Karen Litzy is a physical therapist in New York. She has her own practice offering one to one sessions at a persons home, gym or place of work. Karen also runs the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart podcast and last week ran the first ever physical therapy virtual conference.
You’re a physical therapist in New York, tell us a bit about the work you do?
I am a full time home health physical therapist in New York City. I see patients in either their homes or offices. I have been in the home health arena for about 7 years now but just transitioned to full time this past summer. I love the flexibility of making my own schedule and having a full hour to treat my patients is priceless.
What inspired you to put together the Healthy Wealthy and Smart virtual conference?
I always felt that I was so lucky to attend national conferences and weekend seminars, learning from some of the best educators in the physical therapy industry. Then I realised there are so many people out there who may not have the opportunity or the means to learn directly from these top experts. I had seen the virtual conference model in other industries and thought it would be a great way to get up to date information to a wide audience. I also decided to include some professionals outside of the physical therapy world. The addition of nutrition, mindfulness, life coaching and business experts really adds to the conference and helps physical therapists move beyond clinical skills to take their career to the next level.
It is a very innovative idea, was this the first ever virtual physical therapy conference?
I have seen this type of format used in other professions. But as far as I know it is the first of its kind in the physical therapy world. When I was thinking about it last year, my vision for the conference was for it to be like a mini “TED” event for physical therapists.
Tell us a bit about the conference?
At this point I have over 1200 people signed up, representing 6 continents across the globe (no one from Antarctica yet!). The technology is playing well so far, only minor issues that we were able to clear up quickly. Just so everyone knows I did not do this alone. I have a stellar team that includes a graphic designer, project manager, virtual assistant, web master, and transcriptionist. This was definitely a team effort and I have a great team behind me!
I hand picked each speaker because I respect what they do and I knew they had so much to offer to the physical therapy community. I truly thought they were all interesting and I learned so much from each presenter. It was an honour to have this line up of speakers for the conference. Especially the first time around!
What were the challenges you faced in running this conference?
Because I have had the Healthy Wealthy & Smart podcast for the past few years, I have gotten very used to the interview process. From the beginning stages of planning the conference I always knew that the interviews would be the easy part…and they were. I guess the most challenging part was actually seeing myself in the videos! I am not used to being in front of a camera (that is the beauty of radio) so that took some getting used to. That being said I think the video aspect is such an important part of the conference and I would not have it any other way.
Can we expect another Health, Wealthy and Smart conference next year?
Absolutely! I am going to take what I learned this year, along with suggestions from the viewers, to improve the conference for next year.