Event Recap: 2019 HMBANA Symposium

Event Recap: 2019 HMBANA Symposium

Wednesday, 4/17/2019

Chicago’s known as the Windy City, and our staff’s experience in the city up north was certainly a whirlwind. In just a day and a half, we collaborated with other milk banks’ staff, took part in professional development and learned so much at the HMBANA Symposium.

Our trip started with a day of travel and team bonding. Fifteen of our 17 staff made the trip, and once everyone arrived in the city, we gathered for dinner and bowling. It was a wonderful opportunity to relax before the symposium kicked off.

Once Friday morning hit, our staff were ready to learn and network. The day began with a welcome by our very own Executive Director Amy Vickers, who is also the Board President of HMBANA. General sessions followed, including an informative presentation on food safety from Amy, our Director of Operations Shaina Starks and staff from Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.

The rest of the day included breakout sessions and mini sessions organized by department and specialty. Donor coordinators learned about connecting with milk donors and specialized outreach, while lab technicians discussed operational techniques and new developments in processing. Friday ended with a tour and reception at Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, which is located in Chicago and serves both Illinois and Wisconsin.

Saturday began with a group picture of all the symposium attendees, including representatives from every HMBANA member milk bank. Everyone wore their own milk bank’s shirts - we loved seeing the creativity and variety of designs.

After a few general sessions, including a touching donor milk recipient story from Jequeatta Upton-Smith, and roundtable discussions, the HMBANA Symposium was complete. Though thunderstorms, snow and flight cancellations disrupted our initial travel plans, we made it back to the Lone Star State and are already looking forward to next year’s HMBANA International Congress, which will take place in Austin.

Thank you to HMBANA and its conference committee for organizing such a wonderful weekend!

Seven women sitting on an airplane
L to R: Courtney, Lindsey, Shaina, Mary Ashley, Ashley, Amy T and Nansy on the way to Chicago.
Sky mural with wooden stars attached to it
The memorial for babies who have passed away at Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes
Fifteen women in matching t shirts
The MMBNT crew in the new staff shirts