July / August 2021

Emerging Leaders Editorial: Connecting in the Virtual World

John Clarke
Emerging Leaders Editorial: John Clarke

Optimism is in the air as we move through the summer months and the restrictions that have become second nature are slowly lifting. As I continue the second half of my year as the Emerging Leaders (EL) Chair and representative on the ISPE International Board of Directors, I realize that my experience has been and will be different from previous Emerging Leaders chairs, as it will likely remain fully virtual as we continue through 2021. Experiencing the workings and organization of the ISPE Board activities through the virtual format has been an insight into how leadership organizations across the industry have transformed and the virtual world they will continue to work in.

The restrictions over the past 18 months have accelerated the switch to fully virtual working for a lot of us. It’s reasonable to assume that as Emerging Leaders, our working lives will be predominantly spent in this virtual format. While it does not always have the benefits of face-to-face interaction and the opportunity to build relationships in informal environments, in other ways it provides an ease of interaction as the traveling and logistics around attending an event in person have been eliminated. Emerging Leaders Affiliates and Chapters have done an amazing job of building momentum on these events, with virtual career fairs, symposiums, seminars, and hackathons breaking records for attendance and engagement.

Virtual Benefits

For me, the biggest benefit of being a member of the ISPE Emerging Leaders community has always been the opportunity to connect with peers, both within local Chapters and Affiliates and internationally. This international collaboration has increased exponentially over the past year and a half, as all events and task teams have been set up in fully virtual formats.

ISPE strives to give representation and a voice to members who may not have always felt included in the conversation.

This fundamental change in organization has taught us many lessons and best practices that we will bring with us as the option to hold face-to-face events returns. By reducing the cost and time for Emerging Leaders to attend, we are opening events to new audiences. Keeping these benefits while maximizing opportunities for networking and collaboration will be an exciting challenge for the rest of 2021 as we explore hybrid, face-to-face, and virtual events.

Expanding Diversity

ISPE has always strived to ensure diversity and inclusion across our membership and initiatives. June was Pride Month across many of our Emerging Leaders regions, and it’s a great time to recognize the diversity within our organization. By establishing communities such as the Emerging Leaders and Women in Pharma®, ISPE strives to give representation and a voice to members who may not have always felt included in the conversation. I hope all our members used Pride Month as an opportunity to celebrate what makes them diverse and we continue to bring the spirit of inclusion to all our local and international initiatives.

There has never been a better time to volunteer with your local ISPE Emerging Leaders Affiliate or Chapter.

Volunteer Opportunities!