It was a typical Halloween Eve evening, weather-wise in Raleigh, North Carolina. It should come as no shock to anyone that it was also October 30. I’d rather hastily organized the 10/30 FOCM event just the day before as Brian Langin was coming to town. Brian has the distinction of receiving the first FOCM card ever handed out. So clearly, he was worthy of me getting people together.
Brian was first to arrive, followed by me and then surprise, surprise, surprise, Paula Brown Stafford joined us. Paula and I have known each other for 22 years when I first started in the clinical research industry working at Quintiles together. She has said to keep her on the FOCM event distribution lists as someday she just might surprise me and show up.
In what can only be described as one of the happiest moments of her life, Paula received her FOCM card.
It was a fun evening. Others in attendance: Rob Sucharski, Duncan Shaw, Peter Payne, Lauren Sherwood, Heather Malinowski*, Steve Young, Peter Weiman*.
It was a bitterly cold and snowy night that caused all but the bravest souls to stay in their warm homes. Only a select few dared to venture out into the third major winter storm in March.
FOCM members are nothing if not brave, courageous, oh and, thirsty, let’s not forget that. So there we were on March 12, had previously arranged to have this event at a location which will now remain nameless since they closed and didn’t let me know. A quick decision was needed and made. With no time to spare a note was sent out stating we would meet at Mez.
First to arrive at the closed meeting site was Pippa Wilson of Barrington James, second to arrive was Kathleen Finn of Barrington James, third to arrive was Bernie Linner with West Coast Clinical Trials. We then headed to Mez where we met up with the intrepid (yes, I used dictionary.com) FOCM members (Drew Harrison, Steve Caravaglio, Derrick Ferrar, Carol Miller (photo taker), Chad Pollio, Brooks Satterfield and Kasey Karr (not pictured; arrived late, but made up for it by staying late). FOCM NEVER cancels its events due to weather! (of course, FOCM reserves the right to change its rules at any time.)
Here’s an interesting item about FOCM that I just realized comes from my having grown up in a small town in Arizona – if there’s a party in town – join it! You may call it crashing it, but in Yuma, AZ, if there was a wedding reception in town, regardless if you were invited, you went to it. So in that vein, when I organize Wilmington Pharma/Bio/CRO Networking Events in Wilmington, NC, it’s an open call for all FOCM members. While in this case they do belong to the Pharma/Bio/CRO industry, they do also belong to FOCM.
Crazy, I know, but rather than go back to 2016 and find pictures from a networking back then (which I commit to still doing to get caught up), I decided to go with a more recent event.
On July 27, while in Boston for the 2nd Ophthalmology Drug Development Summit sponsored by Hanson-Wade, a FOCM event was held at the Back Deck, 2 West St., Boston, MA. This group (pictured) is quite unique in the origin of the connections it represents. It represents quite a timeline of my life and career. Attending were:
Christie Schmitt Coombs – we know each other from our home town of Yuma, AZ; having gone to high school together. Her sister Carolyn and I graduated the same year. I worked with her sister Linda at a summer camp during college.
John Ketchum – we worked together at Burroughs Wellcome (my first job out of college) and stayed in touch while he traveled the world for Novartis, from which he recently retired.
Brian Langin – we worked together at Quintiles (my job after Burroughs Wellcome) and again at YPrime (where I worked prior to current job).
Amy Zastawney – we worked together at ICON (after a short stop elsewhere, my job after Quintiles).
The FOCM meeting record does recognize that Cory Winters, with Bio-Telemetry Research also attended, but he had to depart early and that was before I thought to take a picture. FOCM member Vicky Martin brought Cory into the network. Time will tell if she is to be thanked, we’re just waiting on Cory’s background check to come through.
Also I’d like to point out that our bartender was Denver Lincoln and he took our photo, so I took his so he can get credit for it and to give him some promotion as he works two jobs while working on his stand-up comedy. When he gets famous, you can go through me to get his autograph and to book him for events.
So on February 9, I was in the San Francisco area for an Arena International Outsourcing in Clinical Trials conference and knowing that others I would know would be in town for that, I put together an event. I got in touch with Sue Simpson, friend for 20 years and proprietor of TasteVin Wine Bar and Bistro, located in San Carlos, CA to schedule the event there. Then, thanks to Facebook, I saw that the one and only Bob Bildner was also going to be in San Francisco and lawd, lawd, lawd, we had us a time.
Present for the event and receiving major attendance reward points for gift items in the FOCM gift catalog (future possibility) were:
Dave Gibboni, Paul Oldfield, Beth Johnson, me, Sue Simpson, Julie Hammack, Brian Langin, Bob Bildner, Claudia Kunzler, Pippa Wilson and Breyona Fenner. Bob received his FOCM membership card and I don’t know about you, but to me, it looks like one of the happiest moments of his life.
Please note: any card carrying FOCM member receives a 10% discount when dining at TasteVin. Membership does have its privileges.