Entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and investors in Connecticut have contributed significantly to innovative bioscience expansion over the past decade. Ranking fourth for innovation by Bloomberg, with top scores in patent activity, productivity and research and development, the state has become a nucleus of talent, innovation and bioscience advances. This current landscape shows excellent promise for women in the life sciences.
According to BioCT, Connecticut ranks second for academic R&D investments in bioscience, fourth for bioscience patents per 1,000 people, fourth for venture capital R&D investments in bioscience, and sixth in the number of scientists and engineers in the workforce. Therefore, it is only natural that Women In Bio (WIB), a national organization of professionals committed to promoting the careers, leadership and entrepreneurship of all women in the life sciences, chose Connecticut as home to its 14th and newest chapter in North America this past February.
"The Connecticut life sciences ecosystem has affirmed its footing in the biotech community, and the women leading the new WIB-Connecticut chapter have worked tirelessly to build a strong community of life science leaders with a bright future," said Kayla Valdes, Ph.D., WIB President, and Board Chair.
Susan Sobolov, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer at Caelum Biosciences, is excited to be leading this new chapter as its Chair and working with the chapter steering committee to bring the WIB’s Mission to all women across Connecticut.
"When I started in the industry, I heard the statistic that only 20% of leaders were women. This was attributed to the low rate of women entering the field. A recent report showed about 46% of entering employees are now women, yet only 28% of leadership roles are currently held by women," Sobolov said.
WIB-Connecticut provides career and personal development programming to cultivate the pipeline of women scientists in Connecticut and support their advancement and retention to supply the state's growing biotech industry.
"Innovation and creativity thrive through collaboration and networks; however, many of these biotech networks are traditional and male-dominated. The launch of WIB-Connecticut is bringing together micro-networks of women who can unite across Connecticut to identify and increase the visibility of talented women scientists," said Morag Grassie Ph.D., WIB-Connecticut Membership Co-Chair.
Grassie is also a leader with the new Yale initiative, amplifyHERscience, which encourages women faculty to extend the impact of their research beyond academia and join the bio-entrepreneurial ecosystem at the same rate as their male colleagues.
"My goal of connecting the WIB-Connecticut and amplifyHERscience networks to feed the pipeline of talent is a win-win for Connecticut," Grassie added.
WIB-Connecticut's kickoff event: Connecting Women Across CONNECTicut takes place virtually on April 20, at Noon, Eastern Daylight Time. The event will bring the perspectives of panelists from pharma, academia, and the BioCT organization, including moderator: Dr. Monica Kolinsky, Council, Wiggin and Dana LLP; Dawn Hocevar, President/CEO, BioCT; Dr. Linda Barry, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, UConn Health; Dr. Melissa Lasaro, Director, In vitro/In Vivo Pharmacology, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and Dr. Anne-Marie Carbonell, Co-Founder, CEO, and Chief Medical Officer, OncoSynergy.
"It is very exciting to see a WIB chapter form in Connecticut. The women in the Connecticut Bio ecosystem are very passionate, involved and eager to support women in their careers. It is a tremendous acknowledgment and recognition to the growth of the bio industry here in Connecticut," Hocevar said.
Along with the other panelists, Hocevar will address critical areas where connecting with others in the life sciences, particularly women, has made a difference in their professional and personal development. Participants will also learn about Women In Bio, a nonprofit founded in 2002 to support women employed in the field of life sciences from the classroom to the boardroom. (The event is free; an optional donation is appreciated.)
WIB-Connecticut is proud to launch with the support of Founding Sponsors: Marcum LLP, Metrum Research Group, and Wiggin and Dana LLP. WIB-Connecticut also thanks Community Sponsors Connecticut Innovations and Trevi Therapeutics. For more information, visit https://www.womeninbio.org/Connecticut.