It was THRILLING to host the Boston Area Chapter 25th Anniversary Gala. When we decide to go big, we go BIG! The gussied-up crowd, the glittering venue, fine dining and live music were the appropriate frame to recognize the founders and the positive force the Chapter has become.
The event, sold out several weeks in advance, started with a cocktail reception in the foyer. The full range of experience was represented, from 30 years in ISPE to those in the fold for barely a year. Over the live jazzy music of Stoli, cries of greeting rang out every minute from folks with a lot of catching up to do.
We moved into the ballroom with its waterfront views as the sun was setting. I delivered welcoming remarks during the salad course and recognized the sponsors who in the fiscal sense made this evening possible. It was an impressive display of support: 10 Platinum, 14 Gold, 5 Silver and 4 Bronze, all from organizations that loyally support the Chapter and its missions.
As dinner service drew to a close, a surprise was revealed: a six-minute video featuring Past Presidents skillfully edited on top of the Howl at the Moon band playing the “Boston ISPE Theme Song” recorded at last year’s Product Show After Party. (Use link below for a replay of the video.)
It was then my distinct pleasure to recognize our honored guest (and Chapter member) Mike Arnold, the sitting Chair of ISPE International Board of Directors, and the seven members in attendance who have been involved for 25 years or more – from the Chapter’s beginning: Tom Moss, Pete Solazzo, Randy Cotter, Dick Priester, Edwin Harmon, Jay Whalen, Brian Hagopian, Bob Vecchione and then attendees with 20 or more years of involvement. Commemorative certificates were prepared for each.
The recognitions continued (and continued), proceeding from Past Presidents through current Board members and on to all who have volunteered in one way or another. It took a while but at the end made the point that many hands carried the load of creating and sustaining this fine organization. And then the wind began to blow – which was me saying the innovative and pioneering spirit from the pilgrims and all that have followed were writ large in the genesis and early development of our Chapter and the role of Hank Moes in connecting them to ISPE.
Pioneering is exactly what our keynote, Dr. Christopher Love of the Koch Institute at MIT, has been doing. He filled us in with a very engaging presentation on his InSCyT project – an exciting synergy between continuous bioprocessing, miniaturization and QBD. That description may sound dull so let me try another: a complete biopharmaceutical process in a closed, portable container the size of a coffee table that can begin producing drug substance three days after the process is started. Does Professor Love have your attention now?
Charity is always a part of the Chapter’s social events. Our final speaker, Dr. Ron DeBellis, CTO of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), spoke of the fascinating work they do supporting patients with dozens of disorders that may affect less than 50 or, in some cases, less than 10 people globally. Dr. DeBellis used the story of his daughter to illustrate that the biggest challenge is accurate diagnosis.
The medical establishment teaches toward the center of the bell curve of disease – so finding a doctor with experience in a rare disorder can take agonizing years, even decades. NORD is leveraging the internet and social media to make those connections fast and reduce suffering and the Chapter supported that mission with a donation of $5,000. When thinking about your charitable giving, please consider NORD.
Networking? Check. Education? Check. Charity? Check. One thing left check off: have FUN! We kicked back to the sounds of Stoli (led by former Board member Tom Choyce) and let it all hang out. The evening was an overwhelming success and we have been flooded with positive feedback. Seems like the next Gala will be sooner than 25 years from now!
I take great pride in being associated with this organization and its members, like Dan Kenny, Steve Kennedy, Eric Felz and CAMI who conceived and produced the fabulous Gala! I truly look forward to seeing you soon at another ISPE Boston Area Chapter event!
With Kind Regards,
John Spohn, CPIP
ISPE Boston Area Chapter
Visit https://vimeo.com/215210311 for a replay of the video or see more photos in the slideshow below!