I encourage human resources and talent acquisition leaders in life sciences, as well as others, to attend their local Bio Association chapter events. I am in my fourth decade doing retained search for life sciences companies, and I still am surprised how much I learn at these events - not to mention they can also be a good time. As much as I feel it’s an opportunity cost to be away from my desk, phone and database, as a search consultant who specializes in one industry, it’s good to be as engaged as possible in the market I serve.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending two BIO Association events. BioUtah held their annual life sciences summit, an all-day event that offered great insight into the local life sciences community. Utah used to be a fly-over state. Over the past few years, its economy has been as hot as any in the country. Utah is now a destination location and experiencing a strong influx of talent, thanks, in part, to being home to 1,000 life sciences companies. It was a bonus to listen to Rob Wright, head editor of Life Science Leader magazine, talk about the importance of culture, in his presentation, "Corporate Culture as a Building Block to Success."
I then attended the HR Conference hosted by BioNJ. Before you let your thoughts rise to the surface about another HR conference, I assure you I’ve been to a lot of them. BioNJ put on an intimate event with senior HR leaders from development stage to Big Pharma, who were very open about their challenges from the current talent crunch to the convergence of digital technology and life sciences. Nicolette Sherman, the head of North America Human Resources at Sanofi, shared how her team focuses on recruiting the right soft skills and competencies, and reskilling in order to support great innovation at Sanofi. Martin Rexroad, SVP of HR for PTC Therapeutics, illuminated how difficult the path is for a small company to get their first product approved - 16 years! It was moving to hear stories about tears in the office because staff is so connected to the patients they serve.
Next month, The Hennessy Group will again serve as one of the sponsors of the annual CEO Dinner hosted by Life Sciences Pennsylvania. This is one of my favorite nights of the year. You never know what stories you will hear about local leaders going to great lengths to develop new therapies and medical technologies to serve patients in need.
It is during these local BIO chapter events that one can really appreciate the role chapter associations play in bringing together our life sciences communities - not only to connect, but to inspire, motivate and energize. I am proud to be a part of the life sciences industry. I could not imagine supporting in any other industry.