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NatCon17: Building the Journey

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NatCon17: Building the Journey "May 16, 2017

PCI joins forces with the National Council for Behavioral Health

It’s not just the destination, it’s the journey. We took this mantra to heart during PCI’s premier partnership with the National Council for Behavioral Health’s annual meeting, NatCon17. The event took place on April 3-5, 2017 in Seattle.

The National Council is the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Its members work tirelessly on behalf of 10 million adults, children, and families living with mental illness and addiction. Their work is grueling, emotional, and complex. To them, NatCon is an opportunity to come together as an industry to learn and share ideas, stories, and insights with people who share their passion. For the National Council, the annual gathering represents a chance to celebrate the compassionate and dedicated men and women who rarely receive the attention, much less the accolades. PCI joined forces with the National Council team to elevate these members.

It’s not just the destination, it's the journey. #NatCon17 Click To Tweet

Our collaboration with the National Council began by transforming this year’s theme — The Intersection of Innovation and Action — into a journey. We wanted attendees to feel progress throughout the conference and through each general session.

The original theme spawned sub-themes that served as milestones along the journey as attendees learned to navigate behavioral health’s complicated landscape. The opening session, The Intersection of Then and Now, focused on progress from the archaic assumptions about mental health to today’s understanding. An opening video featuring behavioral health practitioners and clients set the tone and then gave way to a state-of-the-union hip hop performance inspired by the musical “Hamilton.” National Council CEO Linda Rosenberg followed with her plenary address, which segued to in-the-moment insights from America’s Historian-in-Chief Doris Kearns Goodwin. The audience had begun their journey and were primed for what was to follow.

Subsequent sessions met at the Intersections of Clinical and Possible (Technology) featuring a looping artist; Money and Mission (Finance) featuring a live parody band; and NatCon and Your World (Closing Session), bringing all entertainment elements together for the culmination of the three-day journey.

The audience had begun their journey and were primed for what was to follow. #NatCon17 Click To Tweet

The Awards of Excellence Dinner provided a prime opportunity to achieve our mission by properly feting attendees while recognizing their deeply personal and impactful achievements. We reimagined the awards dinner as an Oscar-style celebration, replete with a Broadway-performer as host and an original opening number, “All You Deserve.”

The stage set for general sessions embodied the theme, using a custom-fabricated LED “X” to create a literal intersection from stage deck to backdrop. The thrusted runways brought speakers in closer proximity to the audience, allowing them greater intimacy despite the size of the  4,500-person audience.

Our inaugural collaboration with the National Council provided a memorable journey for their audience and for our team. Thanks to Jeannie Campbell, Alicia Aebersold, Heather Cobb, and Jamie Sperte for their insights and, of course, trust. Kudos to the PCI team: Scott Babcock, whose stage design, show calling, and technical prowess helped create an immersive experience for NatCon17 attendees; Bob Sprague for writing the parody song lyrics; Mike Kim and Austin Smokowicz for video production; Ugur Ozkardesler for bringing the set to life through animation; Clark Fairfield for inspiring the journey; Amy Ballard for her debut as stage manager; and Max Entman for keeping the overall journey on track. And, of course, a loud shout out to Linda Rosenberg for her deftly performed rap!

Check out what participants had to say in the #NatCon17 Twitter feed below and stay tuned for details on our next journey through NatCon18 in Washington DC!

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