Fighting for diversity in the workplace is more than a “feel good” or “the right thing to do” proposition. Indeed, an environment of inclusion often broadens the talent pool and perspective of companies which, in turn, can make those companies more successful. Today we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) which encourages the world to open its eyes to the valuable contributions women make every day.
The theme of this year’s IWD, #BalanceforBetter, is reflected in the exceptional women in biotech who are advancing cutting-edge science, business and innovation, and leading by example for the next generation of the biotech industry.
At this year’s 2019 BIO International Convention – June 3-6 in Philadelphia, PA – we’ll be joined onstage by several powerful women in science, including a session aimed at addressing the issues that stand in the way of achieving gender diversity in the biotech industry. The session, “Changing the game: Breaking down barriers and stereotypes and building up the next generation,” will feature:
- Moderator: Rachel King, BIO Board member and CEO of GlycoMimetics. King, a Dartmouth and Harvard graduate, co-founded Glycomimetics, Inc. (GMI) in 2003 and has been President and CEO since. Before founding GMI, King saw Genetic Therapy, Inc. through the company’s early stage, initial public offering and eventual sale to Novartis, when she was named CEO and ran the company as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Novartis. She later became the Senior Vice President of Novartis and then went on to serve as an Executive in Residence at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the nation’s leading venture capital firms. King attributes her success to a sincere love for working in biotech, excellent mentoring, and a willingness to learn and be open minded both about people and about science.
- Nancy Simonian, President and CEO of Syros. Dr. Simonian was drawn to Syros by the company’s innovative science and disruptive approach to thinking about diseases. She became President and CEO in 2013, the most recent move in a distinguished career path that began as a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and has rocketed through executive ranks of Biogen Inc. and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. Simonian welcomes tough challenges and believes that the key to success is to hire great people, foster a culture of innovation and collaboration, and always focus on the patients.
The challenges to diversity are numerous and range from combating negative stereotypes to spearheading change in outdated family leave programs. By facing these issues head-on and encouraging an open and candid conversation, the biotech industry can evolve. A gender-balanced workplace helps ensure that the biotech industry is poised to achieve revolutionary breakthroughs by encouraging talent retention and keeping the workforce competitive.
The success and future of the biotech industry is contingent on the diversity of our people’s ideas, backgrounds, ethnicities, race, gender and sexual orientation. The populations we serve are diverse, and our industry should reflect that. BIO is committed to championing #BalanceforBetter for today’s generation and those to come, confident that together we can achieve even greater innovation than ever before.