Five minutes with Margaret Timony, Executive Director, DCAT – DCAT Week ’18
PH: Has DCAT Week grown since last year?
Timony: Absolutely, it has grown both in terms of the number of business meeting suites and requests by people to go to different events. We have brought in another 90 or so members – they want to come to the events, so they join the organisation.
PH: And are there new features this year?
Timony: Yes, we have added several things. One is the Executive Insight meetings, where we are having more one-on-one discussions, so instead of having a single topic we will have a manufacturing topic, a research and innovation topic and so on. There are so many high-level people here, so we are hoping they will take the time to see some high-level speakers. We have seen a very good turnout for that so far. Another new thing is the women’s’ coaching initiatives with the New York Coaching Federation – we went out to women coming to the week and offered some coaching on it. We had about 25 take that up and this programme will get bigger and bigger every year.
PH: Are these all being done in response to what the industry is telling you?
Timony: Yes – we try to listen. The other thing we are doing this year is to be a bridge between our members and emerging pharma companies. We asked members if they wanted us to bring these companies to DCAT Week and got some response, so we are bringing them in, making it useful for both sides and helping them with the things they should be saying to each other. I would like to see that grow and even move around, maybe become more of a centrepiece. We have had a lot of good feedback from members. There are all sorts of people here – private equity people, licensing people – who are doing business. We are trying to be accommodating to everybody while still staying true to our vision of how things should be. We know that when the industry changes, we need to grow, change and be flexible with it.
PH: It’s extraordinary how this event has grown – it used to be just the dinner…
Timony: This is my 19th year with DCAT. When I came, the dinner was the centrepiece, though they had maybe ten business meeting rooms in the Waldorf. Then people came to the old Intercontinental, then more Europeans came in and people started coming earlier, so our board came up with the idea of rebranding it as DCAT Week. We have put in a much more structured process, which helps us plan for the space we need and what people want.
PH: Has the move from the Waldorf Astoria affected things much?
Timony: When we moved last year, some people were worried about how it would go and some said it was the end of DCAT Week, but the response was fantastic and people were very happy. For the most part, it went well and people were able to see what a business meeting suite would be like at the various hotels and we were able to fill most of them, while still keeping flexibility.