Posts Tagged Morrison & Forester

Women in Biotech

Women in Biotech

EPPIC is an organization that promotes networking, entrepreneurship and mentoring for life science professionals, and is dedicated to creating US-India life science synergy and partnering opportunities.  EPPIC annual meeting will be on January 6, 2013 and to register, please go to .

Recently EPPIC held an interesting event “women in biotech” to hear the perspectives of the prominent women leaders from the industry. As a Diversity and Inclusion Trainer, I found this event very enlightening.  Anula Jayasuriya, Managing Director with Evolvence India Life Science Fund and Invascent Advisory moderated the event.  Jayasuriya shared some interesting stats.  For instance, do you know that 7.1% of successful companies have women executives versus 3.1% of unsuccessful companies?  Jayasuriya asked some pointed questions of the panelists and the responses were equally insightful.

All the panelists talked about the importance of some really good mentors, in their career progression.  Their mentors helped them see their true potential early on in their careers, and guided them during key phases in their careers.  When asked, if they felt excluded from existing networks, the panelists seemed to agree that they frequently experienced being excluded, during early stages in their careers.  Debra Riesenthel, Consultant and Former CEO of Novasys Medical, shared that while men frequently had activities like golf that they shared, during company events, their wives went on shopping trips, and she was often mistaken for an admin.  While “men get promoted on potential, women often get promoted on performance”, said Reisenthel.  Karen Drexler, Founder & Chair of the Board at Cellscape, agreed and said, women often feel they have to be better than men to be recognized”.  According to Sara Kenkara-Mitra, Vice President of Development Sciences at Genentech, there is a subtle bonding and camaraderie that exists among men because of their ongoing banter and playful competitiveness, whereas women do not do well, in that area.  She advised, women find their voice and get comfortable in speaking up.  Janet (Jian) Xiao, Partner with Life Science Group at Morrison & Forester, Palo Alto (host for the evening event), said, often when men say something it looks real but when women say something it has to be real.  According to Daria Mochly-Rosen, Senior Associate Dean and George D. Smith Professor of Translational Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, women often cannot afford the time to hang around and engage in small talk.  However, this also gives an advantage to women, she said.  Women have to disengage and switch off to focus on other priorities like picking up children, thinking about meal preparation and that often gives them an ability to approach the task with renewed perspective and sharper focus.  Kenkara-Mitra observed that while exclusion can be a barrier, things are changing rapidly and women should not consider it a major barrier.

The panelists discussed issues like differences between male versus female bosses in terms of how they relate to their bosses and the bosses’ perceptions of them.  They also shared the role of their life partners or spouses, in their career.  It seemed, almost all of the panelists had a strong and steadfast spouse who strongly supported them in their careers in various ways, including handling meals, childcare, and at times, even taking a back seat in their own careers.  The panel ended with panelists sharing their observations on how diversity of perspectives and styles enriches the workplace and makes the workplace better for everyone.  The panelists shared advise and tips on how women can progress in their careers.  These included, seeking guidance from a mentor to becoming a good listener to finding a voice and speaking up to being a keen observer.

For more information and to register for EPPIC annual conference, go to .  For information in “Diversity & Inclusion Training for Effective Global Business Practice”. please contact me at wd_darshana@ hotmail dot com and please click the link below for other similar article on diversity and inclusion in medical device company, Medtronic — .

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