AGM FB Cover-01This week, I’ll board a flight on my way from GLOBALHealthPR’s headquarters in New York to visit our partner agency MediaMedic in Mumbai. I’m eager to explore the colorful streets of Mumbai and experience the unique culture, cuisine and customs of India. But most importantly, my anticipation and excitement could not be greater for GLOBALHealthPR’s Annual General Meeting, which starts on Wednesday. Our theme is, “Be the Change, Chart our Future.” It’s a gathering of the world’s top independent healthcare PR agencies and an opportunity to focus on how to better work together, who wouldn’t be excited.

In a time of increased consolidation, both within the agency world and from a procurement perspective, GLOBALHealthPR is evolving the concept of a global network. We’re taking the best aspects of cross-border collaboration while stripping out the bureaucracy and barriers of the traditional PR holding company model. This approach is not novel — 2016 marks GLOBALHealthPR’s 15th anniversary — however, in recent years we’ve seen a marked shift among potential clients from a “bigger is better” mindset to a true appreciation for independence.

For three days from 17-19 February I’ll be joined in Mumbai by nearly 25 healthcare and science communications professionals who are all GLOBALHealthPR partners. Many are founders and principals of top agencies in their countries. All are brilliant strategists, great leaders and, most importantly, good people. We’ll discuss common challenges we face as independent agencies, industry trends that are shaping the way we, as communicators work, and how we can continue to set the standard for healthcare public relations globally.

While we’re there for work, it’s the time spent together that will define our memories and fuel future success. Last year’s pub dinner in London with attendees singing, laughing and toasting to years of friendship stands out in my mind. Others, who have been with GLOBALHealthPR longer than I have, speak fondly of late-night karaoke at the 2008 AGM in Tokyo, didgeridoo performances in Sydney during the 2014 AGM and visiting in the Newseum in Washington, DC. These moments form relationships and trust, both of which are critical to collaboration. The connections ensure that when the phone rings and an opportunity with a new or existing client presents itself, you can be confident that the global, regional and local market work will be addressed immediately and effectively.

It’s hard to predict what moment during the 2016 AGM will help further forge friendships and strengthen our unique global model, but I guarantee that somewhere amidst the sights, smells and sounds of Mumbai each GLOBALHealthPR partner will be reminded why We Work. Together.

Interested in following the action? Follow us on Twitter using #GHPR16 and watch the GHPR AGM Facebook page for all the updates.