The Chicago Chapter of Women In Bio was established in October 2010 under the auspices of the national organization. WIB-Chicago is dedicated to increasing awareness, fostering career development, and facilitating communication among the diverse set of groups and individuals – especially women – in Illinois committed to biotechnology innovation and commercialization.
Our local footprint provides a home to individuals from world class research institutions, multinational life sciences companies, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial companies, as well as a growing number of investors and professional service providers committed to the bio industry. The State of Illinois is a leader in biotech and pharma, ranking as one of the top ten states in terms of both number of businesses and R&D expenditures. This foundation provides fertile ground upon which to build our WIB chapter, and we invite new members to join us in this venture.
The WIB-Chicago community is committed to creating opportunities and careers for women in the life science industry and to encouraging women in our state to translate novel discoveries into products. As the first chapter established in the Midwest, we are especially thrilled to expand the WIB organization and bring its resources to our region. For more information regarding the WIB-Chicago Chapter, please contact Chicago@WomenInBio.org.
WIB Committee Leadership
Women In Bio committees support the professional and personal growth of WIB members and the organization as a whole.
Chapter Chair: Dimitra Georganopoulou, VP of R&D, Ohmx Corporation
Chapter Vice Chair: Kate Neville, Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Treasurer: Grace Kefer
Secretary: Lisa Dhar
Lily Rin-Laures, Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Lisa Dhar, Senior Technology Manager, UIUC
Kathryn Hyer, Director, IllinoisVENTURES LLC
Larisa Lacis, VP, Life Sciences at BTG Systems, Inc
Carol Meyer, VP, Project Planning & Management, Takeda Global R&D
Laura Campbell, Associate, Perkins Coie
Susan Tomillo, Director, Sikich Investment Banking
Grace Kefer, President, Kefer Financial
Heather Kissling, Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Co-chair: Heather Kissling, Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Co-chair: Lynn Janulis, Ph.D., Associate, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Volunteer: Jennifer Davis Ruff, Pfizer
Co-chair: Emily Miao, Ph.D., Partner, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff
Co-chair: A. Taylor Corbitt, Associate, Foley
Volunteer: Laura Laboets, Partner, Husch Blackwell
Volunteer: Ikbel Achour, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
Volunteer: Ganza Ivanova
Volunteer: H. Kate Liebelt (ex officio), Deloitte & Touche
Volunteer: Sara Vinarov, IP Counsel, Tate & Lyle Americas LLC
Co-chair: Lynn Janulis, Ph.D., Associate, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Co-chair: Zoe Hoeppner, Northwestern University
Volunteer: Kelly Kilmartin, TechUSA
Volunteer: Katie Long, TechUSA
Program (Events) Committee
Co-chair: Sherri Oslick, Ph.D., Partner, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP
Co-chair: Michelle Kouba, Attorney, Michael Best & Friedrich
Volunteer: Kate Liebelt, Deloitte & Touche
Volunteer: Sandy Weiss, Attorney, MBHB
Volunteer: Heather Kissling, Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Volunteer: Carolyn Rowe-Brougham, Brinks Hofer
Volunteer: Kate Neville (ex-officio), Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Young Women In Bio (YWIB)
Co-chair: Sharon Sintich, Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Co-chair: Alexandra “Sacha” Patera, PhD; Senior Associate Director of Corporate Relations, Research Development; Northwestern University
Volunteer: Jennifer Davis Ruff, Pfizer
Advisory Board Members
Gretchen Johnson, CEO of KeraCure, Inc.
Dr. Brenda Russell, Ph.D., Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UIC, Founder Cell Habitats
Dr. Neena Schwartz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University
K’Lynne Johnson, CEO of Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc.
Dr. Daphne Preuss, Ph.D., CEO of Chromatin, Inc.
Mary Szela, Retired SVP, Abbott
To contact any of the committees listed above, please email Chicago@womeninbio.org.
WIB-Chicago Past Events
WIB-Chicago Announces New Steering Committee Members
We are pleased to announce that two proposals, one to change our by-laws and one to elect the new slate of Directors, achieved a majority vote via on-line balloting. Our new additions to the Steering Committee are Heather Kissling, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP; Laura Campbell, Perkins Coie; Susan Tomillo, Sikich Investment Banking; and Grace Kefer, Kefer Financial. For more information, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lily Rin-Laures, M.D., Previous Chair of the WIB-Chicago Chapter, Named a Minority Corporate Counsel Association 2012 Rainmaker
Li-Hsien (Lily) Rin-Laures, M.D., partner at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun and previous Chair of WIB-Chicago’s Steering Committee, has been named a Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) 2012 Rainmaker. Dr. Rin-Laures is one of four women on the short list of 17 attorneys featured in the current issue of MCCA’s Diversity & The Bar magazine. More details are available here. Congratulations Lily!
Celebrating a Successful Year and WIB Scholarship Recipient at “Networking on the Northshore”
WIB Chicago members and friends gathered on Chicago's North Shore on December 6, 2012, to celebrate the chapter's successful year. Dimitra Georganopoulou, Chair of WIB Chicago's Steering Committee, awarded Maryam Saleh, Northwestern University, with a WIB Scholarship. Congratulations to Maryam, and thanks to Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America for sponsoring this fantastic event.
Dimitra Georganopoulou (left) and Maryam Saleh (right)
Professional Development Advice and Insights Shared at WIB-Chicago’s Senior Leadership Forum
Over 90 attendees gathered at Takeda in Deerfield on November 8, 2012 to hear local female executives’ insights and advice on career development in the life sciences industry. Catherine Sazdanoff, VP, Global Business Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals International; K'Lynne Johnson, CEO, Elevance Renewable Sciences; Andrea Hunt, VP, Regenerative Medicine, Baxter Healthcare; and Lynn Bromstedt, former Divisional VP, Abbott Animal Health, shared their thoughts on self-promotion, power, mentoring, and networking. The informative and inspirational discussion was moderated by Heather Kissling, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun. WIB-Chicago thanks the panelists and event sponsors Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Marshall, Gerstein & Borun for their support.
WIB-Chicago Chapter Hosted "Building Your Confidence Through the Top 10 Networking and Business Development Best Practices"
More than 40 women met on May 15, 2012 for drinks, dinner, and an amazing program on business development hosted by WIB-Chicago. At the event, attendees learned practical tools for building confidence in their networking practices, as well as new ways to develop their networks into relationships that can lead to professional opportunities. Many thanks to our presenter, Deb Knupp of Akina, for a dynamic and informative program.
WIB-Chicago Holds First Installment of the 2012 Book Club Series
On March 20, 2012, WIB-Chicago held the first installment of its 2012 Book Club Series, which featured the book "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers" by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. Over 20 women participated in lively discussions of the theories presented in the book and shared their strategies for success in the workplace. Interested in facilitating a future book club? Contact Chicago@womeninbio.org for more information.
"Science Professionals" Day Held for Young Women
WIB Chicago hosted a "Science Professionals" day on January 28 for students enrolled with Girls 4 Science (G4S), an organization that promotes science education to girls ages 10-18 in the greater Chicago area. Several women with scientific backgrounds described their diverse career paths and fielded questions from over 30 students in attendance. WIB Chicago members Amy Wilson, Ph.D., and Sharon Sintich, Ph.D. organized the event. "We hope that introducing young women to positive role models who have achieved successful science-related careers will help encourage more young women to explore careers in science, technology and engineering," says Dr. Sintich. WIB Chicago thanks Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, for sponsoring this successful event.
WIB Chicago Celebrates Inaugural Year on the North Shore
WIB Chicago members and friends gathered on Chicago's North Shore on December 6, 2011, to celebrate the chapter's successful year. Dynamic women from big pharma, small biotech companies, academia, and service providers enjoyed an evening of networking, great food, and cocktails.
Lily Rin-Laures, Chair of WIB Chicago's Steering Committee, highlighted the chapter's 2011 educational series. She also previewed programs proposed for 2012, including the next installment of the book club series on March 20, 2012, featuring "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers," by Lois Frankel. WIB Chicago thanks Abbott Women in Science and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America for sponsoring this fantastic event.
WIB-Chicago Women Continues Impressive Educational Series
On September 22, 2011, WIB-Chicago hosted its third Educational Series event with a networking reception and panel discussion focused on building intellectual property assets. Linda Kawano, Ph.D., Principal at Group Optima Consulting, served as moderator for the panel of distinguished women that included Amy E. Wilson, Ph.D., Patent Counsel at Baxter Healthcare Corporation; Midori Yokoyama, Director of Business Development at Takeda Pharmaceuticals; Sharon M. Sintich, Ph.D., Attorney at Marshall, Gerstein and Borun; and Nabeela Rasheed, Ph.D., Attorney at McAndrews, Held & Mallow. The panel led the audience through an informative and interactive discussion about factors to consider when building intellectual property assets both for established pharmaceutical and start-up companies. In addition, panelists discussed factors relevant to potential investors and partners, as well as overall strategies for cost effectively optimizing the value of a company’s patent portfolio. There were 37 in attendance, including several men! Thank you to the Illinois Science + Technology Park for hosting the event.
WIB-Chicago Women Gather to Hear "Lessons Learned"
WIB-Chicago continued its 2011 Educational Series with a dynamic event on women and entrepreneurship on July 14th. Amy Millman, President of Springboard Enterprises, shared lessons learned through coaching women-led companies to present themselves and their companies to investors. She conducted an engaging and highly-interactive discussion. There were 46 attendees, including entrepreneurs, corporate and academic women, women from the investment community, lawyers and students. Robbie Melton, co-founder of Women In Bio, travelled from Washington, DC to participate. During the discussion, many in the audience shared their pitches, stories and advice. The event was the second in a series of sessions planned by WIB-Chicago to educate participants on topics such as intellectual property, entrepreneurship and other business issues important to life science executives. The next event is planned for September.
Lily Rin-Laures, M.D. and Robbie Melton Amy Millman and Lily Rin-Laures, M.D.
WIB-Chicago Kicks Off Educational Series with Investment Panel Discussion
On April 11, 2011, WIB-Chicago and PROPEL co-hosted a networking reception and informative panel discussion focused on Finding the Right Investor at the Right Time. The event was the first in a series of sessions planned by WIB-Chicago to educate participants on topics such as intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and other business issues important to life science executives. Barbara Goodman of PROPEL, which is a joint partnership of iBIO and the iBIO Institute, served as moderator for a panel of experienced women from the local investment community. Caralynn Nowinski Chenoweth of Sikich Investment Banking, Kathryn Burrer Hyer of IllinoisVENTURES, and Nina Nashif of Sandbox Industries made up the esteemed panel. During the discussion, these prominent women shared their insights on selecting an investor that fits the company’s development stage, how and when to engage investors, and recent market dynamics.