Can up & coming conference organizations provide value for medical affairs?

I recently attended the Medical Affairs Professional Society’s (MAPS) Annual Conference and asked myself a simple question while registering: can MAPS provide value, as well as differentiate their program, from the various existing conferences available throughout the year? With an ever-increasing number of relevant conferences, and the impact of time away from the office, I find myself scrutinizing attending these events much more so than I have in the past.


With an ever-increasing number of relevant conferences, and the impact of time away from the office, I find myself scrutinizing attending these events much more so than I have in the past.


Several components of the conference were intriguing going in, so I had an open mind and decided to try it out. Here’s what made me decide to register:

  • The program not only offered what looked to be informative general sessions, but also more intimate workshop sessions across several tracks that allowed me to access other attendees and hear their opinions and best practices.
  • This was the second year of their annual conference and their growth has been tremendous. Last year they had 147 attendees, including vendors, and this year it grew to 287 attendees. Membership also increased from 127 to 308 within the year as well.
  • The exhibition space was sold out by the end of November (more than two months ahead of the actual conference in late February). They also had a number of new vendors sponsor the event that did not participate in their inaugural conference.
  • MAPS hosted a formal gala the night before the conference. Proceeds went to the Abuela Lucy Foundation which is helping families affected by recent hurricanes, as well as reinvesting in the education system with grants and scholarships for students within medicine and biology.

As it turned out, attending was definitely worth it. The sessions were packed with thought-provoking material from a different perspective than what I’ve experienced at other conferences. Overall it felt like attendees were really engaged in both the workshops and the general session Q&A, which led to a lot of opportunities to learn more than at other conferences I’ve been to. These interactions became my favorite part of the event as they offered me a chance to really talk to other attendees in a way that a coffee break or wine and cheese reception just don’t.


These interactions offered me a chance to really talk to other attendees in a way that a coffee break or wine and cheese reception just don’t.


MAPS projects their annual conference attendance to increase to ~400 people next year and for membership to grow to 800 members. These are lofty goals, but as I look at what they are providing with their annual conference and other services available to members, such as periodic webinars, whitepapers, a career center, ongoing training, and a community portal, it’s easy to see how this start up organization is making their mark within Medical Affairs.

One side note, I didn’t attend the pre-conference gala, but other attendees I spoke to told me it was really fun and fulfilling to know their efforts were going to help out a lot of people in need. So, kudos to MAPS for adding in a charitable component to the overall experience!

I am still a believer in the value of what the DIA provides: continuing education for industry professionals and a great way to network and hear about best practices and technological innovations. My experience at the MAPS conference shows that their conference can be an equal to the DIA and even CBI and ExL Events in providing value to our industry.

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Author Bio

Guy Rallo is a Mavens Client Partner based in Chicago. He works with existing and prospective clients to ensure Mavens continues to provide innovative solutions to meet the needs of Life Sciences. Over the past seven years, Guy has helped deliver multiple global deployments within the Medical space, including Medical Information systems, Medical Affairs business intelligence and analytics solutions.