Joan Oefner, Founder, Association Manager

Joan founded her association management company in San Francisco in 1993 to support international scientific and medical societies. After moving to Germany in 2005, she took some time off to learn German and focus on helping her twins negotiate the German school system. During this time, Ms. Oefner began working with WordPress to design responsive websites, which turned out to be a game changer for her Virtual Office management model. Using her deep understanding of how scientific societies achieve their goals, she brought all that experience into her website designs to expedite program development, send targeted email blasts, streamline social networking updates and coordinate online abstract management and registration as well as increase industry partner engagement.

Returning to full service Association Management at the end of 2016, Joan is now Managing Director of the International Cytokine & Interferon Society and the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology.

Joan Oefner was honored with the 2020 ICIS Distinguished Service Award in recognition for her extraordinary contributions and service to the ICIS and to the cytokine research community at large. 

Joan received her Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, in 1982 from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  She obtained the CAE (certified association executive) designation in November 1998 from the American Society of Association Executives

CURRENT Managing Director clients:
Managing Director

Since December 2016 – International Cytokine & Interferon Society (formerly ISICR and ICS), Joan, and her Virtual Office, replaced the staff at the FASEB campus in Bethesda, MD which had managed the ISICR and then the merged society since 1996. With 1,120 international members across different research disciplines, ICIS is the premier organization promoting the field of cytokine biology, impacting all aspects of medicine and leading to new treatments in autoimmune diseases, cancer, infectious diseases and inflammation. Please visit the society’s websites designed and managed by Rhema Association Management:

Managing Director

Since December 2017 – International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP), Joan’ Virtual Office took over the management and Annual Meeting organization. Please visit the website we designed for more information: The first order of business was to set up a fully integrated, responsive online association management system using for membership, meeting registration, abstract submission, and awards applications. We are using for the Hybrid Virtual Meeting Platform. The International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP) is an international non-profit organization which encourages research on the development of behavior in all organisms including man, with special attention to the effects of biological factors operating at any level of organization. The society holds annual meetings to facilitate communication of research results and theory in the area of Developmental Psychobiology. The ISDP strongly supports and encourages young scientists with travel awards, networking and meeting events designed specifically for the students.



Networking Lounge trying to bring the in-person and virtual participants together (not so easy….)