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WIB-Capital Region: Member Spotlight - Margot Connor

Posted By Marina Pranda , Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Margot Connor

Margot Connor is currently the Chief Executive Officer of RoosterBio Inc, a regenerative medicine company on a fast-growth trajectory in Frederick, MD. Margot has led the company through major growth and development since its early founding.  RoosterBio aims to radically change the way that scientists use stem cells and to propel the industrialization of regenerative technologies. The company is enabling living cellular technologies to become more affordable, easier to access, and much simpler to incorporate into product development efforts, leading to a rapid acceleration in products coming to market that incorporate these technologies. Ultimately these efforts will lead to new, game-changing regenerative therapies, serving patients in need. Margot Connor’s professional journey has taken her through many fascinating and diverse positions, primarily on the business side of biology both in the US and in Europe. Margot has a personal dedication to mentoring, with anyone aiming to broaden and advance their career horizons. Margot Connor strongly believes in the mission of Women In Bio and actively supports activities by serving on the WIB-Capital Region Advisory Board and she was also a speaker at the 2018 HERstory Gala.

Tell us about your background (both educational and professional).

I received a bachelor’s degree in textile chemistry with a dual degree in strategic marketing from the University of Maryland. During my undergraduate studies, I was primarily focused on the technical aspects of my degree; however, upon graduation, I immediately focused my career in positions on the commercial side of science. My early career concentrated on sales, marketing, and business development at large life science companies. As my professional development evolved, I began taking on managerial roles and leading business units inside of larger entities. One of these business units was spun out and divested, leading me to develop a strong interest in mergers and acquisitions. I was then asked to join the Lonza Group to build the investor relations and corporate communications organization and internal competencies. I was also the acting spokesperson for the company. This role also gave me the opportunity to spend a few years living in Switzerland, which was a priceless experience and it truly broadened my outlook. Following this position, I began my adventure in M&A with Lonza and then founded my own consulting firm focusing on life science transactions. Over the course of my career, I was a part of many M&A transactions valued at over $1.5 billion. In 2015 I joined an exciting startup called RoosterBio, Inc, and I’ve loved every minute of this experience. I’m a firm believer that a company is about its people and the relationships we foster. I’ve sought to bring my experiences full circle at RoosterBio, now having grown to 50 employees and continuing to expand rapidly. 

1. What role did mentorship play in helping you to achieve your career goals?

I consider mentorship to be a key aspect of any career path. In my case, I was incredibly fortunate to work with some great mentors who made a powerful difference in my career. At various times throughout my career, my mentors helped me to evaluate good career choices, opened my mind to new possibilities, and encouraged risk-taking. Mentoring can take on many forms, whether it’s a formalized mentor-mentee relationship, a supportive collaborator, an inspiring colleague, an invested boss or an insightful friend. I’ve certainly benefited from all of them.  On occasion, others see qualities in you that you don’t necessarily see in yourself, and mentorship is crucial for helping you discover and develop those qualities. In my experience, it’s important that one invests in mentorship and nurtures that relationship, in order for it to be effective. When mentorship relationships are fostered, it can significantly help to shape one’s personal and professional goals. In my case, my actual career path is extremely different from what I initially envisioned! Without those mentors throughout my career, I would not be where I am today at this extraordinary place in my journey. Mentors gave me their time, focus and advice without expectation of a return. I’ve been inspired to make it a part of my personal mission to give freely to others what was freely given to me. 

2. What the most exciting and personally fulfilling part of your work right now?

The mission of RoosterBio is to accelerate regenerative medicine and enable the translation from an academic idea into a commercial reality. Along the way, we get to play our part in creating and sustaining the regenerative medicine field and interacting with our customers. What inspires me the most about RoosterBio is building an organization that contributes to tomorrow’s life-saving cures and creating a culture that really inspires people. We emphasize some of our most valued qualities at RoosterBio: dedication, trustworthiness, integrity while also being open-minded, collaborative, transparent and challenging each other to be better, in a respectful way. Oh… and also not to take ourselves too seriously! We do like to have fun here at RoosterBio. 

3. What advice do you have for somebody who is a student or early-level in their career?

Don’t be afraid to look outside your comfort zone at opportunities. Seek out people who you admire and engage with them. Identify and make connections with people who inspire you. Invest your efforts in building relationships with mentors. Learn from these inspiring people and take advantage of their knowledge and expertise. In most cases, people truly like to share and help. Realize that there are opportunities everywhere you look. It’s important to stretch the concepts of yourself, and that is easier to do when someone is helping you along the way. Another piece of advice I like to give is: do something every day that scares or challenges you. You will be able to stretch yourself more when you become more comfortable taking risks. Finally, it’s also great to get involved in organizations like Women In Bio and leverage the organizations’ resources and depth of experience. 

4. Tell us how you got involved with Women In Bio, what you do for the organization, and what being a part of WIB means to you. 

I learned about Women In Bio through various industry contacts and was asked to speak at 2018 HERstory Gala. That event was truly inspiring, and I became excited about the organization. As I mentioned before, I believe that mentorship is crucial for career success and I found that WIB values this mission. I hope to support the mentorship portion of the organization by serving on the WIB-Capital Region Advisory Board now. I aim to contribute as not just a board member, but also as a professional/personal development mentor. One of the best feelings in the world is giving. Through one act, you can inspire others to go out and give back too. The positivity is contagious. That’s what WIB is all about. 


Tags:  2019  Member Spotlight 

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WIB-Capital Region: YWIB Capital Region Spring into STEM 2019: Biotechnology and Careers in Life Sciences, March 28, 2019

Posted By Gelareh Abulwerdi, Tuesday, April 23, 2019

On March 28th, Emergent BioSolutions welcomed about 45 students representing four high schools in the DC metro area to their headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. Emergent BioSolutions is a global organization that develops, manufactures, and delivers a portfolio of medical countermeasures for biological and chemical threats, existing and emerging infectious diseases, as well as a treatment for opioid overdose. The students participated in an engaging and interactive, 2½-hour educational experience that consisted of a career panel, lab tour, discussion on DNA, and lunch networking opportunity.

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With the goal of connecting with the next generation of scientific talent, Lisa Richardson, Senior Director of Corporate Development, facilitated a discussion with panelists from different functional areas. The panel consisting entirely of female executives included the following individuals: Hansilla Alaigh, Director External Development, Jyoti Koushik, Senior Human Resources Business Partner, Laura Saward, Senior Vice President and Head of the Antibody Therapeutics Business Unit, Michelle Saylor, Director of Antibiotics Research and Development, Trudy Tucker, Principal Scientist Fermentation, and Kelly Warfield, Vice President of Vaccines and Anti-Infectives. Ellen Lawrence, Glenda Soriano, Heidi Swaim, Carleton Barbour, and John O’Lear, also served as presenters and lab tour guides. During the lab tour, the students looked visibly excited as they donned their personal protective equipment before entering the lab. The panelists, presenters, and tour guides all shared their background, how their interest in STEM helped them navigate their careers, their roles within the company, and how they contribute to the overall mission of Emergent. Their inspiring stories generated a lot of questions from the highly-engaged students and the work Emergent does sparked curiosity about public health and other issues.

“Throughout my 10 years of organizing student visits and lab tours, this is by far the most socially aware and most interested group of students I have seen,” said Ellen Lawrence, Principal Scientist and Emergent’s Corporate Social Responsibility Team Lead for Montgomery County/DC. “Their school buses were outside waiting to leave, but the questions just kept coming – how do you lower the cost of medicines, what makes a good hire, have you applied CRISPR in the work that you do, how did your company start – just a variety of interesting questions.”

“I cannot thank you all enough, the field trip was a fantastic experience!” said José Pomarino, Science National Honor Society President. 

“The trip was amazing because it made me really hopeful and I loved the pen so much,” said Ainsley Pollock, Wakefield High School student.

At the conclusion of the event, each participant received a swag bag filled with giveaways. To say the least, it was a productive and meaningful day. From the organizers’ perspectives, it was not about the pizza or the giveaways or the day off from school that truly made this day fun – it was all about the conversations and learning! Throughout the day, participants were able to learn more about what a career in the life sciences really entails. YWIB Capital Region would like to thank our volunteers who supported this event. We would especially like to thank Miko Neri, Senior Director Corporate Communications, for her efforts in coordinating this event and Emergent BioSolutions for providing such an awesome opportunity for a diverse group of high school students.

Tags:  2019  YWIB 

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WIB-Capital Region: YWIB Kid Museum Event, March 24, 2019

Posted By Gelareh Abulwerdi, Monday, April 15, 2019
KID museum hosted Girl Power Day on March 24th in Bethesda, MD.  Volunteers from Young Women In Bio (YWIB) – Capital Region participated in the event as STEM experts to engage in informal sessions with the girls and their families. Young Women In Bio hosted hands-on activities in Neuroscience Section. The activities are (i) muscle spiker activity with electrodes to measure the activity of your muscles in response to movement, (ii) brain hat activity to color different parts of the brain and make a colorful hat to take home and (iii) brain anatomy model. Volunteers from YWIB spearheaded the brain anatomy model activity. Each girl was provided with a disassembled brain model. With the guidance of the volunteer, the girls learned the different parts of the brain and its functions as they build the model. 

The volunteers also engaged in conversations with the parents to provide insights about the fundamentals of the brain and brain disorders. Our conversations were well-received by the parents. YWIB Capital region would like to thank KID museum for hosting the event, Claire Cocciole, Director of Maker and Community Partnerships for organizing the event with YWIB and our volunteers who came to support our event and helped make the event a success.

Read more about the highlights of the event.

Tags:  2019  YWIB 

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WIB-Capital Region AAAS Family Science Days, February 16 & 17, 2019

Posted By Rajamani Selvam, Tuesday, March 19, 2019

American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Family Science Days occurred on February 16th and 17th in Washington D.C. Family Science Days is a free public event that offers hands-on, kid-friendly activities. The event ran from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on both days with over 3150 guests in attendance. Young Women In Bio (YWIB) participated in the event as an exhibitor for both the days. Young women who are high school students from Montgomery County public school system performed the demonstrations and activities for YWIB.

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YWIB had two hands-on activities. The first activity consisted of identifying different organs and building a human anatomy model, while the other activity involved making an edible DNA helix using pieces of candy. In the first activity, each child was given a disassembled human torso model. With the help of YWIB volunteers, the children learned the functions of each organ as they assembled the model. Upon completion, each participant was allowed to spin a wheel to claim their prize. The prizes included rock candy, a lollipop, or a YWIB sticker. Approximately 500-600 children participated in this activity.

For the second activity, each child was given a packet comprised of Twizzlers, Gummy Bears, marshmallows, and toothpicks. With the help of volunteers, each participant made a DNA helix while learning about the composition of DNA – phosphate group, bases, hydrogen bonds, and sugar. Upon completion of the activity, participants could eat their edible DNA helix. Approximately 175 children participated in this event.

YWIB Capital Region had a great turn out for the event, and our activities were well-received by the attendees. One young man who participated in the edible DNA helix activity stated that “it was more fun and engaging than he had anticipated”.

YWIB Capital Region would like to thank the event organizer, Ms. Stacey Baker, AAAS, and the event sponsors – Analog Devices Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Subaru for sponsoring the 2019 Family Science Days. We also would like to thank our YWIB volunteers and high school students who carved out time to support us over the weekend, and helped make the event a success.

Tags:  2019  YWIB 

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WIB-Capital Region's Frederick MAPS Group Visits a Distillery

Posted By Urszula Wojciechowska, Thursday, March 7, 2019

Thanks to effective collaboration with one of the community partners in Frederick, our MAPS members were given a unique opportunity to conduct our monthly MAPS meeting at McClintock, a locally owned gin distillery. Kelly Beazley led and activity based on Lean In curriculum. Surrounded by the aromatic fumes of freshly infused gin, our members engaged in vibrant discussion regarding how we can capitalize on our strengths, activities that energize us, and manage our weaknesses, activities that drain us.Each member created an action plan to start leveraging one of the strengths and neutralize one weakness. We concluded our evening by tasting an insanely delicious Spiced Pear Cordial. We would love to thank McClinctock’s owner, Mr. Braeden Bumpers, for his generosity and for making our MAPS evening so magical.

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Previous Past Event Recaps

Posted By Marsha Morgenstern, Friday, February 15, 2019
Coming soon!

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