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Jun 7, 2016

2016 Masters Conference in Amsterdam Sheds Inspiring Light on Quality


The MasterControl user community 
exchanged knowledge and experiences 
at the annual Masters Conference.

by Beth Pedersen

Marketing Communications, MasterControl


Quality, regulatory, IT and management professionals across pharmaceutical, medical device, biotech and manufacturing came together for two days of learning and networking last month in the friendly host city of Amsterdam. Now in its sixth year, MasterControl’s annual Masters Conference, held 11-12 May, offered the user community in Europe a chance to rub shoulders with industry experts, exchange knowledge and experiences with others in the same profession, and receive one-on-one consulting from the MasterControl team. From humorous to emotional and everything in between, the wide variety of presentation topics showed just how diverse and impactful the field of quality can be.

Take, for example, Andrew Waddell’s keynote “The Challenges Facing Today’s Quality Assurance.” It was named as a favorite by first-time attendee Arnaud Thevenin, director of quality assurance and regulatory affairs at AMPLITUDE, a French orthopedics company. He praised Andrew’s presentation as a mix of history, actual questions and good humor. 
Waddell is the director of TMQA, a Scotland-based quality assurance consultancy organization, and has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of quality management. He presented this year’s Masters Conference keynote, titled “The Challenges Facing Today’s Quality Assurance,” where he discussed how, more than 30 years after FDA first sprung the concept of QA on the industry in 1979, the common understanding of QA still derives from 21 CFR Part 58. Waddell’s aim was to discuss whether this is still the right approach in 2016 (and beyond) by examining how other industries approach QA and what can be learned from them.




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“Andrew brought a sense of motivation and creativity,” explained MasterControl’s Global Events Manager Jill Bumgardner. “He challenged people to be innovative and creative to keep the field of quality moving forward. ‘Creative’ is not a word you hear often in quality, so it was an interesting perspective.”  
In his moving plenary presentation “Changing the World, One Life at a Time: Compelling Customer Stories,” MasterControl’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Curt Porritt focused on the softer side of quality. Many in the audience were brought to tears while viewing a video of people hearing for the first time thanks to the equipment produced by MasterControl customer Cochlear Americas. 
“It was nice because everyone could connect with it at some level, in the sense that our work helps other people get what they really need,” said Eliana Valcarcel, events manager at MasterControl. 
Plenty of “aha” moments were had by attendees of the popular session “Microsoft Word Master Class: Tips and Tricks to Live (and Work) By,” presented by David Cornwell of U.K.-based PleaseTech, a company specializing in document collaboration software. Bumgardner commented that many attendees were visibly delighted to learn how the intricacies of Microsoft Word can help them more efficiently create templates, SOPs and many other types of documents in their daily work.
David Cornwell of PleaseTech taught an eager
audience some of the lesser-known features
and shortcuts in Microsoft Word.
Customer attendance at the 2016 Masters Conference hit an all-time high, up by 16 percent from 2014. Of the 73 people in attendance, 37 were customers, 13 were partners and three were prospective users, the majority of whom attended for the first time. They were joined by 20 MasterControl employees who supported and facilitated the event. It was an event described as “empowering” by one repeat attendee, Systems Manager Pamela Self of Macfarlan Smith, a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company. “The networking is invaluable,” Self said. 
After the first day of intensive learning, attendees
enjoyed a canal tour of Amsterdam.
Because of its diversity of valuable topics, insightful speakers, one-on-one Genius Desk assistance, networking opportunities and beautiful host cities, the Masters Conference continues to grow year after year. Thevenin offered the following advice for future Masters Conference attendees: 
“Come with your concerns and problems, go home with solutions,” he said. 
The Masters Conference is an annual event for the global MasterControl user community hosted on an alternating schedule in one of four cities: Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague or Berlin. In addition to keynote and plenary sessions that are relevant for a general audience, the event offers hands-on workshops, customer panel discussions and over 20 breakout sessions aimed at helping MasterControl users maximize their understanding and usage of the system. 
Next year’s Masters Conference will take place in Vienna from 10-11 May and you can email events@mastercontrol.com to learn more about it. The Masters Conference is just one of many events offered by MasterControl to enrich and advance the quality field. Visit the MasterControl News and Events page to view a list of upcoming events that are available to any quality or regulatory professional, regardless of whether you use MasterControl.


Beth Pedersen is a marketing communications specialist at the MasterControl headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her technical and marketing writing experience in the enterprise software space includes work for Microsoft, Novell, NetIQ, SUSE and Attachmate. She has a bachelor’s degree in life sciences communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in digital design and communication from the IT University of Copenhagen.






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