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By Walter T. Marlowe

Walt MarloweI am extremely excited to join this vibrant and dynamic organization. I can’t wait to meet all the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) members, who serve as the backbone, heart, and soul of the association.

I was fortunate to be introduced to some of the wonderful AAPS family during the 2014 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego. It was an incredible experience. The attendees were impressive, and the quality of the information exchanged in the education sessions, exhibition, poster sessions, social events, and informal conversations was amazing. Congratulations to the 2014 Program Chair, Elizabeth C. M. de Lange, Ph.D., and the Annual Meeting Program Committee on a huge success! If you missed the 2014 annual meeting, I highly recommend getting the 2015 event on your calendar.

It is wonderful timing to join AAPS just as the executive council is embarking upon a new round of strategic planning. Part of what I anticipate seeing in this planning process is a sharpening of AAPS’ focus on maintaining a brand that represents the highest quality source of pharmaceutical science and technology information and career development throughout the world.

AAPS President Alice Till and AAPS Executive Director Walt Marlowe

AAPS President Alice Till, Ph.D., and Walt Marlowe make his tenure official.

Today’s highly connected world requires every organization to provide its members with highly valuable and relevant experiences, products, and services. Associations in particular must embrace the opportunities that new communication methods, education delivery platforms, and knowledge-sharing tools present. The organization must tap into and facilitate the sharing of expertise wherever it resides.

The expertise I mention starts with the members. Members are the core of any individual professional organization. Members are the owners, workforce, and customers all rolled into one. Members create the culture of the organization through their shared commitment to the vision and mission.

The membership experience is the compilation of all the interactions, products, services, and opportunities that the organization offers. The job of keeping membership valuable is the responsibility of every AAPS member, leader, and staff person. Although membership numbers can be a critical metric, numbers alone are not the organization’s reason for being. Membership is an indicator of whether the organization is properly pursuing the vision and mission by delivering high-quality, relevant information to the broader community.

Membership options are also increasingly important. A single member package is not likely to meet the needs of tomorrow’s diverse market segments. Changing generational needs and global expansion will likely necessitate different membership benefit bundles, delivery strategies, and pricing models.

Membership is also strongly connected to level of engagement. Every professional organization impacts not only its members but also other community participants who interact in only limited ways—such as reading the publications, writing articles, speaking at events, participating in elearning, or attending meetings—without joining as members. The organization’s expertise in identifying each participant’s level of engagement is key to properly serving each segment. Data collection and analysis are critical in this area.

Most important, I believe it is critical that all AAPS stakeholders have an opportunity to contribute to the direction of the organization as we move forward into the future. Please make sure to look for information on the strategic planning process and opportunities to contribute to the magazine and other AAPS communications. The AAPS strategic plan will be only as successful as its ability to truly reflect member priorities and address member needs. The goals and objectives of an inclusive strategic plan must serve our members well into the future and will allow us to meet the growing challenges of the 21st century to match and exceed the success achieved in AAPS’ initial 28 years.

As 2015 progresses, I will focus on meeting and talking with as many AAPS members as possible. I highly value being an accessible executive director. I want the members to always know this is their organization and their voice will always chart the future direction. Translating that voice into action via the executive council, member committees, and staff is what I must help facilitate. I hope I can have as positive an impact on AAPS’ culture and level of success as my predecessor, John Lisack Jr. I have big shoes to fill in serving the members.

Finally, remember that the future will grow from today’s ideas. Please share yours with AAPS President Alice Till (President@aaps.org), the member leaders, the staff team, and me (MarloweW@aaps.org). Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

This post was originally published in the AAPS Newsmagazine. Learn more about Walt Marlowe in his introductory video.

As of January 2015, Walt Marlowe is the AAPS Executive Director.