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Trailblazers award winners
From left: Melissa Fromento, MeetingsNet; Monica Dickenson, CMP, SMMC, Shire; Michael Mahoney, Genentech; Collaboration Trailblazer Award winner Brian McArdle, Allergan; Passionate Leadership Trailblazer Award winner Donna Grissom, Ashfield Meetings & Events; James Vachon, CMM; Experience Innovation Trailblazer Award winner Robin Macario, Genentech; Melanie Demakis, CBI

Three Life Sciences Professionals Honored as Trailblazers

Pharma Forum 2018 wrapped up by recognizing three standout life sciences meeting professionals.

Pharma Forum 2018  wrapped up Wednesday morning with a jam-packed general session full of inspirational messages, musical highlights, calls to action, and a call-out to three outstanding life sciences meeting professionals. The recipients of the inaugural Pharma Forum Trailblazers Awards were recognized for the innovation, collaboration, and passion they bring to their work.

Experience Innovation Trailblazer Award
The first award went to Robin Macario, senior manager, meetings and convention services, Genentech, for her passion for ensuring a positive attendee experience. The Experience Innovation Trailblazer Award, presented by Pharma Forum’s Day 1 Chair Monica Dickenson, CMP, SMMC, head of global meetings and events, global meeting and event services, Shire, highlighted Macario’s experience bringing a group to Las Vegas immediately following the October 2017 mass shooting. Her group was booked at the Mandalay Bay, from which the shooter targeted concert-goers below. To allay her attendees’ fears, Macario provided key messages in advance to highlight safety planning, including instituting additional onsite security measures. In lieu of attendee gifts, a donation was made to local funds that supported the victims‘ families.

Collaboration Trailblazer Award
Next to be honored was Brian McArdle, who received the Collaboration Trailblazer Award for his ongoing work as an educator, advocate, and leader in the industry. The senior manager, global procurement, meetings/conference sourcing at Allergan, was honored as someone who could “see both sides.” Day 2 Chair Michael Mahoney said, “What sets him apart is his dedication to the industry and understanding of each side of the business. He continually educates his team, sourcing teams, and others about what is needed to build and maintain win-win relationships.” 

Passionate Leadership Trailblazer Award
The final award went to Donna Grissom, account manager, Ashfield Meetings & Events, who was nominated with the highest compliment: “She leads her team by example and with pure passion.” Day 3 Chairman James Vachon, CMM, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, presented her with the award, saying, “She is also known for setting high standards for herself and her team. She focuses on understanding the ‘why’ behind what they are asked to do.”

Pharma Forum, co-organized by MeetingsNet and CBI, drew more than 700 participants to the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown March 26–28. Next year’s event will be held in March at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.


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