“Come hell or high water” is an apt description of this year’s pre-Summit preparations in “sunny” San Diego for the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Partnering Enterprise.” A unique “alliance journey” is how Michael Leonetti, CSAP, president and CEO of ASAP, summed it up in his clever opener in the Marriot Mission Valley hotel ballroom. Record-setting torrential rain and the swollen San Diego River set the stage for a unique gathering fraught with “headaches”—but fortunately laced with humor. Sound familiar?
“It was raining, and we were ready to go, getting ready for board meetings, et cetera, and then the hotel had a fire with actual smoke, people leaving the building, people refusing to leave. That’s when it started to remind me of an alliance journey,” Leonetti quipped. “The next day in ‘sunny San Diego,’ there was the rain again. We were setting up an executive committee meeting … and things started to come unglued,” he said while flashing a slide behind him of soggy hotel ceiling opening to the elements.
But in spite of it all, “We had a great day, a great discussion on how to make ASAP great,” Leonetti said. “It just never stops with you alliance managers,” he joked to the roaring audience.
Leonetti praised the audience for their perseverance with flight delays and taxi mishaps. Disruption is a component of any alliance journey, he pointed out, and that’s especially true when your hotel is surrounded by a “moat.”
“I’ve heard some amazing stories,” he quipped. “Some of you arrived in canoes, fire engines, and police cars” because of the rising waters of the San Diego River. “Some got to Qualcomm Way, and the cab driver said ‘get out.’ A couple grabbed their bags, started walking to the hotel, and walked through water up to their knees. Then the police escorted them.”
“Next morning, I wake up and the San Diego River is behind the hotel, and the hotel is surrounded by water. Which is when some of you did some amazing things to get here. We’re going to have a great meeting because you’re here,” he said to rousing applause. “And we’ve worked hard, so get ready for a great ride!”
And it was. The weather turned a sunny 70 degrees, and participants enjoyed outdoor networking sessions and abundant quality content. Summit highlights included the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards (http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/269640/Exemplary-Alliance-Management-Practices-Receive-Accolades-and-Honors-at-ASAP-s-2017-Alliance-Excellence-Awards-Ceremony), followed by a well-attended session “Meet the 2017 ASAP Alliance Excellence Award Winners,” monitored by Anthony DeSpirito, CSAP, Schneider Electric. Also of note: an engaging leadership forum, ASAP Aquarium, four outstanding plenary talks, and an engrossing keynote by Alex Dickinson, PhD, founder and executive chairman for ChromaCode and recent senior vice president of strategic initiatives at the San Diego-based DNA sequencing leader Illumina. Dickinson’s address, “The New Convergence: Life Science + Tech + Government,” discussed the complexity of partnering as DNA sequencing and genomics technology companies, research institutions, healthcare providers, and many others (such as life insurers) have converged around an explosion of applications that leverage cloud computing for large-scale DNA sequencing, storage, and usage of genomics data.
Scroll through this blog site for additional coverage of the dynamic plenary presentations (similar in format and content to TED Talks), captivating workshops, and a wide selection of engaging sessions, which will continue to be posted through April.