November 17 Networking Event Summary

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy about networking is meeting such interesting, fascinating people with different perspectives. This helps us understand and appreciate those differences and helps us re-consider our approach to certain things.

On November 17, the Global Life Sciences Alliance along with FOCM Networking held its monthly online drug and medical device development industry networking event.

Whereas last month we had a featured speaker – Heather Hollick on LinkedIn best practices; this time we just had general discussion and greeting of one another. While there were still a manageable number, I introduced each person and how I know them. There was also discussion and general agreement that when Merck and Pfizer get their oral dose antiviral medicines approved (whether emergency authorization or full approval); the COVID-19 pandemic will become very manageable and the world can return to our new normal; forever impacted but less restricted. (added since the 11/17 meeting – the identification of the Omicron variant may put a slow down on the return; however, early information indicates that while it’s easily transmissible, the symptoms are different and mild, such that as of Nov 30 in South Africa hospital where the doctor found the Omicron variant, no hospitalizations are attributed to it. And now just today, an FDA Advisory panel recommended approval for Merck’s anti-viral pill to treat COVID-19 and reduce hospitalizations.)

We then moved to the evening’s agenda. We had three rooms for people to go to depending on their interests.  The three discussion topics were:

  • Clinical Trial Recruitment and Retention
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Networking

Heather Hollick chaired the Networking room. One discussion centered around how sales/business development people use it and consultant/subject matter experts use it to best fill their connection needs. Interestingly, several participants shared that they control their LinkedIn outreach and purposefully limit their contacts to a more easily managed subset (~1000) to maximize the depth of relationships. Several other participants use a more liberal approach and have grown their networks to over 10,000 contacts who then serve as “private wikis” allowing rapid access to large groups of professionals with multi-various experiences.

Please join us next month on December 15 and if you have a Christmas sweater – wear it!

ATTENDEES (bolded names were first time attendees, I think):

Heather Hollick, Rizers, LLC; Author of “Helpful, A guide to life, careers and the art of networking”
Mike Burrows, Burrows Life Science Associates, LLC
Lacey Clements, IMA Clinical Research
Kevin Boos, Rho
Valerie Roussin-Paradis, SkillPad
Edwin Gershom, Noble Life Sciences
Wessam Sonbol, Delve Health
Michael W. Young, biomedwoRx: Life Sciences Consulting
Nicole Yoon, Mediaiplus
Ires Alliston, Business Coach, Consulting & Marketing
Lindsey Summers, Green Key Resources
Chris Matheus, Global Life Sciences Alliance & FOCM
Denise McNerney, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Joe Buser, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Brandon Huffman, Global Life Sciences Allianc
Holly Cliffe, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Zulma Varela, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Sally Haller, Global Life Sciences Alliance

November 17 2021 Networking Event
November Event Flyer

Observations on a Virtual Conference in 2020

2020, the year of the COVID-19/Protests/Riots/Presidential Election and the year the clinical research industry’s annual convention went virtual.

The noteworthiness of this made me think to jot down my observations.

I have been attending DIA since 1997. That year it was held in Montreal. Last year was in San Diego, which is probably the best place to have it in terms of weather.  The conference is always in the 3rd or 4th week of June.  The heat and humidity in Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston has often been close to unbearable.

The biggest differences for me were:

  • I didn’t get to co-host the FOCM Networking event with my friends from Zymewire
  • I missed seeing everyone! Not seeing friends in person (this event is very much an industry reunion) and not getting to socialize with them makes it more difficult to maintain relationships
  • Seeing so few friends in the virtual exhibit hall (Thanks Adriana Grado, Cory Winters and Amy Zastawney for taking time to meet with me). Every year I make a point to walk the entire exhibit hall to make sure I see and catch up with as many people as I can and to see what new and innovative products and services are available
  • I didn’t stay out too late (there was no virtual Transperfect party or vendor parties of any kind)
  • I didn’t drink too much.
  • I didn’t have a Fireball shot at the Barrington James exhibit.
  • I didn’t welcome any new FOCM members and hold any card ceremonies (I’ll have to re-write the card ceremony SOPs – the handshake may have to be eliminated)
  • Here it is the last day and I’m not exhausted.

As I have often told people younger and/or with less conference experience than me, at DIA – you will stay out too late and drink too much.  I point out that you HAVE to do this (it might even be in the SOP binder), because if you don’t, it wouldn’t be the tradition that it is.

A couple months ago I held a virtual FOCM Networking event with about 10 industry friends. I asked them if DIA were to be held in person, who would travel to DC for it.  The answer was no one.  Comments made were: it’s too risky, I don’t want to get on a plane, stay in a hotel, take a cab or Uber and go to a conference with 5000+ people. 

We in this industry are proud of the role we’re playing and demonstrating to the world the value, the need and the method for discovering treatments for COVID-19. The need to utilize recent innovations in big data, AI, high throughput screening, lighten cumbersome regulatory hurdles will serve the world well for developing new treatments for all diseases.