“The Alpine Liver and Pancreatic Surgery (ALPS) Meeting is a highly successful event that has now been running for over 15 years in the Italian Dolomites. It brings together surgeons, physicians and scientists with an interest in hepatobiliary and pancreatic disease, especially cancer, from all over the world. When we started it was a small UK-based event but has grown in size and complexity since. For many years it was run from an academic university department based on the goodwill of long-suffering staff. This enabled us to run the meeting economically without commercial sponsorship, and for it to be economical for surgical trainees. However, as the event grew, it became impossible to run in this fashion and we sought a conference organiser. After a process, we selected ACS Global as the organiser and Jillian became the lead.
Jillian’s engagement in running the meeting has been transformational, especially for the team who previously had to run it. Her organisation has been implacable with considerable attention to detail. She has a very calm manner which is necessary when dealing with both delegates and the various organisation and suppliers. One other area of benefits of having Jillian is dealing with delegates in a sensitive yet firm way. Anybody who has run a conference will know the 95% of attendees never have any problems but all the problems arise from the remaining 5% who seem incapable of doing anything organisationally without support! Removal of this burden has been invaluable!
One of the concerns we had in using a professional conference organiser was the costs. The ALPS Meeting ran on a zero profit basis and was fully paid for by delegates including the organisers. Jillian was able to look at the budget and identify areas where cost savings could be made with minimal detriment to the meeting or attendance costs, the meeting has continued to grow and in 2019 reached the capacity for the venue.
On a personal level, I have really enjoyed working with Jillian. She is really easy to work with, always cheerful and nothing is ever too big a problem. The only downside is in the skiing – progress has been “below expectations”!”