The 15th annual Pharmaceutical Meeting Professionals Summit, to be held November 6-7, 2019, at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, NJ, will blend innovation with tradition. Attendees can expect unique sessions focused on advancing industry trends and unparalleled opportunities to network with senior-level meeting planners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. Of course there’s also a new location. At the same time, the Summit’s renowned intimate setting remains untouched, giving attendees the ideal environment to engage with key industry leaders.
Kristen Hunter, the Summit’s senior event director, who’s been involved with this event since its inception, recently addressed a few FAQs about the upcoming 2019 gathering.
Q. What makes the Summit different from other conferences?
A. This is not a trade show for 10,000 people who all have different concerns and goals. We’re a smaller, intimate gathering of 200 people, where everyone is involved in some part of meeting planning within the pharma, biotech, and medical device industries. Since we don’t have to be all things to all people, I think that allows us to keep a sharp focus. For example, our expert speakers are industry veterans and thought leaders who work with – and have often developed – the most effective strategies specific to medical meeting operations. This is information a meeting manager and planner can’t get anywhere else.
Q. Why is a smaller, intimate gathering important?
A. Since our first Summit 15 years ago, we’ve always aimed for a high level of interaction between our educators and attendees. The goal is to inspire productive conversations packed with industry knowledge. To accomplish this, we schedule interactive panel discussions, roundtable discussions, and presentations that deliver research-based education. This level of conversation can only work with smaller groups. Attendees return year after year and expect this intimate learning experience.
Q. Who is the ideal Summit attendee?
A. According to last year’s stats, 65 percent of our attendees were meeting planners, including corporate planners directly employed by a pharma, biotech, or medical device company as well as third party planners. And 46 percent of our total audience had more than 15 years of industry experience. So, at our core, I’d say the Summit is designed for the decision-makers – people who determine where meetings should be held, what technology needs to be available, and what structure will accomplish the desired goal. As our event continues to evolve, though, we’ve seen our core expand. More mid-level meeting planners join us today along with hotel personnel and service providers who work with pharma meeting planners.
Q. Industry news and innovations change with every year, but is there a consistent and overarching Summit mission statement?
A. This is a tough, fast-paced, high-stress field. On top of that, the medical and drug industries are even tougher. It all creates an extremely challenging environment. So our overarching mission has always been to give Summit attendees the insight, knowledge, and latest tools to meet these challenges. Our speakers and sessions will evolve every year but that overarching mission stays constant.
Q. What are this year’s must-see sessions?
A. I’m looking forward to this year’s Senior Leaders Panel. The theme is Secrets of Success and the panel will focus on how to create, build, and sustain a career in the medical meeting industry. We have Directors from Merck, Takeda, Genentech, Alkermes and Hyatt on this expert panel. This industry is volatile, with changes happening all the time, so it will be interesting to hear how our speakers built such long and successful careers in such a challenging space.
Another fantastic session will be Managing and Directing People for Event Success. It’s an interactive session that will take a close look at how to manage and direct others even when they don’t report to you.
Q. What’s special about this year’s Summit venue?
A.This is our first time hosting the event in Atlantic City. We’re teaming up with Caesars Entertainment and presenting the Summit at their Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center. They’re providing complementary hotel room accommodations for all pharma and meeting managers, planners, and executors. That makes our event accessible to everyone involved in the decision-making process and will take the Summit to a whole new level. It’s very exciting.