Connexity in the (beach) house!


Even though Connexity’s going virtual this year, Alice Malone and her management team plan to be there together.

“We [originally] planned to come to Denver as a team,” Malone, practice manager at AAHA-accredited North Florida Animal Hospital in Tallahassee, Florida, told NEWStat. That road trip was going to include a much-anticipated group hike in the Rocky Mountains the day before Connexity kicked off, but those plans were made before the pandemic sent veterinary conferences—including AAHA’s—online. But even before AAHA officially announced that Connexity was going virtual this year, Malone figured that a hike in the mountains wasn’t likely to happen.

So Malone decided to substitute a walk on the beach, instead: she plans to rent a house on the water during Connexity and turn what was originally going to be a road trip into a retreat.

“I knew my team was looking forward to doing something together,” she says. She’d been wanting to treat her team to some time away and attending Connexity in person was going to serve that function originally. So she came up with the idea of renting a place where she and her managers could gather and attend Connexity as a team by day, and take some much-needed time to unwind at night.

Now they’re just trying to work out which beach.

Malone says a lake house in the mountains of northern Georgia is one option, but that’s still a four or five hour trip by car. “So we might just head to the [Florida] coast!” she says, and adds that it’s been a difficult decision, which seems fitting given the kind of year it’s been so far. “Everything’s been difficult!” she laughs. In addition to the pandemic, her hospital’s computer system crashed for a couple of months early in the year.

She says she’s really been looking forward to Connexity

“That’s my conference,” she says. Some of her staff go to Orlando for VMX, “but that one’s just too big for me.” Malone really likes the intimacy of Connexity compared to the larger conferences and cites last year’s conference in Indianapolis by way of example. “That was a great one.”

That intimacy will be a welcome change of pace from her daily routine. North Florida Animal Hospital is a big hospital: a 9-doctor practice with a staff of 55. And they’re busy enough that they’re looking to hire two more doctors.

“So you can understand why I have a management team,” she laughs.  

Connexity 2020 takes place online September 30 through October 3. Register now.

Photo credit: © iStock/humanmade