My Story

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As the founder and main worker bee at Rhema Association Management, I have always had to push the boundaries of information technology to do more with less. Having started in the business during a time when abstract submissions had to be typed into a box on an official form and mailed to the society office with 15 copies for the abstract reviewers, I’ve welcomed each new technology advancement. Do I miss sorting through abstracts, copying and stapling thousands of pages together, being on a first name basis with the Fed Ex guy and licking envelopes? Back in the early 90’s it took a team of four full time worker bees to manage all the details of a handful of growing international societies, their annual meetings, journal subscriptions, membership applications and dues renewals. With today’s advances in information technology all that and more can be efficiently & effectively handled through a well featured Virtual Office and someone who knows how to choose and use the best technology for the job at hand.JoanEllie-370x370

Career Highlights

Experience Managing a Virtual Society Office
International medical and scientific societies have always had “virtual offices” because the staff could never be in all places where the members, leaders and other stakeholders are located. Today’s advances in information technology have transformed the way international societies communicate, network and disseminate their message. As the founder and main worker bee at Rhema Association Management, I have always had to push the boundaries of information technology to do more with less. Having started in the business before email and websites replaced fax machines and express mail, I’ve welcomed each new technology advancement. Back in the 90’s it took a team of four full time worker bees to manage all the details of three growing international societies, their annual meetings, journal subscriptions, membership applications and dues renewals for what can now be done more efficiently with a well featured Virtual Office, an empowered staff and an executive director who’s willing and able to roll up her sleeves to get the job done on time and within the budget.

Is the society currently facing multiple-year net losses? Than a financially disciplined, bottom-line, results oriented manager with experience managing non-profits in a collaborative environment can help reshape the organization to not only get back on solid ground but to flourish.

Why Medical & Scientific Societies
After ten years in hotel conference services and sales, I founded Rhema Association Management in 1992 in San Francisco, specializing in scientific and medical societies, my favorite sector to work with as Director of Conference Services at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Having organized hundreds of conferences at Beaver Run, often working directly with the program chairs of large scientific and medical meetings, my focus has always been on planning successful annual scientific meetings, workshops and educational courses for my client societies. Most medical and scientific societies started out as a meeting or series of meetings, to bring researchers and clinicians together to discuss their findings to spur further discovery which inevitably brings in more researchers and clinicians and that, in my opinion is how scientific and medical societies evolve and grow.

As my client Societies grew, I hired team members as soon as it was financially possible. This was in the early nineties before the internet when we were still licking envelopes and sorting the abstracts by hand to be express mailed to the abstract review committees. Putting a team together during the dot-com boom in the Bay Area was not easy, but I was very fortunate to find three motivated, talented, outgoing people who enjoyed the work and especially the meetings, as much as I did. Our team consisted of a former minister, a corporate CMP (certified meeting professional) and a CPA who were all looking for a career change and are all three still working for my former clients till this day!

After relocating to Regensburg, Germany in August, 2005, I have focused entirely on doing more with less and harnessing information technology to build up international medical & scientific societies, usually working in tandem with colleagues in the United States. Whether you are the owner of an association management company, a volunteer leader, the executive director of a growing organization or the newly appointed program chair for an upcoming international meeting, I’d love to help you succeed.

NASCI Strategic Planning Retreat in Washington, DC in April, 2005, I am on the far right.

NASCI Strategic Planning Retreat in Washington, DC in April, 2005, I am on the far right. These are THE luminaries in the field of cardiovascular imaging!

The first 5 Presidents of the Society for Molecular Imaging whom we were honored to work for. Photo taken at our last Annual Meeting together on the Big Island of Hawaii!

The first 5 Presidents of the Society for Molecular Imaging whom we were honored to work for. Photo taken at our last Annual Meeting together on the Big Island of Hawaii!

Core Accomplishments
Successfully grew association management business through the growth of our client organizations, exceeding client expectations and building a highly motivated, well trained team emphasizing professional development, integrity and transparency.

Executive Director Experience