Q&A with Co-Founder & CEO, David Mason
PP&P: As you celebrate 10 successful years of delivering a boutique conference experience to pharmacy directors, can you share what inspired you to create Health Connect Partners?
David Mason: Nelson Hendry and I co-founded the company in February 2006. The idea was Nelson’s: We were working a trade show in 2005, and 4 days into the conference we were standing around looking at each other and the other vendors in the exhibit hall with few customers or prospects coming by. Nelson’s concept was to utilize a different approach whereby those making the buying decisions would sit in the booths and the sales representatives would walk the floor to meet with each buyer. I thought it was genius, so we formed the company in early 2006 and held our first event that fall.
PP&P: How do pharmacy directors benefit from the collaborative experience of the reverse expo?
Mason: Our Reverse Expo format is uniquely designed to help pharmacy directors meet the challenge of doing more with less as they can connect with a broader range of suppliers than they would at a traditional trade show or in the normal course of business. Our format allows them to discuss products, services, and technologies with the largest industry leaders as well as discover new, smaller suppliers they may not find anywhere else. The Reverse Expo gives everyone the chance to make meaningful connections. In the words of one of our hospital executive attendees, “The Reverse Expo provides a different avenue to meet with vendors. We do not often get to see vendors that we are not already familiar with. That’s how we met a vendor that is now providing us with a very nice solution for one of our big problems, a vendor we would never have found on our own.” It is exciting for us to hear of relationships formed at an HCP conference that enable a director of pharmacy to solve a significant problem for their facility.
PP&P: How do you plan the clinical education sessions?
Mason: Our Educational Advisory Board comprises volunteer pharmacy directors from top health systems across the country. They meet regularly to determine the educational content for each conference. In addition, attendees suggest topics for future educational sessions. As such, we are continually able to provide session content that is relevant and valuable to pharmacy directors.
PP&P: What feedback do you hear from pharmacy directors who attend Health Connect Partners?
Mason: This is the most rewarding part of what we do. Here are a few comments from our most recent conference:
“As always everything was perfect, outstanding conference!”
“My first conference and hopefully not my last! Very well organized. Great CE topics.”
“Super opportunity to meet with vendors on a personal basis. Have made numerous contacts and new suppliers being used.”
“Thank you for hosting something that is a great use of all our time.”
Hosting events like ours requires a tremendous amount of work on the part of many talented people. We have an incredible team at Health Connect Partners, and the attendees generously share their appreciation. Our team’s meticulous attention to detail ensures a great experience for our attendees and their feedback makes it all worthwhile.
PP&P: How do pharmacy suppliers value the experience?
Mason: Hospital pharmacy directors have too much on their plates to talk with every vendor and hear about every solution when they are at their facilities. To be able to engage face to face for 2.5 days is precious time for both parties. Suppliers can share their products, services, and technology offerings and providers can determine if those solutions are a good fit for their hospitals. It is rewarding when we hear from a supplier about a relationship developed with a hospital because of our event, and likewise when providers share that they saved their hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars through connections made at our event. Their feedback demonstrates that our conferences provide a significant return on investment to all of our attendees.
PP&P: What are some of the keys to your successful operation?
Mason: The first ingredient to our success is hiring the right people and giving them the tools to be successful. Then, as simple as it sounds, we listen to the attendees. We take to heart the input we receive after each conference and strive to make relevant improvements before the next one. For example, several years ago a few pharmacy directors asked us to find a specific supplier to visit their booth during the Reverse Expo. In response, we developed our Reverse Leads program, which allows the pharmacy directors to indicate categories in which they currently are looking for vendor solutions. They also can request a specific supplier visit their booth. We provide each supplier with their Reverse Leads when they pick up their badge at the conference so they can prioritize conversations with directors who have indicated an interest in speaking with them. This has added tremendous value for all of our attendees and was a direct result of their feedback.
PP&P: What does the future hold for Health Connect Partners?
Mason: We will continue to improve the conference experience, for example, by extending the educational experience past the live events to an online platform where pharmacy leaders can access exceptional education content anytime. It has been an honor to serve this great industry for the past 10 years, and we look forward to serving it for many more.