Starting anything from scratch is difficult. It always costs twice as much and takes double the expected time. The thought of bootstrapping a new meeting in the field of ophthalmology pretty much blows my mind.
The past weekend, in Austin, Texas, a group of like-minded ophthalmic surgeons, industry personnel and Bryn-Mawr Communications got together to produce the first annual Millennial Eye Meeting, #MELiveAustin. The results of these collective contributions yielded what, to me, felt like a meeting that will be around for a long time and will continue to grow.
The goal of the meeting was to create a forum where industry and physicians may interact to discuss issues and technologies that are top of mind for millennial surgeons and the patients that they serve. In addition, a realization that the chance for tomorrow’s leaders in ophthalmology to emerge onto the stage is important for the future of our industry also drove the conference.
Executing on an insightful strategy to help them pull-off a new meeting format, the architects of this meeting included many individuals throughout the weekend who were not a “millennial.” The wisdom and experience offered by these industry titans and surgical ophthalmology “rock-stars” served to create a bridge to the millennials in the crowd that shrunk barriers and sparked interesting, engaging discussions.
George Waring (IV), Bill Wiley, Damien Goldberg, Elizabeth Yeu, Rob Weinstock, Gary Wortz, Steven Dell, Jonathan Solomon, Bill Link and many others, delivered a thought provoking and engaging forum for collaboration between physicians and industry in an intimate setting. They developed an agenda that touched on most of the hot topics of today, planted seeds for thought about what’s needed for tomorrow and talked a lot about how the bright, young minds in the room may assume the mantle of leadership in an important, rapidly evolving industry. The weekend was fast-paced and informative to say the least!
The group from Bryn-Mawr Communications, headed-up by Dave Cox, deserves high praise for the execution of the meeting itself. They used tools for audience participation that I’ve never seen used in a meeting like this, almost flawlessly delivered on-point, rapid-fire, tech-savvy presentations and made it all look easy.
After being on the industry side of ophthalmology for more than 23 years, it is both reassuring and humbling to witness what I see as the beginning of the changing of the guard. I look forward to seeing today’s leaders in our business, many of whom still have much to contribute, mentor and guide the individuals who had the chance this weekend to display their raw intellect, curiosity, ability to think and aptitude for collaborative development of technology.