CEO Letters

May 2022

Message from Departing Chairman

Dear Virginia Bio friends:

It was great to see many of you in person last month at the THRiVE 2022 conference.

As you know, my time as Virginia Bio Association Chairman has come to an end, and John offered me the opportunity to share a few thoughts about my time with the organization.

When I joined the association, I was new to Virginia, and I joined with the goals of networking and learning about the industry in my adopted state.

During my time at Virginia Bio, I have established multiple-valued personal and professional relationships, developed several lifelong friendships, found multiple mentors, formal and informal, and derived constant inspiration from the innovative and meaningful work that we all do.  I hope that I have given back as well along the way in some small way.

I am not much for looking in the rearview mirror, but I want to share one specific inflection point of my Virginia Bio tenure. When Jeff Gallagher decided to step down from the organization, he did so at a time that was right for both him and the organization in a very thoughtful way. Those of us who were involved in finding Jeff’s replacement thought deeply about the potential for the next stage of the organization and the leadership that would be required to get us there. I remember clearly a discussion with John during his interview process where we talked about how to take the organization to that next level. I am proud to say that we are well on the way as John shared at the conference and in these pages.

Of course, it is also impossible to look back over the past several years and not talk about COVID. John and the staff did an exceptional job of not just maintaining the organization but making it stronger. Our membership has grown, our sponsorships have grown, the services to our members have improved, the quality of our events continues to be top-notch, and the award and initial implementation of the GO Virginia has accelerated our progress. Our industry – our members – also rose to the occasion during COVID, demonstrating once again why we do what we do.

Finally, the very first thing I asked for when I agreed to write this article was access to the video of Jeff Gallagher’s comments in accepting the Outstanding Contributions to Bioscience award at the THRiVE 2022 conference. I wanted to be sure to quote him accurately about what I also see as the essence of Virginia Bio: “Anything I accomplished, actually, we accomplished. You can’t do it alone in this business…you need a lot of people, for their knowledge, for their support, for the resources they bring, (and) to encourage you. Of course, that is what Virginia Bio is all about.”



Alan Connor
Immediate Past Chairman

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