had them plan their year and that was our goal was to have them forecast what they need to get and when they need to get it and design it so that it really attracted all learning type of capabilities.
If you like to watch something if you'd like to read something if you like to attend something, get certified. We have our content in these buckets that allow individuals to customize their learning, not just for today, but to plan out what we have on our calendar in the future. So our biggest challenge ... or not challenge, but the thing that we learned the most was people want a choice, and they don't want to jump into something right away. They want to have a choice, and there was a lot of choices out there, but I believe that with our content, and I think our content really is second to none, I think that the organizations that can streamline and categorize their content, their offerings, their events, and take the complexity, and make it more simple, those are the organizations that are going to win.
So those are the ones that will really hold their place in the marketplace, build brand loyalty, and get your community coming back. So, it's all about the communication of that, and we're still developing. This is ... where we've come since last March, to now has been light-years in the frame of reference of how we built other programs prior to me, and even when I was here. I mean, we have designed a system, delivery system with content and the foresight to know what we're planning. I think quicker than I've seen in any other organization I've been with. So, having said that, there are still some challenges, as we learn more about market demand, as we learn more about offerings that we could bundle and package together and pricing models and all that type of stuff.
Really, the thing we're focusing on is knowing that there is a big appetite for virtual learning, and we know that. We know that it's going to be here. It's going to stick around, it's not a fad. It's not a one-time band-aid approach to what happened last year. This is going to be the new model. You just got to figure out how to make that model sustainable for us and build that loyalty for NAVC.
We were an event first and the conference first, but that conference became an event. It was the event that happened to have continuing education attached to it, but the entertainment, the expo hall, and all the events that we had, individual knights. So, we built it all around that experience and we're trying to replicate that experience online now because that's where it's going to ... that's where the difference is going to be when your market is demanding ... is looking for a choice. They want to go someplace, they want to be entertained, entertained when they're being educated. So that's the hook that we're trying to get and set for NAVC, in our virtual direction.
I'd love to know, from your perspective, what do you find to be the most intriguing benefits of the virtual CE model?
I think the biggest benefit initially is that it really creates a level playing field for everybody in the virtual space because it came out so quickly, no one really had the advantage coming into the COVID year. No one had the advantage of the best virtual platform out there, always getting the largest attendee base. So it leveled the playing field and I think that opened a lot of doors for us, opportunities for us when we looked at it. It's not only hitting our domestic market but also our international market as well. So I brought this up in a staff meeting one day, and I said, I look at virtual learning as really the great equalizer, because now we're all in the same level playing field, it's who can get out of the gate faster with a platform that is more desirable, more entertaining, more digestible, more efficient.
Those will be the organizations that really survived in the virtual field. Everyone is going to be doing virtual, no doubt about it. Everyone is going to be doing hybrid events, no doubt about it, but how do you make it so that it replicates what your organization culture is, what your organization stands for, how do you make that the same? How do you get those equities on your virtual platform that we get on our live events, and like I said, if you've been to our live event, you know what VMX is, compared to other events that you've been to.
The interaction is much different. It's much more open and free. As you said, it's easier to put something in the chatbox and ask a question than is to raise your hand in the session in front of 300 people, right? So I think it's that freedom that it gives the attendees that ... and then able to check-in and check out like you said. Standing up in the first row in a session room and walking to the back to get out is not comfortable for a lot of people. So having the ability to check-in and check out online, which is going back from session to session is fine. Interacting with speakers more easily than it is when you're standing in front of a room, in front of a microphone, asking a question.
So I think there's definitely a lot of advantages to the virtual arena and as you said, everyone is looking at the best practices, which we really had the benefit of. We waited to put out our first virtual event until the end of last year because we saw it was out there. So why not just pick the best of the best, build on best practices and see what everyone else is doing, and that's kind of what we did.
I'm really interested to know, with your unique approach to having this, I know you have the expo hall that is now year-round, right? A very, very interesting thing. When it comes to the event itself to the live events, and I want to talk a little bit about how your hybrid model is going to work but is everything that's going to be offered online in CE, is that now just on-demand year-round, or what are you going to do to try and consolidate the online interactions to coincide with the events?
Right, so there are options for those that decide to attend virtually for VMX because there will be some live sessions where you'll actually dial into a session delivered at the Orange County Convention Center where the event is held. There's also some semi-live type sessions where they're pre-recorded, but there's question and answers, there's a moderator, there's question and answer at the end live, with the speaker. Then, there'll be on-demand as well. We think the best of the best, the content. We had a virtual event that we rolled out at the end of last year, VMX Rewind, which was the best of the best of prior VMX events. So we recognize the need for individuals to acquire their CE by year-end, right?
So we tied it into a VMX and said, "Okay, we're giving you the opportunity to spend with NAVC, some hours, and getting CE, by looking at some of the best of the best of our sessions. So that was our first interaction and the first way we rolled out our hybrid ... not our hybrid but our virtual event there, and then we went on to do other things like hospital design. We actually have ... At VMX, we normally have a live session on hospital design. DVM is coming in to hear about some of the new techniques, new methodologies, and have a workflow, and new equipment. Well, we actually had one of those virtually as well in December. So, we've gotten our feet wet by holding some of the smaller yet focused events but builds up to how we will roll out our virtual event for VMX.
After you know talking a little bit about the virtual events and the many benefits that those have and of course, everyone is embracing those more and more and more, how would you say to this point that you're seeing engagement in the virtual space compare to what you had seen, pre-COVID in the live events? How is that percentage-wise or how are you feeling the progression is for people moving over. Has everybody moved over and started doing them virtually? Do you expect that to stay?
So, okay, so we say everybody. I focus on how we do and what some of the main competitors are doing out there. There's been a lot of events, live events that have been canceled but they converted to a virtual event. So everyone is in that space. Everyone is transitioning into a virtual space, either as a hybrid model with their live event or in place of the live event, but I think that's temporary. Those that are doing it this year, those that did it last year, I think they're going to always revert back to a live event. I think we will always have a live event because that's what we're built on, but we see that there's a need, again, to go back to giving our community a choice. If you don't want to travel if there are still restrictions in place. You don't feel comfortable.
There's still that virtual piece that you can take advantage of. That piece will stay regardless of whether it was COVID, non-COVID. We look at that as being a strategic piece of our future, building that virtual piece to give our community that choice, but also expanding it to the global community. I traveled around the world for the past two years and in every conversation that I have, when I talk to other associations that we're affiliated with or other organizations, they want to know what NAVC is doing. They want to come to VMX but they can't, either cost-wise or time-wise, they can't. Now, we're giving them the ability or the capability, the opportunity to see what NAVC is really like by attending it virtually.
So for us, that was something that we saw as an opportunity when COVID hit. I didn't look at it as, "We got a stubborn thing —we're doing it." I looked at it as saying, "Okay, we have now this option of expanding our reach. We can offer sessions in different languages. So, we are giving the community that chooses to attend what they want to attend." So, it's not a fad, virtual is not going to be a fad. It's going to stick around. As I said, those that succeed in doing it will find a way to engage their audience, so that there's that loyalty factor. There's that comfort that they know what they're getting when they click on that button to register for an event for that organization. I think personally, I believe that ... as you said, there's a lot of virtual stuff out there.
You don't know what you're getting into until you click on it and you paid for it, or you sat through for it for 15 minutes. You're probably never going to go back to some of them. Some you might, so I think what's going to evolve in this virtual space is almost like a seal of approval. There will be some sort of criteria, whether it's the presentation style, the quality of the video, the quality of the sound, content, time. I think there's going to be some sort of seal of approval that comes up and says, "Hey, this organization has this seal of approval for their online events. Come see them." That's I think, where it's going to be heading because I think a lot of competition out there.
As I said, those who are going to take advantage of it and really succeed in it are going to have the ability to integrate those different entertainment-type characteristics in their offerings. I don't mean entertainment with jugglers and things like that. I mean, just like ... whether it's visually or whether it's intellectually, or it's just going to be something that for us is going to be a priority in how we deliver products virtually.
In terms of the audience attendance though, what are you projecting, predicting? What did you learn over the past year in terms of did it translate fully for the audience that you would have expected at the live events over into the virtual platforms and where do you think that's going to land?
Yeah, so for this event in June, so our VMX event is normally held in January for those that are familiar with it and we were all set to have our event in January. We surveyed the market last summer, last fall and it was evenly split between feeling comfortable to travel and would rather not come. We had the opportunity because there was another large event in June at the Orange County Convention Center that backed out of their event, had the same footprint as ours, so we decided ... we made the decision, maybe it's too early in January. We're going to move to June. We'll see how this plays out. We'll focus on safety. We'll focus on the program. So right now what we're seeing is really a willingness for those that want to travel or coming to Orlando.
So yes, it's going to be somewhat of a diminished crowd, due to travel bans, travel restrictions, a lot of corporate people come to our event, and corporate-wise, they still have their travel bans in place. So they're under those restrictions but we've seen probably about an 80/20 split between those that will be attending live, and the other 20, 25% or so, want to attend virtually. So we're still getting attendees, we're still getting the enthusiasm. It just won't be the shock and awe of a VMX that you may have experienced as we had in 2020, but I figured that's going to come back in 2022. All our indications right now,... especially for our exhibitors, because they always pre-register is it's off the charts. I mean, people want to get back out and want to start networking again. So we're seeing a lot of acceptance, in our sponsors for getting back out there in January.
So in that spirit, we've talked a lot about the online and about virtual and what's going to be available there. I want to do as much as we can to entice people back to life because, again, I want to shake some hands and give some hugs and talk to people face to face. What's your favorite thing, Gene that happens at live events?
So a couple of things. I love the entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I think everybody likes the bands and the comedians and things at our events. So I love going to those but my favorite now in this role is ... I noticed it last year and I tend to do this year, I love to watch what happens at the breaks. So when the convention center is quiet, all the sessions are going on, not a lot of activity. You might have some things on the concourse and things like that but when that break happens, and everybody comes out, I think that's where the real learning happens. You're learning theory in the sessions, but once that break happens and people start congregating in the hallways and start talking to one another and on the exhibit floor, I think that's where the real learning happens with the sharing of best practices and what are you doing in your clinic that I'm not doing in mine and here's what I'm doing.
I think that's where a lot of it really happens. So to see that dynamic, to me is more exciting than when I walk through the exhibit hall and no one is there because they're all in sessions. I know they're all learning but it's that time at the breaks when they all come together and start talking to the exhibitors, start talking to one another and networking, start talking to us at our booth with what our products and services are. That's where the real dynamic happens, that I love to see.
You talked a lot about how the virtual events are going to go and obviously, we're quite familiar with VMX in the past, but I am interested to know how the blending is going to work a little bit more, between the two, when you have the live event coinciding with the online platforms? What is that blending going to feel like to attendees on both sides?
Yeah, for those that attend, live, okay, so it is going to be a hybrid event and I'm sure everybody has heard that term before and knows, basically what it means. You're putting on a live event and supporting it with a virtual component of that. So our virtual or our hybrid event this year, it'll be giving the attendees the option of how they want to participate, right? They can come. Again, going back to choice, we'll give them a choice. Those that feel comfortable coming will come. Those that attend virtually though, will have the opportunity to customize their own schedule, right? They can dial in. They can log into any session they want, live, any session they want, like I said, semi-live, where there's interaction at the end of the sessions with the speakers, Q and A's, and things like that.
Then, there will be a period of time for an on-demand session. So even if you're there on live and you're attending live, you have the ability to sit in a session with 50, 100 people listening to a lecture or taking that, going back to your room and logging in and watching it from your room instead or out by the pool. Florida is known for its sunshine, sit outside by the pool, you can log into an event there. So those on site have that ability as well. Those that are virtual, have the ability to like I said log in at times to get to live sessions. They can customize it, so they watch it late at night when they're ... if you're on the other side of the world, you can watch it late at night or early in the morning, any session that you want.
This will be on for a period of time. They can see the entertainment. We will have entertainment this year. So that experience will give them ... it's not the full experience of being there live. Unfortunately, we can't replicate that virtually but getting the sense of what really happens at VMX and they'll have the ability to look at the virtual exhibit hall as well. The live attendees, obviously, see what's going on in the exhibit hall. Virtually, they'll have almost the same experience with the 3D interactive experience online. So we're doing the best we can to replicate what we do best and that is present in a disciplined, yet entertaining manner to keep the attention and to keep people loyal to NAVC, replicating that on the virtual side so that the next time they want CE, the first place they're going to look is navc.com.
Let me ask you, what do ... obviously, some people, we've got ... there are some people like I talked about like my aunt is going to have some issues, some things that are holding them back from really embracing that full experience again, how will your organization be addressing their concerns? What sort of things might you be doing to encourage these attendees, something special to encourage them to come back?
Okay, so our priority, top priority, first and foremost is everyone's safety. Health and safety. We're not doing this haphazardly. We've come in with a fairly defined plan of how we're going to ensure folks that when they get here ... what to expect from a health and safety standpoint. To be more specific, Orlando is probably the world's top tourist destination. So, what we're doing here in Orlando may not be what you're seeing in San Diego or in Austin, because we, here as a community, rely on the tourist business. So everything that you're doing from the theme parks, the hotels, the government facilities like the Orange County Convention Center, they're really assuring folks that when you come to this facility, expect to be wowed by the level of detail that they're addressing, and they're paying attention to when it comes to how to keep people safe. So when you come into Orlando, you come to our conference, we will be abiding by social distancing, first and foremost, masks will be required when you're in the facility.
Sanitizing stations all over the place. We will have a non-invasive thermal scanning for you to get a wristband, to get into any session. So you must test negative every day when you come to the facility. The one thing about the Orange County Convention Center where the event is being held, is they've had events since last year. They've been holding events. They've had events from other states, where they've canceled some events in Illinois, Chicago, California, actually come to Florida to hold their event live because they know what the procedures are when it comes to assuring attendees that they're going to be safe. So they've received this global accreditation for cleanliness, as did the high at one of our host hotels.
So the strict adherence to all those safety protocols and guidelines, we're going to be enforcing those as well at NAVC. So that's for this year. Now, as you said, you're aunt, she's not going to shake hands anymore. She realizes that that's something that she's not going to do. She's learned, that's going to be a behavior that she'll employ from here on out. Some things will change. I mean, some things will get back to whatever normal is. It's unfortunate to say, but I think the public has a short memory when it comes to things like this. So, we go with the non-handshake to the fist bump, to other forms of greeting. Will you get back to handshakes? Probably at some point. Will you get back to no masks? I'm sure, at some point. Social distancing, I think there's going to be some things that we're going to see through in our events that we probably will still employ just because of either efficiencies or best practices, exhibit hall setup.
So there's not a flood of folks congregating the aisles. I think we'll figure out how to get that, so there's more even flow through the exhibit hall. I think session rooms, rather than cramming them in and packing attendees in. There'll be a more social distancing concept applied there, sanitizing. Hand sanitizers, if you remember, I mean, they were around pre-COVID, they just happen to be more pervasive now, right? I think you'll still see more of that going on. I think you'll also see the ability for speakers to present virtually. So you might be seen in a session room, but the speaker is virtual. So I think that opens up a lot more opportunities for speakers with competing schedules that want to be at your event, but can't be there.
I think these are some of the things that will live on post COVID but just be aware for our attendees, our communications are that, if you're coming to our event this year, live, be prepared. I don't think this industry, the profession is really unaware of the hazards that it provides by not wearing a mask, by not sanitizing, by social distancing. So I don't think it will be as hard to enforce with this group as it might be to some other groups. So, I think we're probably looking at just extending some of those disciplines that we will employ during this period further out.
Any last words that you have for our attendees here today to encourage them? How do they go sign up? What are they looking for? What should they be doing next?
For those of you who are not familiar with NAVC, and I don't think there's anybody out there, but hopefully, if there is, visit NAVC.com and if there was anything I would ask you to do is just look at the opportunities that we provide everyone with our live events, with our virtual events, get familiar with the products, take us for a ride and kick the tires and see what we do because there's a lot in there. A lot of content. I mean, that's what we're noted for is our content and the way it's structured. The way you can get to it is going to be so easy, to customize your own schedule of learning your own opportunities for education. Now, I would probably go on to say that ... the other thing is our publications. They're all free, so subscribe to those publications as well so that's the other thing but check out navc.com.
Look at the events, look at our content for what you need for education and I would guarantee that if we don't have what you're looking for, then you probably don't need it.
I want to encourage everybody, go check out in navc.com, get signed up for the event. We look forward to seeing you in the virtual space, as well as live. Come on by and get a hug. We'll be there and also, I want to remind you, if you're a veterinary practice owner or manager, right now, you have a full-page profile live on geniusvets.com. It's true. You may not have seen it yet, but it's ranking in Google search results and it's giving people a new way to find you.
Go to geniusvets.com/start. You can claim that profile for free, you control all the messaging. It's just one of the many things that we are doing for free for independent veterinary practice owners across the country because we're dedicated to making sure independent veterinary practices continue to thrive. So follow us. Check it out. Come again next week, register for next week's webinar. We have more guests, it would be fantastic.