The 8th Women Building Bio, Virginia Bio’s annual conference, held in Manassas, VA, on September 28, gathered over 100 life sciences professionals who convened to exchange knowledge, share experiences, and explore innovative approaches that help women thrive in the field.
The fact that this year’s conference theme, “Building Better,” attracted everyone from life science students to entrepreneurs to industry and thought leaders tells enough about the need for continuous improvement, no matter the stage of one’s professional life.
All the panels were engaging and interactive, and the audience expanded the discussions by raising new questions or sharing their own experiences on each topic. Conversations continued in the hallways of the beautiful Hylton Performing Arts Center between sessions, where attendees were overheard reflecting on the panels’ takeaways, such as the importance of partnerships in building better talent, the value of forging new and nurturing old connections, the benefits of finding a mentor for personal growth, and the significance of understanding the advantages and potential risks associated with the use of AI in biotech, such as expediting research and improving result accuracy.
Several panelists pointed out the importance of investing in the younger generation. Susan Mitchell, CEO of Athari Bio+Sciences, Virginia Bio Board Member, and one of the panelists, reflected on their participation in the conference. “The Student Spotlight sessions led by the rising STEM stars from across the region brought joy to my heart. We must continue to support students and offer hands-on, real-world experiences that allow us to Build Better Bio in partnership with the next generation of life science leaders. Kudos to Virginia Bio for hosting another meaningful event that provided each participant with life hacks necessary to thrive and achieve greatness within any stage of their academic, career, or entrepreneurial journey!” said Mitchell.
In a special session dedicated to the importance of self-care and the well-being of women in today’s fast-paced environment, Jennie Blumenthal of Corporate Rehab shared resources to help entrepreneurs reconnect with themselves and shift from the “surviving hustle culture” to thriving at work.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Kaveeta P. Vaqasisht, the Associate Commissioner for Women’s Health at the FDA, talked about her office’s efforts to ensure more studies of gender differences in prescription drug testing and the first-ever creation of the FDA’s Women’s Health Research Roadmap.
“George Mason University was honored to host such an inspiring event to empower women in the life science field to lead successful, fulfilling lives,” said Amy Adams dams, the Director of the George Mason University’s Institute for Biohealth Innovation. “It was wonderful to see the diverse audience of students, early career professionals, and seasoned leaders deeply engage and connect. We are grateful to Virginia Bio for hosting this important annual conference,” added Adams.
John Newby , CEO of Virginia Bio, was pleased with the conference’s success. “Virginia Bio is on a mission to empower women and accelerate their efforts to bridge the gap in the life sciences workforce. It’s a pleasure to witness the needle move more toward equilibrium each year. We’ll continue to be part of that process, particularly (assisting) in the areas such as female-founded startups and promoting female leaders.” said Newby.
The conference was established in 2016 to support and empower women in life sciences in all stages of their career growth by building a community, knowledge, and experiences sharing and amplifying the visibility of women within the industry.