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WIB-Chicago: The Journey to being Board Member - A Personal Story and Practical Advice, February 27,2020

Posted By Alicja Santos, PhD, Abbott, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

WIB-Chicago held an exceptional event on February 27, featuring Sharon Ayd, an accomplished healthcare industry executive and corporate board member. Sharon shared her experiences and advice on becoming and being a woman on a company board. The story was personal - Sharon walked through her motivations for joining a board, talked about obstacles and discouragements of the process as well as emphasized the need for more female board members. Sharon also talked about the role of Executive Women In Bio’s exclusive development program - Boardroom Ready - that was one of the tools that started her corporate board member adventure. Words of advice and encouragement from Sharon resonated well with the audience. The subject sparked many questions and comments with an extended Q&A session. The uplifting message of the evening was that the landscape in corporate boardroom is chaining also. Some countries require female participation at a certain percentage on the boards of publicly listed companies. As of the end of 2019, California requires all publicly traded companies with headquarters in the state to have at least one woman on their boards. With more female board members companies can address needs of female costumers more efficiently. At the same time, women can put their expertise to work and reinforce the trend of incorporating diversity representing society. 

WIB-Chicago could not be more grateful to Sharon and to our sponsors, especially Medmarc, that made this event possible! We have the highest hopes for many Women In Bio to join and serve on board boards so that companies are diverse and successful like never before! 

Tags:  2020 

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WIB-Chicago: Top of the Mountain Leadership, January 30, 2020

Posted By Amanda Schalk, PhD. EnzymebyDesign, Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Tiffany Prince gave an exceptional talk on leadership at the Women In Bio event on January 30, 2020. Attendees received her book "Top of the Mountain Leadership: The Future of Performance and Productivity in a Technology Changing World". In the science world where scientific achievements and promotions are not always accompanied by training in management skills, the relevance of the topic of leadership hit home for the audience. Going over the various general styles of leadership, people were able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their own main leadership styles with tips on implementation to achieve maximum success for their professional goals and inspiring their teams. Consisting of both presentation and group participation, attendees were able to discuss their own real-life examples of factors limiting leadership outcomes, how various attributes associated with leadership have positive and negative effects on teams, and how being able to exercise a breadth of leadership styles maximizes the potential for team engagement. In addition, fabulous prizes were offered that included free personal coaching sessions with the speaker. This was an excellent session for people at various stages in professional development, for those already in charge of teams to lead even more effectively and those currently members of teams to lead their own teams in the future. It was a fun-filled evening focused on personal and professional growth on a topic that is always at the forefront of relevance. 

Click here for more photos 

Tags:  2020 

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WIB Success Story: WIB-Chicago Startup Challenge Leads to Mentorship for Hubly Co-Founder & CEO: Casey Grage

Posted By Marsha Morgenstern, Friday, November 22, 2019

Casey Grage

Hubly Co-Founder & CEO


On September 18, 2019, Casey Grage pitched her company Hubly Inc. at the Women In Bio Startup Challenge in Chicago. “I’m Casey, CEO of Hubly,” she began. “We are a medical device company with the goal of modernizing bedside neurosurgery.”

Over the next seven minutes, she explained how the most common neurosurgery is the bedside skull puncture, for which failure means stroke, hemorrhage, brain infection, or death. The skull puncture fails up to 50% of the time. This is because it relies on a free-hand, hand-crank drill without any features for guidance or stability. To achieve its mission of modernizing neurosurgery, Hubly’s first product is a novel patent-pending drilling system for use in the bedside skull puncture. Casey and her team invented what they call a Ventri Drill to include plunge protection and guidance. These features for accuracy and safety will reduce human suffering and financial burden in an $8 billion market.

One of the members of the judging panel was Dr. Nancy Harvey. Nancy has a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Caltech and an MBA from Wharton. Over the past 30 years, she has served as CEO of TenFold (acquired by Versata), CEO of Wolfram Solutions, Executive Director of Wolfram Research, President of various subsidiaries at MacNeal Health Services Corporation, and Managing Director of the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. In her free time, she volunteers as a board member at Women In Bio-Chicago, an accelerator review board member at Chicago Biomedical Consortium, and a venture mentor at MATTER.

Hubly intrigued her.

Casey emailed Nancy following the pitch to ask for feedback, and their close mentorship immediately launched. From that event in September through the present, Nancy and Casey have met for lunch every two weeks and emailed consistently throughout. Nancy has helped Casey refine her deck, apply for (and get into) accelerators, negotiate better deals with accelerators, effectively lead her team, make difficult decisions, and everything in between.

“[Nancy] has been absolutely instrumental in helping me build my company,” said Casey. “Having Nancy, a mentor whose intentions and professional opinions I can trust without hesitation, has been crucial to my ability to get sh*t done and get it done right.”

When mentor and mentee had lunch last week, Nancy remarked on the progress Hubly had made in such a short time. “When I saw Casey’s pitch two months ago, I already thought [Hubly] was going to make it . . . But now, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind.”

What impresses Nancy most about Casey is her drive and intelligence. Casey published a full-length novel at the age of 10 before spearheading a decade-long, successful campaign to install solar panels in her school district. Years later as a neuroengineer, her fervent passion for health technology materialized when she co-founded and became CEO of Hubly. To pursue the company full-time, she completed two majors in just three years, turned down a Columbia graduate degree program, and left a six-figure salary ...all at the age of 20.

“I’ve been privileged to work with some very talented and successful individuals," says Nancy on her decades of experience as a highly successful, multi-time founder/CEO/advisor. She then added, “Casey is the most promising first-time leader I have ever worked with.”


Tags:  2019  Success Story 

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WIB-Chicago: Women and Investing: Managing Your Financial Health. Do Women Invest Differently Than Men?, October 16, 2019

Posted By Shahila Christie , Tuesday, October 22, 2019
The Chicago Chapter of Women In Bio hosted a great event on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. Julie Lopez, Vice President, Merrill Lynch led a discussion on women's financial health, especially regarding what's different, financially, for women and how do women invest differently than men. The audience included members and their guests from a variety of career stages, all the way from post-docs to senior executives. Julie provided tips to empower investment decisions through various life stages, including the fundamentals of risk management. Women entrepreneurs also benefited from the advice Julie provided during the program. The discussion was lively and interactive! The event was held at CARA, a not-for-profit organization that helps Chicago's unemployed find gainful employment. Gotta B Crepes was on-site with their founder, Ryan Jones cooking up sweet and savory crepes for our attendees and Eric Scott was at the meeting to provide head shots and capture the event with his photography services. Everything added up to be a great event for WIB-Chicago and we are most appreciative to Merrill Lynch for their sponsorship of our Chapter!

Tags:  2019 

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WIB-Chicago: Special Event - Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Business, July 31, 2019

Posted By Nancy Tyrrell , Tuesday, October 15, 2019

On July 31, WIB-Chicago proudly hosted Chris Guillebeau, a New York Times Bestselling Author and the creator of the "Side Hustle School" podcast. Chris talked about inspirational real-life stories featuring teachers, artists, coders, and entire families who've found ways to create new sources of income. He presented our audience with steps for launching a side hustle, from identifying underserved markets to crafting unique products and services that spring from our passions. WIB-Chicago members have unique talents and were inspired to join the ranks of these innovative entrepreneurs--making money on the side. We provided our members with a personally signed copy of Chris’ 100 Side Hustles book.

Click here for more photos

Over 100 people attended this special event. In addition to WIB members, attendees included other Chicago area entrepreneurs and groups such as Women in IP, Illinois Women Conquer Alzheimer's, University of Chicago Women’s Life Sciences Society, CHIentist, and Chicago Women in STEM Initiative. Chris included this event in his podcast and in his outreach to his followers. As a bonus, CBS “This morning” flew a crew from New York to film the event! Here is a link to the clip aired on TV.

Tags:  2019 

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WIB-Chicago: Standing Room Only at the Women In Bio Fifth Annual Start-Up Challenge! September 18, 2019

Posted By Shahila Christie, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

On September 18, 2019, Women In Bio-Chicago invited female entrepreneurs, investors, and life science professionals to our 5th Annual Start-Up Challenge hosted at MATTER, Chicago’s health tech hub. Six finalists from women-led Illinois biotech companies were chosen from a pool of applicants and these finalists pitched to a panel of experts and a packed audience. The presenting companies included:

  • Sano Seat: providing a solution to patients with mobility issues that face painful and costly pressure ulcers.
  • Hubly: focused on modernizing bedside intracranial access through an integrated electric drill system that decreases operating room reliance and facilitates treatment for emerging indications.
  • Prenatal Hope: providing hope for families through reducing infant mortality with biomedical innovations. 
  • Enzyme by Design, Inc: developing safer cancer therapeutics that improves patient quality of life. 
  • Curto TechTM, LLC: develops low-cost, low-tech, and low-hassle endoscopic accessory to improve colonoscopy procedural safety and efficiency. 
  • ClostraBio: creating therapies to treat severe food allergies. 


The presentations were of high quality and after much deliberation, our panel selected Prenatal Hope as the winner of the Challenge. Founder Tammy Dorsey accepted the award. After the pitches, lively discussions and networking continued while the audience enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks. 

This pitch competition is one of its kind in the Chicagoland area focused on promoting women-led companies and judged by a panel of women experts including investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators. 

Special thanks go to our lead sponsors Horizon Pharma, Marshall Gerstein, and MATTER for supporting this event. In addition to our amazing sponsors we would also like to thanks our expert panel for their time: Shradha Agarwal (Jumpstart Ventures), Kristin Fox (Co-founder, FinFoundHer), Nancy Harvey (BioPharma Industry Consultant), Dima Elissa (Entrepreneur, VisMed-3D), and Laura Bloem (UICenter, University of Illinois at Chicago). 

Tags:  2019 

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Previous Past Event Recaps

Posted By Marsha Morgenstern, Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Click here for Women In Bio Chicago 2018 Past Events 

Click here for Women In Bio Chicago 2017 Past Events 

Click here for Women In Bio Chicago 2016 Past Events

Tags:  2016  2017  2018 

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