As I complete my tenure, I want to thank each and every one of you for making Virginia Bio one of the leading life sciences associations in the country and for making my turn as Chairman so meaningful. I especially want to thank our executive committee, our board, our members, our sponsors and, most importantly the terrific team that consistently puts on fantastic programs for us. I am saddened to see Sherri Halloran leaving us after eleven years of dedicated and terrific work. She certainly has been a cornerstone of the organization, she will be missed, and we wish her the very best. You can see Sherri’s blog about her transition elsewhere in this newsletter. With the retirement of our beloved CEO Jeff Gallagher, it has been a busy time overseeing of the selection of a new CEO.
As I look back on my two years as Chairman and nearly a decade of volunteer service to the Board, I think fondly of the many professional and personal friendships I have made through the association. Virginia Bio is a very special organization that has allowed me to flourish both professionally and personally. I hope you share in my enthusiasm for Virginia Bio and the friendships that can be made through the organization. Generosity of spirit is a particular strength of our group – we all simultaneously mentor and learn from each other. I am proud of our work in helping Virginia companies gain more access to capital. Capital is the lifeblood of healthy biotech ecosystems. The annual JP Morgan reception has put Virginia Bio on the map and allowed entrepreneurs to mingle with some of the country’s top venture capitalists and corporate development professionals – many of whom have a tie back to Virginia. I am most proud of the creation of the Jeffrey Gallagher STEM Fellows Program. These scholarships will leave a lasting, generational impact on the individual students – perhaps changing their life’s trajectory – as well as hopefully the creation of new medicines, innovative research, novel devices and better agricultural products.
It is an exciting time at Virginia Bio. We were blessed to have had Jeff at the helm these last seven years as the organization took a great leap forward. Jeff leaves a very strong Virginia Bio – an organization that is thriving and healthy. I am pleased to announce that Jeff has agreed to work as a consultant to help in the transition of the new CEO as well as provide support on strategic activities. As we look to the future, knowing that Jeff and the team built a solid foundation, I am excited to think about the possibilities of where Virginia Bio is headed under the leadership of our new CEO. I ask each of you to think of ways we can improve Virginia Bio – to help shape it for the next decade. We are going to need your commitment to continue to help build Virginia Bio through your volunteer service and financial support. The new CEO is going to depend on our Board, our members, and our sponsors. Together we will shape the future of Virginia Bio!
I have loved my time with Virginia Bio and look forward to continuing to support its efforts. Please join me in welcoming Alan Connor into his new role as Chairman effective July 1st. I could not have asked for a better Vice Chairman than Alan. He is extremely thoughtful and disciplined in his approach to all matters and brings a fresh perspective to the organization. He will provide a steady hand as he and the new CEO help to advance the association within the Commonwealth.
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