This year’s ISPE Annual Meeting in San Diego featured some exciting “Wow-they-really-did-that!” educational sessions, inspiring keynote speeches, and awards for the best and brightest, as well as meetings to advance the Society’s governance. Not to mention a healthy dose of great fun! About 85 Boston Area Chapter members traveled west for the four-day meeting in this city known for its thriving biotech industry, Navy base and cultural heritage from the earliest Spanish settlers.
Four keynote speakers provided perspectives that s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d our minds. For instance, Roger Connor of GSK told us how to take inspiration from outside pharma to transform our approach to manufacturing. Another spoke of big data’s contribution to our part of the healthcare economy; and another told the history of hemophilia and the amazing therapeutic advances up to the present, including some unintended consequences along the way – very enlightening.
I was particularly impressed by Pam Cheng, Executive VP of Global Ops and IT for AstraZeneca, who exhorted listeners to not only acquire expertise in their area of operations but to acquire “upstream” knowledge in the R&D realm as well as “downstream” understanding in the commercial realm. Breaking silos that otherwise prevent companies from achieving their potential is the key to an enterprise’s long-term health as well as the satisfaction of its entire staff.
John Spohn, the Boston Area Chapter’s Immediate Past President, and I met with our counterparts from around the world to discuss ideas for the benefit of our members and the health of our Chapters. We discussed best practices to convey the great value of membership, advance our mission of education, and to collaborate within the Society. Like many of my peers around the table, I continue to believe that the greatest value of ISPE membership comes with contributing one’s special aptitudes and skills as a volunteer.
Networking face-to-face is a key part of being an ISPE member. The Annual Meeting provides phenomenal opportunities to share ideas and information and celebrate our commonality with like-minded people from around the world. We come away from the “A.M.” as smarter professionals and better managers, feeling energized and empowered; ready to tackle the challenges that face us in pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.
I hope you get to attend next year’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, November 4-7, 2018. Mark your calendars – it will be another phenomenal experience!
And, in closing, let me take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy a rest from the daily routine and experience many joys in the company of your loved ones.