Dear Alexander Graham Bell Community,
In today's column, I'd like to mention the exceptional presentations from this year's symposium. I want to thank everyone who diligently put together each presentation, as well as the hard work and dedication they put into providing attendees with the most up-to-date, informative and engaging content and information in the field of Listening and Spoken Language. Each presentation contributed to making the symposium a success. 
This year, the Symposium Advisory Committee selected Dr. Roberta Golinkoff as keynote speaker. They chose her because of the breadth of knowledge she brings to the field of Listening and Spoken Language. I am delighted by the kind words and positive feedback we received from those who attended Dr. Golinkoff's presentation, "From Coo to Code: What's New in Language Development."  In it, she covered the latest and greatest in language development. Some of the topics she covered were the significance of vocalizations in babies, what babies know about language and when they learn it, and how they apply meaning to sounds, among other key areas. Thank you, Dr. Golinkoff, for putting together such an inspiring and informative presentation for us all! 
Roberta Golinkoff, 2017 Symposium Keynote Speaker
I would also like to thank the Oberkotter Foundation and Hearing First for their Extended Learning presentation, where Dr. Golinkoff shared her thoughts on Listening and Spoken Language, and attendees learned how to best share and learn among their professional communities. I was glad to see the many faces in attendance!
Of course I would be remiss if I didn't thank our 2017 Symposium Advisory Committee for putting together such an outstanding event. I want to extend a special thanks to our committee chair, Dr. Uma Soman, who demonstrated her talent and wealth of knowledge as a planner and presenter and also came up with the idea for us to provide attendees with an interactive opening session. To prepare for the Saturday General Session, Drs. Uma Soman and Mary Ellen Nevins, Dr. Joni Alberg, Gayla Guignard and I participated in a series of conference calls where we discussed important issues currently happening in the field of Listening and Spoken Language.
Uma Soman thanks members of the 2017 Symposium Advisory Committee: Ellen Rhoades, Elizabeth Rosenzweig, Andrea Vargas, and Mary Ellen Nevins.
After many conversations, we developed this year's topics, which were hope, information, knowledge and community:
  • Hope about the future of Listening and Spoken Language
  • Information on the latest advancements in hearing technology
  • Knowledge about advocating for children and families and changing the world for the good of all, and
  • Community for all those who desire to be a part of AG Bell's work and impact, and the future of Listening and Spoken Language
Dr. Joni Alberg detailed the role advocacy plays in AG Bell's work and also covered how each of us can be advocates when advancing Listening and Spoken Language. For our professional community, Drs. Soman and Nevins asked the crowd what it means for them to be proud, prepared professionals - which focuses on working together to advocate for Listening and Spoken Language and taking pride in the work you do each day.
Right: Joni Alberg; Left: Uma Soman and Mary Ellen Nevins.
I would also like to thank those who presented - Valeri LeBeau from Advanced Bionics, Judy Horvath from MED-EL Corporation and Stephanie Loccisano from the Starkey Corporation.
Each of them provided updates on their company's work and advancements in products and services in our field.  
Lastly, please take a moment to fill out this  short survey so that we can design future AG Bell events and provide the most value for attendees. 
Once again, I thank all the esteemed guest speakers and committee members who presented at this year's symposium for making it such a great success, and I look forward to bringing you the final edition of this series next week.
Until next week,
Emilio EAM signature blue transparent 
Emilio Alonso-Mendoza
Chief Executive Officer
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

Oliver Wendell Holmes