How the Evolution of INTA’s 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting Has Shaped the Experience

Published: July 29, 2020

Elisabeth Bradley (Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, USA)

Elisabeth Bradley (Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, USA)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted INTA’s 2020 Annual Meeting and 2020 Leadership Meeting to cycle through multiple iterations, including moving dates and potential on-site locations, the Association has quickly geared up to offer stakeholders an innovative virtual experience. The first-ever combined Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting will now take place virtually, with Annual Meeting programming from November 16 to 20, committee meetings on November 10 to 12, and Leadership Meeting sessions on November 13.

Jo-Ann See (Amica Law LLC, Singapore)

Jo-Ann See (Amica Law LLC, Singapore)

Through thick and thin, the 2020 Annual Meeting Co-Chairs Elisabeth Bradley (Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, USA), who serves as INTA’s Secretary, and Jo-Ann See (Amica Law LLC, Singapore) have provided a sense of consistency while planning the different versions of the Meeting. Here, in Part 1 of a two-part interview, they discuss the logistics with rescheduling such a large event, how the Meeting will feel familiar, their success in the intellectual property (IP) world, and why they are excited about the Meeting’s new format.

As the 2020 Annual Meeting Co-Chairs, you’ve gone from preparing to welcome registrants in Singapore to reimagining the event entirely in just a few months. What have you learned from this momentous challenge?
Elisabeth Bradley: I’ve learned that adaptability, resilience, and perseverance can make amazing things happen in a short time. The transition through several incarnations of the Annual Meeting in the past months has taken tremendous planning and incredible work by both the INTA staff and our volunteers who worked on the original programming when the Annual Meeting was scheduled to be held in Singapore in April 2020. These hours of careful planning will absolutely pay off with a successful Meeting!

Jo-Ann See: Flexibility and adaptability are key to handling challenges. I’ve learned that we must always be ready to adapt to different situations and be prepared to make new, bold, and creative decisions.

INTA’s Board of Directors and staff must be applauded for their quick response and hard work during these unprecedented times. The show must go on!

INTA’s 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting will certainly look different than initially anticipated. Can you describe some of the ways the event will feel like a traditional INTA meeting even as it transforms into something so modern and forward thinking?
JS: Of course, we won’t be able to have our face-to-face meetings and bonding over meals and drinks in one location, but apart from this, the 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting will offer almost the same suite of programs and activities as in all the INTA meetings we are familiar with.

Networking has always been an important feature of INTA meetings, and there will be plenty of events lined up for networking and social activities. And an additional plus to all of this: Registrants will get to enjoy all the usual benefits of attending an INTA Annual Meeting in the comfort of their own homes or offices, without the stress of travel and rushing around.


Some of the best parts of the Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting are re-connecting with your colleagues and building your network. This year’s event will be extremely conducive for connecting with your peers - Elisabeth Bradley

EB: Some of the best parts of the Annual Meeting and Leadership Meeting are re-connecting with your colleagues and building your network. This year’s event will be extremely conducive for connecting with your peers, through intimately sized events like Table Topics and Speed Networking, as well as Business Hubs and Corporate Meeting Rooms.

The Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting will feature a dozen educational tracks, including one called “Innovation and the Future of IP.” Can you talk about how this track is especially relevant for our community during this unprecedented time?
EB: The current pandemic has changed everything, and we have all had to pivot quickly. Companies of all sizes had to adapt from traditional offices to working remotely, literally overnight. For us to support our clients and businesses without interruption, we need the skills, mindsets, and technology to adapt to this new environment. The “Innovation and the Future of IP” track will provide relevant programming to help practitioners navigate our new reality, offer the chance to share challenges and success stories, and ensure we are prepared to provide the appropriate legal advice that our clients need in these entirely unchartered waters.

On the heels of our recently launched The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative, designed to empower women in the IP world, we’re offering The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative workshops at the Meeting. As two prominent women who have succeeded in the IP world, how has INTA provided you with a platform to advance your careers?
JS: INTA has always been an innovative forum that enables and empowers women to serve and to be leaders in the organization. Just look at the current Board leadership and office bearers now—many of them are women!

I have been active in INTA for a number of years and had the opportunity of serving in many leadership positions—including on the Board of Directors. I’ve held the positions of committee chair, vice committee chair, subcommittee chair, and have been a member of various project teams and now currently, the co-chair of this Meeting.

These various leadership roles have enabled me to always keep abreast of the ever-changing IP landscape. Working with colleagues from different parts of the world has been fulfilling, as I not only learn about the practices of various jurisdictions, but I now have many dear friends from all parts of the world. It is indeed a very rewarding experience.


The 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting will offer almost the same suite of programs and activities as in all the INTA meetings we are familiar with. - Jo-Ann See

EB: INTA has been instrumental to my legal career. Beginning with committee assignments, and then committee leadership roles, I was able to gain experience outside of my company that helped broaden my substantive trademark knowledge and develop leadership skills.

I then served on a Presidential Task Force where I learned more about INTA’s governance structure, and served on the Board of Directors, including the Finance and Executive Committees. Participation at INTA has provided invaluable leadership experience that I took back to my company and drew upon as my career progressed.

Serving as an INTA Officer has allowed me to further refine the business and leadership skills that are necessary to succeed and thrive at the senior levels of my company. I am very thankful for the experience I have received through my work for INTA, including exposure to many incredibly talented women.

For anyone who is curious about why they should attend the 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting, what’s your elevator pitch?
EB: The virtual format makes it possible to connect with the trademark community in a year where it would not otherwise be possible, given travel restrictions and health concerns.

Attendance is extremely cost effective and the Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting presents a really terrific opportunity for you to attend, experience the phenomenal educational content and obtain CLE credit, and build your networking and leadership skills without leaving the comfort of your home.

JS: INTA’s Annual Meeting is always a significant event to attend. While we cannot now all be together in one place, we can still be together in the virtual space and make this a first-time milestone in the Association’s history and also in the IP world.

We live in the Digital Age, and this is one way we can harness the power of this domain to serve our needs and help us rise to the challenge.

This is Part I of a two-part series. Part II may be viewed here.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2020 International Trademark Association