July / August 2022

Message from the Chair: The Value of Volunteering

Jörg Zimmermann
Message from the Chair:  Jörg Zimmermann

Why do I volunteer at ISPE? It is a question that I and surely many of you get asked. Indeed, why?

On the ISPE International Board level, we embarked on the exercise of writing down the ISPE value proposition, and under the leadership of Vivianne Arencibia, one of our Directors, this was put to paper. It all sounds so obvious, but when you look at all the great offerings that ISPE has, the question becomes: Why don’t more pharmaceutical industry professionals volunteer at ISPE?

The value proposition will be the basis of your elevator speech: How can I put my motivation to volunteer at ISPE into 30 seconds (i.e., a typical elevator ride) and convince my counterpart to join?

A Volunteer’s Journey

Let me tell you how it started for me. I was invited to give a talk on lyophilization at a European conference in Zurich in 2000. I had a great time discussing the topic with peers and we had great experts at that conference sharing their knowledge. What I had to report was well received and I was invited to further conferences in Europe and the US. After a few conferences, I was asked to put together a track for the 2011 ISPE Tampa Conference on prefilled syringes. We had a great program but low attendance, so I thought that’s it, they are not going to invite me back. Instead, I continued as Track Leader and later was “promoted” to Co-chair the full conference! After that, there was no stopping: I got involved as a reviewer of articles for Pharmaceutical Engineering®, joined the steering committee of the Sterile Products and Processes Community of Practice, led that committee for a few years, and later was elected to the ISPE International Board of Directors.

So, why am I doing this? ISPE has developed over the years to become such an influential organization that we are truly shaping the future of the pharmaceutical industry. Being part of that, and working for the benefit of the patients, is both rewarding and fun!

The Value Proposition

Volunteer work is a challenge for many as it comes on top of your day job and you always have to balance. We understand that, and it happens that people will drop out of volunteer jobs at very short notice. It happened to me one time when my conference co-chair resigned with a day’s notice. Luckily, we had a robust program committee to compensate.

The more you put into your volunteer work, the more you get out of it: education, knowledge, networking, tangible information for your day job—it is all there!

A value proposition describes the benefits and offerings of an organization, and how the organization is different from others. One of the differentia-tors for me is ISPE’s spirit. ISPE members are always open to share and contribute, and over the years, this has become a circle of friends and a home.

The more you put into your volunteer work, the more you get out of it: education, knowledge, networking, tangible information for your day job—it is all there! ISPE members are always open to share and contribute, and over the years, this has become a circle of friends and a home.

What Are the Elements of the ISPE Value Proposition?

ISPE members uniquely benefit from professional growth and knowledge sharing on industry best practices, through innovative forums bringing together ISPE’s network of more than 19,000 members at local and international levels. ISPE members stand front and center in steering the future state of the global pharmaceutical industry.

As a Member of the ISPE Community, You Will:

Develop and maintain your technical skills and knowledge through best-in-class educational offerings.

ISPE’s education offerings include conferences, workshops, webinars, and classroom trainings. The content is designed for all stages of your career, whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned professional. There is a plethora of publications—this magazine in print and digital; SmartBrief; the Regulatory Digest newsletter; Women in Pharma® The Bridge newsletter; and the gold-standard guidance documents where you can find the combined knowledge of ISPE’s members. Extensive vendor and industry information on new and innovative technologies is also available through online white papers, sponsored content, the online Partner Showcase, Virtual Discovery Stage, and more.

Advance and shape the current and future state of the industry, foster innovation, and address global and local needs unique to our industry.

Volunteer opportunities are available at all stages of your career, for students, new professionals, mid-career, and senior leaders. You can volunteer at local and international levels and participate in various forums in interest groups and activities in various areas, including:

Gain practical knowledge, problem solve, and grow your network as part of ISPE’s diverse global membership of pharma industry professionals, academics, and regulators.

ISPE gives you access to member-only Communities of Practice (CoPs). There are currently more than 20 CoPs on various topics where you can share your knowledge and ask your questions. This is where the ISPE community excels, and you will find answers that you can apply to your everyday work problems.

ISPE includes 26 ISPE Affiliates throughout the world and 13 US Chapters as of this writing, each with local activities and offerings for their members often in their local language. This is a big plus for members who cannot travel to the international events.

Members also have access to the ISPE Member Directory of more than 19,000 members from 129 countries across the globe.

Foster your professional growth, expand your leadership skills, and showcase your knowledge.

ISPE Guidance Documents, ISPE Concept and Discussion Papers, and regulatory discussion groups and commenting opportunities on draft regulations will help you in your personal growth and help shape the future of our ecosystem, the global pharmaceutical industry.

ISPE has been instrumental in defining the fields of GAMP®, PQLI® (product quality life cycle implementation), Quality Culture, and how to deal with drug shortages.

And finally, let’s not forget the educational and philanthropic goals of the ISPE Foundation, which I talked about in my May-June 2022 column in Pharmaceutical Engineering®.

Based on What You Have Read, What Is Your Elevator Speech?

While summer is here, the preparations for the ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo in Orlando, Florida, are in full swing. In addition to a first-class education program, you can also expect fantastic networking and social events, and the opportunity to connect with leading vendors in the exhibit hall.

I hope to see you there in person!

Volunteer Now!