Mixers are the best opportunity you’ll have at the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo to network, meet and greet new and old colleagues from across the globe, relax, enjoy, and talk to your laboratory medicine heroes in an informal environment—that’s according to AACC members who spoke with CLN Stat.

“First, it’s a great opportunity to see and catch up with colleagues and friends that you may not have seen since the previous annual meeting,” said Tiffany K. Roberts, PhD, DABCC, DABHI, director of ImmucorDx Laboratory in Norcross, Georgia. “Second, it’s a great chance to network and meet new people.”

Laura Parnas, PhD, DABCC, director of clinical chemistry at Sutter Health Shared Laboratory in Livermore, California, has four mixers on her itinerary. “The mixers are one of my favorite parts of attending the annual meeting,” she said. “Not only do I get to connect with friends and colleagues who I only see once a year, but I also learn about best practices, get introduced to new colleagues, and have even started long-term professional relationships and collaboration projects as a result of the informal yet productive environment at mixers.”

Both women are planning to attend the Society of Young Clinical Laboratorians (SYCL) mixer on July 30. “I especially like the SYCL mixer,” Roberts said. “I enjoy meeting the new fellows and ‘catching’ their enthusiasm, which is contagious, as well as getting the chance to network and mingle with some of the more established members that I admire and can learn so much from.”

No matter which mixers you choose, the AACC Community Opening Mixer on Sunday, July 31, from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. and supported by Sekisui, is a must. It brings together our community of laboratory medicine professionals for a fun and interactive evening of entertainment, networking, beer, wine, and light hors d‘oeuvres. This year’s Opening Mixer, which starts immediately after the opening plenary session, also features a mind-reading performance and a scavenger hunt designed to boost your connections quotient, with some catchy prizes to boot. 

“The opening mixer is a great way to kick off the meeting,” said Roberts. “I love the energy and the chance to be around so many friends and colleagues.”

Danyel Tacker, PhD, DABCC, FACB, an assistant professor at West Virginia University, said the opening mixer is where she meets the most new people. In addition to that mixer, she plans to attend the American Board of Clinical Chemistry-SYCL mixer on Monday to support those in training or who are new (or newer) to AACC. “It serves as a nice end to the student abstract and poster contests earlier in the day, with awards and usually some trivia or other activities,” she said.

The opening session is available to all with a full conference registration, a Sunday daily registration, or a guest registration. Some other mixers require advance registration or membership in the sponsoring division. 

If you do plan to attend, Parnas has one piece of advice: “Time flies when you attend these mixers. Make sure you get to meet and interact with as many colleagues as you can and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.”

Oh, and don’t forget to load up on business cards.

Society of Young Clinical Laboratorians Mixer - Saturday, July 30, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

This year’s mixer has an Academy Awards theme. Participants can pose for the paparazzi on the red carpet and mingle with some celebrities (or their likenesses), fellow directors, the AACC executive council and past presidents as well as representatives from event sponsors. There will also be a raffle drawing for prizes, including art donated by well-known clinical chemists and a FitBit. All proceeds will be applied toward SYCL travel grants.

Pediatric and Maternal-Fetal, Industry, Informatics, Clinical Translational Science, and Industry Division’s Joint Mixer - Sunday, July 31, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

Endocrinology Division Luncheon and Mixer - Monday, August 1, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

Joint American Board of Clinical Chemistry-SYCL Reception - Monday, August 1, 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

AACC Emerging Countries Program-Global Lab Quality Initiative Mixer - Monday, August 1, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

Clinical Diagnostic & Immunology Division Business Meeting and Mixer - Tuesday, August 2, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

Critical and Point-of-Care Division Membership Meeting and Mixer - Tuesday, August 2, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott Downtown