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Want Cutting-Edge Content? Consider a Meeting-Strategy Expert

How the American Society for Microbiology develops educational content across its portfolio of meetings.

The pace of new developments and research in science, tech, and medical fields continues to accelerate, stepping up pressure for meetings to deliver the kind of vanguard content that gives thought-leadership positioning to the event and thus drives participation by members, exhibitors, and sponsors.

To help meet this challenge, Kirsten Olean, director of meetings for the American Society for Microbiology, launched the Meetings Strategy Committee as an additional way to scan the environment for potential new content for ASM’s portfolio of meetings, including ASM Microbe, the society’s annual convention. ASM Microbe 2018 presented over 500 educational sessions and drew nearly 8,000 attendees.

The Meetings Strategy Committee, which meets twice a year, brings together member volunteers who have a bigger- picture view of the field. It also features a meeting strategy expert, Kelly Peacy, CAE, CMP, who was vice president of meetings and events for the Professional Convention Management Association before launching her own consultancy in 2016, Insight Event Strategy LLC. The committee has strategic oversight of the entire portfolio of ASM meetings.

“What’s unique about the Meetings Strategy Committee is having a meeting-strategy expert,” Olean says. “That’s a person outside the field who can listen for ideas bubbling up from various sectors of the profession, and who can envision how some of those might translate into new meeting content, or perhaps even a new conference.” 


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