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WIB-Southern California: Young Women In Bio – Discovering Drug Development at Ferring Pharmaceuticals, July 28, 2020

Posted By Kristina Herbert , Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Young Women In Bio-Southern California (YWIB-Southern California) was delighted to partner with Ferring Pharmaceuticals in San Diego to host “Discovering Drug Development!” This program was specifically for the summer interns from Scripps Research Institute, who are uniquely taking part in virtual internships from the comfort of their homes all across the country.


20 students logged into Zoom, where they were greeted by the Chair of YWIB-Southern California, Kristina Herbert, Ph. D., who provided a brief introduction to YWIB. She said, “YWIB gives girls today the inspiration and support they need to become tomorrow’s leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).” She emphasized that YWIB strives to provide education and hands-on experiences in STEM and share our passion for all scientific fields, making these activities and workshops available to all students, regardless of gender. However, the mission is to bridge the gender gap in STEM by highlighting successful female scientists that can serve as role models for young women hoping to pursue STEM. She expressed enthusiasm that the new virtual format for events would allow YWIB to reach even more students in the future, potentially not located near one of YWIB’s 13 chapters in North America. Dr. Herbert encouraged participants to attend virtual events hosted by any of these chapters and to explore the various events already available for viewing on the YWIB YouTube channel.


Dr. Jolene Lau, Ph.D., a senior research analyst at Ferring, then welcomed the Scripps interns virtually to the San Diego Ferring site. She shared with students that her own path to Ferring had also involved time at Scripps Research Institute. She researched recombinant viral nanoparticles to earn her Ph. D. in Chemistry. Dr. Lau then provided a quick, but thorough, overview of Ferring the company, the business of drug research and development, the breadth of molecules that are used as drugs, and how these are optimized.


Founded in 1950, Ferring is a privately owned, research-driven specialty biopharmaceutical group headquartered in Switzerland. With a global presence in over 110 countries worldwide, the San Diego based Ferring group is one of 13 research and development centres worldwide, and they specialize in developing drugs for reproductive medicine and maternal health, gastroenterology, and urology. While the San Diego site specializes in preclinical development, Dr. Lau provided an overview of the path a drug must traverse to market. She underscored the types of data that are collected within each phase of a clinical trial, the percentage of drugs that advance through each phase, the number of patients involved in each clinical trial, and the average cost per patient of these trials. The total to bring a drug to market was ~$1.4 billion. Even then she showed that many drugs may not succeed on the market for the following reasons:

  1. Poor timing, perhaps a drug that performs equally well, was available earlier.
  2. The drug does not perform better than previous drugs, one only finds out how well the drug performs compared to the current standard of care in phase III trials after significant investment.
  3. Low patient or doctor interest, the drug must provide a significant advantage over the current standard of care.
  4. Poor business decisions, i.e. pricing blunders or poor marketing strategies.

Because of the significant investment in developing a drug, if it makes it successfully to market, the innovating drug developer is provided a certain level of patent and regulatory protection before generic manufacturers can launch their own products. Given the focus on research and development at the San Diego site, Dr. Lau highlighted that the reinvestment into research and development is a necessity across not just the pharmaceutical industry, but all innovation and technology-driven fields.


Dr. Lau then expressed her regret that the students were not able to break off into groups to tour the laboratories at Ferring but showed some photos of scientists in the labs. She provided a brief description of the cyclic preclinical drug development process pursued at the San Diego site. First, chemists will work to design and synthesize molecules that might become drugs. These molecules will be tested within in vitro biological assays to find the molecules that give the desired result. Those that function in in vitro assays are then optimized for their pharmacokinetic properties, or how they break down in the body, before testing within in vivo animal models to determine whether the drugs improve the symptoms of disease. Molecules may return to the chemists to be redesigned and optimized at any of these multiple steps.


After this incredible summary of the drug development process, the program transitioned to a career panel, moderated by Dr. Herbert. In addition to Dr. Lau, the panel was composed of two additional accomplished women working in different capacities at the San Diego Ferring site. Students were first introduced to Erica Schoeller, Ph.D., a research scientist who works to identify new drug targets in the reproductive medicine and maternal health therapeutic area. As the one panelist that works at the bench, she spoke to the difficulties in conducting lab work in this time of COVID-19. While she does go into the lab, her time there is limited and focused on getting tasks done. She expressed that she misses the ability to interact and discuss science with colleagues casually.

 

On the other hand, Mimika Koletsou, MS, MBA, a senior informatics analyst, currently the business lead for a drug discovery data project and a core member of the global R&D data strategy team, described how the current pandemic has broken down some barriers. With virtual meetings and working from home now the norm, the colleagues she works with from many of Ferring’s sites around the world no longer seem so distant. There is a new sense that everybody is in the same boat; working with remote colleagues is no different than working with somebody on the other side of the country or ocean. Dr. Lau, who students had already heard from, then looked into her day-to-day as a senior analyst. She described that her position entails providing scientific and competitive intelligence to drug discovery teams at Ferring. Thus, she does a lot of reading and computer searches like a detective to uncover articles and information to support her colleagues across multiple therapeutic areas. This work requires her to, rather than be very focused, have extremely broad expertise across the many areas that Ferring works.


There were several important takeaways from the panel discussion. First, the recent advances in technology and regulations requiring data sharing have led to a wealth of available and easily accessible data. Additionally, new experimental techniques and easy access to kits and cell lines mean that research can progress faster. Thus, the volume of papers published has expanded, and we now have easy access to all of these publications. The deluge of information and data available to researchers necessitates that students be versed in data analysis skills that allow them to take advantage of these datasets and/or develop skills to sift through information quickly to avoid data overload. Besides these technical skills, the panelists all agreed that learning to communicate confidently and clearly and is willing to listen with an open mind to people with differing views is essential. Drug development is a team process, and even science in academia is increasingly done in large collaborative teams. Thus, learning to work in groups is essential for a successful career in STEM.


Students were then given an opportunity to hone their teamwork skills by participating in an exercise on drug naming and pitch presentations. Dr. Lau introduced students to the fact that drugs usually have two names, the brand name, and the generic name. The brand name, which is specific to the drug manufacturer, is approved by the FDA, cannot suggest effectiveness, and should not be easily confused with other drug names. Groups were then given eight drug names and indications that they were supposed to pair, without resorting to online searches. Putting themselves in the shoes of a marketing executive and a member of the medical affairs team, they then had to choose one drug with its indication for which to create a marketing tagline and list of benefits to patients, respectively. Teams seemed to use a combination of familiarity with the drugs and simple word association to pair drugs. One team, remarkably, got all eight pairs correct, while another team used stock images found online to convince their peers that their drug was one they wanted to ask their doctor about. The event ended with a Zoom poll to determine the winning marketing tagline and medical affairs groups.


The event was a great success, and everyone expressed their hopes that it can be repeated in the future at Ferring!

Tags:  2020  Past Events  YWIB 

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WIB-Southern California: A Word from the Chair - July/August

Posted By Jennie Starr, Wednesday, July 29, 2020

At the top of my priorities for 2020, is creating new initiatives that provide opportunities to cross pollinate and to network, learn, and build with other WIB members based on interests or specialties. To that end, we have several exciting new initiatives to share. Micro-Communities are a pilot designed to bring our members and prospective members together around specialties. In addition, we have two incredible specialty cohorts - Founder’s Forum and Consultants Peer Group that are unique to our chapter. Each illustrates our commitment to create new opportunities for professionals in Southern California to meet and to enrich the opportunities for our members for meaningful engagement.

 

MICRO-COMMUNITIES

 

WIB Micro-Communities is a new program for men and women to go deeper by specialty of disease or treatment, vertical discipline, or area of interest. Read on and complete our application to join in this initial launch which will run from for the second half of 2020 and please share with your colleagues and friends. Click here to apply.

 

What is a WIB Micro-Community?

Micro-communities are online communities which we believe may inspire new ideas, projects and strengthen connections within a given field. A micro-community may be based on type such as Therapeutics, Diagnostic, Digital Health, treatment/disease area of interest such as Cancer, Dermatology, Neuroscience, or by vertical market such as Diagnostics or Medical Devices.

 

What Micro-Communities Are Available At Launch? 

From August to December 2020, WIB-Southern California will offer five micro-communities. We will add additional micro-communities based on demand, dependent only on the recruitment of co-facilitators. At launch you can select from: Medical Devices, Genomics, Microbiome, Digital Health, and Social Impact.

 

Do I have to Be a Member?  

No, not at first. For micro-communities, like our MAPS program, you can join us twice and after the second meeting we will ask that you become a WIB member to continue. We recognize that you may want to be certain the experience has value for you before committing to membership.  


Are Micro-Communities Only for Women?  

Nope! We hope men and women will participate in these micro-communities and we encourage you to invite colleagues.


Will there be a Micro-Community for X? 

There could be! We are open to the creation of new micro-communities and encourage you to share your ideas. 

 

How Would I Create a WIB Micro-Community? 

  1. Identify two to three co-facilitators
  2. Write a brief description of your micro-community goals (we will give you a template!)
  3. Set a date for your first meeting
  4. We will market the availability of the program
  5. A Slack channel will be created for virtual access between meetings


    Send the info above to SouthernCalifornia@WomenInBio.org to get started!

     

    SPECIALTY COHORT GROUPS

    As many of you know, MAPS has over nine peer groups and two active mentoring circles as well as a vibrant Executive Round Table and Director’s Rising group.  What you may not know is that we offer two specialized peer groups that run year-round. Open to new participants at any time, i.e. rolling admission, they include:


    1. Founder’s Forum - for first time and serial female founders/CEOs of startup life science companies with IP and/or a business entity, including those seeking (dilutive and non-dilutive) funding. This Forum began as a specialty peer group and grew into the WIB Entrepreneur Center. We are privileged to host this group in San Diego, a new Founder’s Forum is being launched on the east coast as well. To learn more email entrepreneurcenter@womeninbio.org

     

    2. Consultants Peer Group - ideal for current consultants and those seeking to establish a practice this group shares tips and skills in a range of areas including marketing, fee structures, targeting prospects, and establishing your business entity. Apply here!

     

    As always, we love to hear from you. Whether you are thinking about getting more involved as a leader, a volunteer or just getting more involved in a program, we hope you will take action and join us. Wishing you all an incredible summer and hope to see you soon. 

    Jennie Starr, Chair
    WIB-Southern California

    Tags:  2020  A word From the Chair 

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    WIB-Southern California: Leadership Spotlight with Sibylle Hauser

    Posted By Jess Alexander, Friday, July 24, 2020

     

    Sibylle Hauser

    How long you have been a WIB member?

    I first signed up with WIB-Southern California at BIO 2014 in San Diego to attend the WIB Pitch Competition. Later, I joined the programming team, which was headed by Julie Fishman at the time. When Jennie Starr was creating the MAPS program here in SOCAL, I volunteered as one of the MAPs Peer Group leaders. The willingness of other members, such as Kristina Manvelian and Annie Kadota, to step up and take leadership roles, was inspiring. Other WIB leaders who influenced me are Lisa Iadicicco, Executive Director of WIB who “jumped” with me when WIB-Entrepreneur Center was offered an opportunity to promote and showcase female founders at a global investor conference; Neelum Aggarwal, MAPS chair, who offered great insights into mentoring start-ups; and Katie Williams, Vice-Chair of MAPS, who is always there with support.



    What you are most excited to have accomplished so far as a WIB member?


    As a member of the Program Committee I helped to engage top global expert speakers as a joint effort with the local WIB team for events including Maya Hu-Chan, global leadership coach and author (“Saving Face” and multiple other books) and Judy Robinett, Start-up Funding expert and author of “Crack the Funding Code” in collaboration with LaunchBio San Diego. It’s been a pleasure collaborating with Jennie Starr on building the mentoring program, MAPS. Back in September 2018 as part of MAPS, I started the Female Founders Peer Group which grew to close to 50 members and now also includes female founders across the U.S. In April 2019 several national WIB leaders had the idea to support female founders in the life sciences with programming and resources on a national basis. The Entrepreneur Center was created with Jennie Starr, Debra Bressaw, and I jumping on board as Co-Chairs back then. The mission and goal is to “move the needle” in equity funding for female founders in the life sciences by offering resources, mentoring, programs and most importantly access to capital.



    What is your vision for WIB this year as Chair of the WIB-Southern California chapter?

    My overall vision is to facilitate access to capital and showcase more of the exceptional female scientists and their high impact projects. Excitingly, we made great strides on this goal in June 2020 by sponsoring a Women Pitch Competition and Innovation Challenge at the global virtual Redefining Early Stage Investments Conference (RESI). Together with Ginger Johnson, our new Vice-Chair, we will continue to build an Advisor/Mentor Network and add more specific programming based on requests from the female founders forum. For the second half of the year, the goal is to attract more co-leaders and start-up mentors like Ginger with synergistic domain expertise. Ideally, the WIB Entrepreneur-Center will be positioned as a potential deal flow source for investors.



    Your comment on science

    I had an early interest in Biochemistry and due to circumstances, I chose the business path. However, I have always stayed connected with scientific and medical innovation. At the age of 15, I started working as an intern at Siemens R&D sector. Getting exposed early to medical innovation and what it takes to bring it to commercialization defined my future path. I believe our health is our wealth. Science and innovation is the key to achieving this health by abandoning silos and including multiple factors of genetics, environment, lifestyle, and beyond to ultimately create a solution with significant potential impact. Capital is usually the most limiting factor. I see my role as supporting these innovative experts to get funding to reach the next milestone and thus I get the privilege of playing a small role in realizing their vision and mission.


    Your comment on women in science

    WIB is a great supporter of women in science, biotech, and related life science industries. WIB leaders have created many programs from STEM to Boardroom Ready to help women succeed in any phase of their career. I personally believe that the mentoring program and forming peer to peer groups are the most powerful “Accelerators.” I feel fortunate to be part of WIB-Southern California which has a great culture of teamwork and supporting each other. Without a great fundraising, programming, and communications team, the growth of the Southern California chapter, like many other WIB chapters, have experienced, would not be possible. There is still lots to do! Let’s “Move the Needle” for Women in the Life Sciences together!


    Tags:  2020  Leadership Spotlight 

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    WIB-Southern California: Virtual Sip & Paint Night, June 30, 2020

    Posted By Gayani R. Weerasinghe, Esq., Thursday, July 16, 2020

    On June, 30 2020, the WIB-Southern California chapter held "Virtual Sip & Paint Night" and invited members across the nation from our sister chapters. The event was organized by WIB volunteer Gayani R. Weerasinghe, co-hosted with Isabel Wen, and Hitomi Taguchi from WIB-Southern California. The virtual painting happy hour guided by a local artist, Kimball Wilson, who is also the owner of Corporate to Canvas, a company facilitating team building for companies and institutions through art. 

     


    Kimball has taught many different skill levels. For this event, she guided eleven members of the group through a champagne toast featuring a DNA double helix with bubbles, specially designed for the WIB group, see pictures below. 

    The event was successful not just attracting WIB-Southern California members, but also members from other regions. Ms. Oumou Diallo, an R&D Scientist, said she was excited to join the WIB virtual event because there wasn't a chapter in Utah, and this allowed her a unique networking opportunity paired with a creative venture. Jessica Lee, a senior executive in clinical R&D, joined the event from far as Philadelphia. Overall, the painting portion lasted 90 minutes and produced some beautiful artwork for our offices or home offices, also an opportunity to relax. If you are interested in painting, Kimball currently provides online events and individual classes, as the COVID19 shutdowns impacted her business. For more information, please click here.

    Tags:  2020  Past Events 

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    YWIB-Southern California: Genomes, Germs, and Jewelry – Part 1: DNA on Display!, July 1, 2020

    Posted By Kristina M Herbert, Wednesday, July 8, 2020
     Young Women In Bio-Southern California’s (YWIB-Southern California's) first of three virtual experiential summer learning events for middle and high school students, entitled “DNA on Display!”, took place last week on Zoom. The event was designed to encourage young women and girls to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) interests and become tomorrow’s leaders that will help to bridge the gender gap and foster diversity in STEM. Over 34 students from more than 20 schools in Southern California and additional locations across the country participated in this event to bring science-themed jewelry to students. Sponsored by Scientist.com and New England Bio Labs, YWIB-Southern California was able to send jewelry and science supplies to registered students so that they would be able to engage in hands-on learning, even in this remote setting. The event featured Julia Picker, Kaitlyn Wang, Lily Pfeizer, April Zou, and Kaley Mafong from Biopolis, a student-run organization at Canyon Crest Academy that engages San Diego youth in exciting experiments in order to ignite an early love of science, as well as Kjerstie Bourne a sale representative at Elim Bio a Contract Research Organization (CRO) that provides a variety of DNA sequencing and purification services.

    Dr. Kristina Herbert – the Chair of YWIB-Southern California initiated the event with a brief introduction to YWIB – telling the audience that “YWIB gives girls today the inspiration and support they need to become tomorrow’s leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).” She expressed enthusiasm that the new virtual format for events would allow YWIB to reach even more students in the future, potentially students not located near one of YWIB’s 13 chapters in North America. Dr. Herbert encouraged participants to attend events at any one of these chapters and gave brief introductions to both the National YWIB Ambassador initiative, launched this past Spring, and the YWIB-Southern California Biotech Influencers program, which will start in the Fall.

    Then Julia and Kaitlyn gave a short introduction to themselves and Biopolis, the science outreach organization the two co-founded. Julia explained that Biopolis was initiated and is still run off of funds the organization earned from a summer 2019 biotech camp they hosted for younger students in their community of Carmel Valley. These funds have allowed them to engage underserved youth in hands-on STEM activities. Biopolis has partnered with Solutions for Change, an organization that provides services to help families escape homelessness, organizing STEM-themed activities for the children, while parents attend meetings or educational services. Kaitlyn also described their partnership with the Children’s Initiative to bring after school STEM activities targeting 4th through 6th graders. Studies have found that if students within this age range develop an interest in STEM during these years, they are much more likely to pursue it later in life. The girls also advertised their new virtual camp for this summer (https://www.projectbiopolis.org/virtual-science-enrichment-classes), the proceeds of which will allow them to continue to do STEM outreach in the Fall.

    The young women of Biopolis were truly inspirational, with each girl Julia, Kaitlyn, Lily, April, and Kaley, describing what excites them about science. Whether it’s the ability to discover something new that nobody has observed before, understanding the world better, being able to help society with the discovery of a drug or vaccine, or getting to work with others towards a common goal, they are all passionate about the work they do in Biopolis. Lily expanded on how working with Biopolis allowed her to discover that communicating and teaching science brings her happiness. Then, Julia and Kaitlyn encouraged students to pursue internships in research labs for the summer, emphasizing the number of e-mails that one might need to send before finally getting a positive response, and Lilly described ways to get involved in STEM within schools.

    Next, the young women of Biopolis described the science of DNA extraction and what each of the steps are designed to accomplish. The dish soap dissolves the fatty cell membranes in order to release the cellular contents, including DNA. Pineapple juice, contact lens solution, or meat tenderizer is added to further degrade the other contents of the cells. Salt is added to neutralize the negatively charged DNA backbone allowing DNA to fold on itself and then isopropyl alcohol is added to finally precipitate the DNA. Julia demonstrated the extraction from her own saliva and then showed students how to add the their very own DNA to the tiny vials that can be worn as a necklace. Kaitlyn showed everyone her extracted DNA necklace from a year ago, thus demonstrating the resilience of DNA!

    At this point, the presentation transitioned to Kjerstie Bourne who described how an infection with Valley Fever as a child, prompted her father, a professor of sociology, to partner with MDs and Phds to initiate a study to learn more about the disease and this experience ignited her love of science. Her love of science and interest in biotechnology stems from a desire to help others. She also emphasized that science has been an amazingly interesting, engaging, and also flexible career for her. She was able to change what she was doing based on her family and children's needs.

    As Kjerstie currently works at a CRO that provides DNA sequencing and purification services, she explained that a CRO provides services for other research organizations, including both biotech and pharmaceutical companies as well as academic researchers. She explained that DNA is being used to trace people’s family history, for genetic testing, and medical diagnostics, as well as forensics, anthropology, paleontology, and archeology. Kjerstie provided insight on the molecular structure of DNA, but then also what DNA looks like when the scientists at Elim Bio receive it from researchers. Researchers often add circular DNA constructs called plasmids to bacteria to propagate and produce lots more of a particular DNA sequence; so Elim often gets DNA in bacteria either grown on agar plates, pelleted to the bottom of small Eppendorf tubes, or grown in culture in 96 well plates. Bacteria can also be provided in glycerol which can be frozen and woken up to grow later. Finally, DNA can also be extracted like the Biopolis young women showed us and dried in a tube. For their clients, Elim might then either purify the desired DNA from the bacteria in a quick format called a mini-prep or they might perform additional purification processes to ensure the DNA is free of bacteria known as endotoxins so that the DNA can be used in vivo without promoting an immune response to the bacteria. Elim also provides DNA sequencing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) services. Since the next YWIB-Southern California summer series event, is going to focus on DNA sequencing technology, Kjerstie rather showed a wonderful video to demonstrate the way in which PCR allows one to amplify a specific sequence of DNA to create a ton of copies.

    The event ended with Biopolis, Kjerstie, and Kristina fielding questions about DNA extraction. It was noticed, for example, that the color of the dish soap influences the color of the extracted DNA, so students were encouraged to try different things to optimize their own DNA extractions!

    Tags:  2020  Past Events  YWIB 

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    WIB-Southern California Chapter Panel Discussion on BIO Digital - What Makes SoCal a Leading Hub?, June 12, 2020

    Posted By Rashmi Mishra, Tuesday, June 23, 2020

    On June 12, the WIB-Southern California chapter held a virtual panel discussion as part of BIO Digital, "What Makes SoCal a Leading Hub?". The event was organized by WIB volunteers Talia Hight, Alexa Tralla, and Jennie Starr. The event featured four speakers, Elizabeth Gibson, Vice President of Marketing, Programs and Talent, CLSA, Dr. David H. Crean, Managing Director at Objective Capital Partners, Dr. Lisa Haile, Partner at DLA Piper, and Julio de Unamuno IV, Founder and CEO of LabFellows, and was moderated by Julie Fishman, also a WIB volunteer. The 100+ people who attended virtually were inspired by Southern California’s scientific ecosystem and how it continues to grow. This WIB-Southern California event was supported by our generous BIO digital sponsors: including Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Horizon, LifeSci Partners, and Stephanie Seidman, Ph.D., JD.


    Julie started the discussion drawing attention to Southern California, which stretches across Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego and is a notable hub of unique start-ups, major pharma companies, and premier scientific research institutes that attracts educated and scientific minds to the area and results in a rich talent pool supporting innovation. Elizabeth pointed out that during this time of pandemic which has slowed down the entire world, the people in life science are lucky to be essential to finding the cure. Lisa added, “Innovation does not stop for a pandemic but rather fuels it.” In these times, there is a need to acquire new skill sets, collaborate to hire multi-talented peers, and come up with innovative ideas. Julio pointed out it’s important to act together as a scientific community towards a common goal, to be adaptive and mentioned one thing he’s working towards is helping to add lab automation techniques to work smartly remotely. David commented on the current environment on investments and forecast that the second and third quarter will be affected. He says innovative technology is the key to attract investors. Lisa agreed and noted that much of the value of a company is in its intellectual property and patents. In unison, the speakers believed the SoCal region has the right tools and scientific minds to make a difference in the pandemic.

    The viewers were reminded even beyond the pandemic: SoCal is a leading hub owing to its profound diversity, leadership skills, source of talents for all organizational stages, sustainable workforce, and geographical density. Elizabeth remarked, “Diversity is becoming a critical piece of success for any organization.” Julio shared the statistic that 73% of founders in the smartlab accelerators powered by LabFellows are women or minorities. Success in the life sciences in SoCal reflects diverse founders, CEOs, and even diverse industries from synthetic biology consumer start-ups to bio-packaging, pet oncology to vaccines. The diversity of SoCal’s scientific landscape is ideal and hosts perfect opportunities to grow.

    The session ended with key recommendations each speaker made for people who are coming to the area to do business or for job opportunities. Lisa advised that continuing to educate the local and state officials is invaluable to build support for life science in the area. Julio and David highlighted that Southern California forms a tight-knit community where leaders are approachable for networking to raise the human capital. Elizabeth reminded the audience to build and look for hybrid talents with a diversity of experience.


    WIB-Southern California is grateful to these four talented and knowledgeable speakers for sharing their views on how SoCal is a leading hub and how to continue the growth. For more information or to contact the speakers please see the LinkedIn page of Elizabeth Gibson, David H. Crean, Dr. Lisa Haile, and Julio de Unamuno IV.


    Tags:  2020  Past Events 

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    WIB-Southern California on Resilience: Let’s Get Stronger Together, May 20, 2020

    Posted By Jess Alexander, Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    On May 20, the WIB-Southern California chapter held "Resilience: Let’s Get Stronger Together" as a virtual event. The event was organized by WIB volunteers Debra Hammill and Kristina Manvelian.  The event was moderated by Julie Fishman who welcomed two motivational speakers and coaches, Sarita Maybin and Analia Mendez. The 31 people who attended virtually learned timely lessons about strategies to build and demonstrate resilience, the ability to adapt in the face of adversity. WIB-Southern California’s events are supported by all our generous sponsors, including Rho who was featured at this event.

    Click here for more photos

    Julie started the discussion by observing that all at once everyone is being affected at the same time by the pandemic. The speakers reminded participants that they have the skillset required to manage through this and it’s time to let go of being a perfectionist and be better about being kind to yourself. Sarita discussed using a mantra such as “I’ve done it before, I can do it again.” Remind yourself of other situations in which you have successfully adapted.  Analia pointed out that now is the time to lead by looking out for others and acknowledging people’s feelings.

    Clear communication was a common thread for leading people through this, obtaining the information needed to face uncertainties, and finding the opportunities to contribute in new ways and grow.  Times of uncertainty when one’s resilience is tested can lead to profound personal growth.  This is not business as usual so take a look at your “Someday I will …” list and use this opportunity to tackle something whether it’s a training in an area you have always wanted to learn or to raise your hand to take on a project. 

    The session ended with key things each speaker personally practices to remain resilient and positive.  Analia focused on being grateful and giving back by helping people.  Sarita had five things to keep one’s fire burning bright which were 1) set a worthy, juicy goal such as writing a book, 2) serve others, 3) teach and learn to stay motivated, 4) practice gratitude, and 5) spend time doing something that gives you energy.

    WIB-Southern California is grateful to these two talented women for sharing their strategies for realizing resilience.  For more information or to contact the speakers please see Sarita’s LinkedIn page, https://www.linkedin.com/in/saritamaybin/ and Analia’s webpage, https://www.signaturecareers.org/ where for a limited time WIB members can request a free copy of her e-resume template collection.

    Tags:  2020  Past Events 

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    WIB-Southern California: MAPS Business Operations Fireside Chat, May 28, 2020

    Posted By Amy Hopkin, Monday, June 8, 2020


    On May 28, 2020 the WIB-Southern California chapter held "MAPS Business Operations Fireside Chat" virtually on Zoom. The event was organized and moderated by WIB leader Isabel Wen, and brought together a fascinating panel of speakers with Patti Haller, Julia Hill, Haley Kim, and Gayani Weersinghe. The 26 people who attended learned about the various roles within business development that our speakers have had and the ways they navigated their careers to take a step away from the bench and towards the operations side of industry. One key take-away from the group was that our panelists were all very intentional with their job transitions and sought out opportunities based on personal evaluations of their strengths and by identifying the parts of their jobs they valued most.




    Patti Haller, who is currently Director of Technical Operations CMC at Retrophin, shared with the group how her desire to be closer to the patient experience led her to transition to a company that treats rare diseases and into a role where she could interact directly with patients. Julia Hill, who is currently a Research Project Manager at GNF, shared that once she realized that for her the most fulfilling part of being a research scientist was the planning and strategizing on how to approach a project opposed to the actual running of the experiments, she sought out the opportunity to transition into project management. In this role she shepards projects from an early stage idea into a tangible plan, which has been very satisfying. Haley Kim, currently a Business Development Associate at Axiom Real-Time Metrics, shared that as she honed her networking skills, she realized it was enjoyable and something she excelled at and found that a role in business development would allow her to utilize this skill. A want for a manageable work life balance and autonomy lead Gayani Weersinghe, a business law and IP attorney at her private practice, to start her own business and launch her YouTube channel, Inventive Mind.

    It was a pleasure to hear that all the panelists felt that while each role has its own unique challenges, overall their new role exceeded their expectations. When asked about what advice they would give current job seekers looking to transition in a Business Operations role, their answers included identifying positions that align with your interests and then figure out what skills are needed for that and look for opportunities to gain them. Also finding a mentor and a sponsor was suggested as well as the advice to not be afraid to try something out and if it isn't the right fit for you look for another opportunity. Finally attendees were given the opportunity to join a breakout room with one of the panelists to continue the conversations, which were lively and insightful!

    Tags:  2020  Past Events 

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    WIB-Southern California: Member Benefits – Virtual Tech Tools Demos (Zoom, Slack, Social Link), May 8, 2020

    Posted By Isabel Wen, Monday, May 18, 2020

    On May 8, 2020, the WIB-Southern California chapter held "Member Benefits – Virtual Tech Tools Demos (Zoom, Slack, Social Link)" online. The event was organized by WIB leaders Jennie Starr and Isabel Wen. Due to popular demand, Jennie demonstrated benefits and features of online networking tools Zoom, Slack, and Women In Bio's Social Link. The 24 attendees tuned in from San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston, learned useful tips on how to host a Zoom meeting like a pro, and how to engage directly with other WIB members over Slack and Social Link.



    The meeting kicked off with Jennie's top 3 tips for hosting virtual events on Zoom before diving into further details of how to set up Zoom meetings for presentations and events, including the nuances of the setting configurations when creating and managing meeting invitations, and how to avoid ever having unwanted attendees.

    Tip #1: Use your phone to connect to audio. Usually your phone audio will remain stable even if your internet is not. This way, you can make sure you don't miss anything. You can also pair your phone audio with your computer by entering your participant ID from the computer session, located on the top left of your Zoom window.

     
    Tip #2: Always have a partner in crime. If you are presenting or facilitating a discussion, it helps to have at least one other person in the meeting who will co-host with you to help manage participants. It will make the meeting much more efficient and allow one person to stay focused on presenting and the other on administration.

    Tip #3: Use your Host features, especially for 15 or more participants. You can manage the audio of all participants by muting/unmuting and managing participant capabilities such as unmuting themselves or screen sharing.

    Then we discussed the wonderful benefits to Women In Bio's Social Link, exclusive to WIB members only. In Social Link, members have access to the entire WIB directory of members, can see & share posts with their local chapter or nationally, and choose to share professional profiles to find members with specific shared interests. It's a great way for members to connect with each other with intention. WIB leaders also have access to national resources for their committees on best practices and other helpful tools.

    Jennie provided an overview of Slack and why it is beneficial to our chapter. Slack creates an intentional space for quick communication with members of the WIB-Southern California community, preventing email overload and allowing sharing of resources in an organized fashion. There are topic-based and group-based channels including channels for job board, MAPS peer groups, and networking, as well as direct messaging individuals. The extended Slack community for WIB-Southern California is a membership benefit. If you are a member of WIB-Southern California and you have not yet requested Slack access, you can do so by e-mailing southerncalifornia@womeninbio.org.

    Finally before closing out the lunch hour, we demonstrated Zoom's Breakout Rooms feature so that attendees had an opportunity to experience it firsthand if they had not before. This is an extremely powerful tool that Zoom provides and allows participants a chance to discuss in small groups while staying on the call within a larger event.

    The session was recorded. WIB members can access the recording here.

    Tags:  2020  Past Events 

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    WIB-Southern California: Member Spotlight with Jennie Starr, JD, MA

    Posted By Jess Alexander, Tuesday, May 12, 2020

     

    Jennie Starr, JD, MA 

    How long you have been a WIB member?

    I joined WIB in 2017 for the laser focus on life science and biotech. Monthly educational programs are high quality and my regional network has expanded exponentially. I have been a member of our Del Mar and Director’s Rising group since their inception, benefiting from a community that is down to earth and generous. WIB is entrepreneurial which I really like. We have piloted programs designed for our region’s needs such as our Founder’s Forum for startup first time CEOs created by Sybille Hauser, and our Executive Round Table which I designed with Talia Hight and Ellen Lubman. I Chair a National committee where we share best practices for Executive programs across chapters; it is meaningful to see how rapidly we can have an impact across the country together. We can see our progress fueling the development of strong human capital in the region’s life science industry and contributing to the pipeline of women candidates in management teams and boards. 



    What you are most excited to have accomplished so far as a WIB member?

    Alyssa Masters, our Chair emeritus, gave me the unique leadership opportunity to found and then expand the MAPS professional development program. I recruited 30+ of the most amazing women who have contributed incredibly to making MAPS what it is today. We began with a few peer groups, and within a few years expanded to three distinct programs with 400+ applicants and an average of 150-200 active monthly participants. At least nine peer groups meet in San Diego, but also in Irvine and Los Angeles (W. Hollywood, Pasadena, and Torrance). Our Mentoring Circles support individual growth plans and the Executive Round Table for Sr. VPs and C-Level professionals is a powerhouse on-going cohort. It is gratifying to see the interest in these programs and we will be expanding them and opening new unique programs to meet demand. 



    What is your vision for WIB this year as Chair of the WIB-Southern California chapter?

    The women in our community are inspiring and I’m always amazed women with similar interests haven’t met each other yet. I am committed to breaking down barriers and finding ways to introduce people with similar interests, fix resource challenges, introduce the entrepreneur to the grant writer, connect women with similar areas of interest like rare disease, or microbiome. My dream is to create such meaningful relationships we can launch new businesses and drive life science innovation. All my strategic goals for the year relate to deepening relationships and making meaningful connections between our members. 



    Your comment on science

    I am not a scientist, but I work in life sciences and biotech to support the brilliant and passionate men and women who push the envelope leveraging their understanding of science to improve the human condition. I don’t “do science” but I am passionate about supporting those that do and helping to get their solutions out the door to benefit society at large. 



    Your comment on women in science

    Women breathe life, curiosity, creativity, heart, and balance into science in so many ways. The intellectual curiosity, passion and drive, strength in building and nurturing teams, and unique leadership skills all lead to the success of companies in life science. Empowering women to excel, advance, innovate, become entrepreneurs, and take leadership roles is critical. It’s a privilege to be a part of opening doors and providing programs that connect and professionally develop Southern California’s women to success. 


    Tags:  2020  Leadership Spotlight 

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