Joan Oefner

As is often the case in this field, I stumbled into Association & Event Management by chance, after spending 10 years in the hotel business. As Group Sales Manager and then Director of Conference Services at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center, in Breckenridge, Colorado, I had the opportunity to plan and supervise the planning of multiple conferences each week overseeing a full staff of conference coordinators. One of our clients, the  International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry, had a particularly challenging event, bringing in 800 participants, a good 200 more than our maximum capacity. Rather than turn them away, we put up a large tent to accommodate the posters which went on to become a permanent seasonal function area following the success of this meeting. A few years later I was recruited to manage the ISAC meeting for them and moved to San Francisco to work in their offices. Organizing scientific meetings has been my passion ever since.

Having started in this business before the internet, 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 technological advancement. Managing and organizing all these details has been transformed by online technologies such as association management and event management technology incorporated into highly functional websites. Thanks to WordPress, I can set up the websites myself, and keep them updated in real-time, creating a virtual office which connects all aspects of Society together for the members and meeting participants from all over the world.

A Virtual Office business model is the most efficient and responsive way to develop international teams of talented professionals to support the missions and goals of international non-profit scientific and medical societies. Please click here for full CV.