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Adventures in Advocacy: From Down Under to the USA!

Updated: Oct 18, 2023


"Now more than ever, social media shapes how people make healthcare decisions, and online health advocates are at the forefront of this movement. To connect, support and further empower the online health advocate community, Johnson & Johnson is proud to present HealtheVoices – a groundbreaking leadership conference program created exclusively for those using social platforms to advocate for patients."

Now, to my post...

“Jet Lag”? More like “Jet Set…GO!” 🚀 Hey there, my fellow world-changer! Cal here, and jeepers, do I have a tale for you? Picture this: a quirky Aussie, a long-haul flight, and a landing that promises more adventure than a Hollywood blockbuster. That’s right – I’m back in the land of Aus, fresh off a whirlwind trip from Melbourne, Australia, to Princeton, New Jersey, USA, all thanks to the fabulous folks at Johnson & Johnson and Janssen!

Touchdown in the Land of Dreams: iPads and All! 📱

Okay, let’s set the scene. I step off the plane, and I’m immediately greeted by a big bloke in black holding an iPad bearing my name. Cue the Hollywood vibes! But wait, the adventure’s just beginning. One of my best mates, Gareth (utilising 'mates' to really go with the Aussie theme), who recently graced the Broadway stage, swung by New Jersey for a catch-up before the whirlwind kicked off.

Networking Ninjas and Inclusion Insiders! 🤝

The HealtheVoices conference didn't waste a second. Safety talks, inclusion insights, and more networking than you could ask for! Although I was initially very nervous about the physical impact of the flight and my experience of vestibular dysfunction, diplopia (double vision) and other invisible disabilities I experience, I was comforted by being surrounded by 100 of the worlds most empowering advocates. These leaders were incredible advocates living with things like lupus, arthritis, psoriasis, HIV and more. I was also amongst superstar survivors of brain injuries, strokes, cancer, cardiac arrest, and empowering advocates living with schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD and other mental health conditions.

Under the Southern Cross: The Aussie Perspective! 🇦🇺

Guess who represented the land Down Under? That’s right, yours truly! We swapped stories, dreams, and the incredible work we're driving forward. And let me tell you, the energy was contagious!

Major Takeaways: More Than Just Mementos! 🎓

Now, for the juicy bits - the significant learnings! Brace yourselves for the gems I brought back:

  • New Connections: Meeting these phenomenal advocates felt like reuniting with old mates. We bonded over our shared mission to make a difference, no matter where we hailed from.

  • New Advocacy Strategies: The strategies discussed were like nothing I’d encountered before. Fresh perspectives, bold ideas, and a renewed sense of purpose.

  • New Technology: The conference was a hotbed of innovation. I got the inside scoop on cutting-edge tech that’s revolutionising advocacy.

  • New Skill-Building Programs: From workshops to hands-on sessions, I dove into skill-building programs that have supercharged my advocacy toolkit.

  • Get ready, Genyus Network, because all these insights are going to help us build a better, brighter world for our entire global community!

A Shoutout to HealtheVoices: Advocacy's Unsung Heroes! 🌟

Before I sign off, a massive shoutout to the HealtheVoices team at J&J. Their hospitality, warmth, and unwavering support made this journey memorable and truly transformative. Thank you for paving the way for advocates like me to spread our wings and make a difference. You folks are the real MVPs!

Home, Sweet Takeaways! 🌟🏡

Leaving HealtheVoices, I felt like a sponge soaked with inspiration. New connections, tech breakthroughs, skill-building insights, and advocacy strategies are the souvenirs that’ll light my path moving forward.

So, here's to HealtheVoices and the whole team, new adventures, and to sharing stories that light up the world. Remember, every journey, no matter how quirky or unexpected, leads to a brighter, more connected future.

Cheers, and here’s to health! Cal 🤓

N.B: “Janssen Global Services paid for my travel expenses for the conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.”

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