Next Generation Bioscience Leaders Featured in Claremont Courier
Conference gives boost to female biotech leaders
The biotech industry is growing. At the same time, the number of women who are looking to be leaders in the growing field is also increasing.
Keck Graduate Institute and Smith College Executive Education for Women recently joined forces to give 36 female bioscience leaders from across the nation, and even internationally, an extra boost when the schools put on the Next Generation Bioscience Leaders Conference, held in Claremont from January 13-18.
"We have planned this for a couple of years and began to plan in earnest 12 months ago,” said Diana Bartlett, director of corporate partnerships at KGI. “This came about through a connection between Scripps College and Smith College, which is how we partnered with Smith. There’s a trustee of Smith that is an alum of Scripps.”
The 5-day conference, which featured a collaboration between KGI and Smith, consisted of a curriculum designed to assist the potential female managers in developing a strategic mindset while also learning lessons critical to organizational and career success. KGI’s specialty─being in developing business leaders in bioscience and Smith’s expertise coming in strategic leadership development for women─ultimately created the balance that set the tone for the conference.
Casa 425 as well as the KGI and Scripps campuses were used as venues during the event. The participants were women at least 6 through 12 years into their respective bioscience careers who are seeking to assume higher-level management positions.
“The bioscience world has a number of women in the workforce,” Ms. Barlett said. “Many women go into the field of science and want to work in that field while making strides up the corporate ladder.”
Judy Heyboer, a member of the KGI board of trustees who has more than 30 years in the field of life science, was one of the key speakers during the event that brought about an assortment of leaders in the bioscience field. On Friday, she gave a nearly 80-minute lecture that encouraged the women to examine their own professional potential in order to increase their effectiveness in the workplace.
Other topics within the lecture included dealing with difference personality types, leadership presence, defining one’s role and how to set expectations. The presentation had a personal feel to it as Ms. Heyboer used a myriad of real-life examples in order to get her points across to the participants.
“I’m giving them pragmatic advice about how to move yourself along as a leader,” Ms. Heyboer explained. “It was a great group of people [that we had] and you could sense that. They were interested in learning and were also eager and engaged. I believe they are really going to make a difference for the companies they work for.”
During the conference, the participants also became familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a questionnaire designed as a personality inventory to make the theory of psychological types described by C.G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The MBTI tool was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers in the 1940s and is taken by more than two million people throughout the world annually.
Linda Castle, who works as a research director for a biotech company in northern California, found the conference to be a good reinforcement for good business practices and also acquired a significant amount of knowledge that she feels she can put into practical use.
“I thought the conference was very good and very professional─there was a lot of information and really good practical information,” Ms. Castle pointed out. “I came away with a better understanding of finance, strategic partnerships, trends about where the industry is headed and so much more.”
According to Ms. Castle, the fact that the even was only for women also made it have even greater significance.
“I’ve never been to a conference like this that is just for women,” she said. “It was a very good conference and having it be for women allowed for us who are from the same background to really learn together.”
There are plans for the conference to be held again in the future as Ms. Bartlett hopes for it to be an annual event. As for Ms. Heyboer, while the KGI board of trustees member feels that she gave the participants a substantial amount of information to ponder, she feels what she shared was more of a reinforcement of things the participants know.
“Once you have a smart group of people like this, it is about getting them to think and make their own decisions,” Ms. Heyboer said. “They know the answers.”