March Networking Event Digest

On March 16, the GLSA and FOCM held their monthly online networking event.  We start the meeting with a featured presenter spending 10 – 15 minutes presenting information about themselves and a clinical research topic of relevance to them.

This event featured Wessam Sonbol, founder of Delve Health. Wessam has been in the clinical research industry for 23 years. Many of these years have been in leadership and founding roles in the technology and product development sectors to facilitate trials. He founded Delve Health in 2018.  Delve Health provides innovative decentralized clinical trial solutions to improve clinical trial conduct for patients, caregivers, doctors and pharma/device. Offerings include ePRO/eCOA, eConsent, study tasks, wearables and biosensor integration, EMR data collection and Real-world evidence capabilities.

After the presentation, there were questions, answers and discussions.  We then allowed newer participants the opportunity to tell us about their history in the industry and the group can be of help.

Attendees (bolded names indicate first time attendees):
Wessam Sonbol, Delve Health
Andrew Mulchinski, Symbio Research
Ravipal Luthra, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
Heather Hollick, Rizers LLC; Author of “Helpful, A guide to life, careers and the art of networking”
Michael Young, biomedwoRx: Life Sciences Consulting
Mike O’Gorman, Life Science Marketplace
Edwin Gershom, Noble Life Sciences
Taylor Biche, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Holly Cliffe, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Todd Neilson, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Hannah Lloyd, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Denise McNerney, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Joe Buser, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Zulma Varela, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Sally Haller, Global Life Sciences Alliance

https://globallifesciencesalliance.com/

Please join us on April 20 where the featured presenter will be Amy Baxter, MD; CEO and Founder of Pain Care Labs. PCL’s NIH-funded pain relief device is an ingenious intervention to reduce needle pain and fear – improving patient participation in clinical trials.

Selected screen shots appear below:

Screenshot #1
Screenshot #2
Screenshot #3
Screenshot with GLSA Mascot Teddy in lower left corner

DelveHealth Presentation

February Networking Event

On February 16, 2022, the Global Life Sciences Alliance along with FOCM Networking held its monthly online drug and medical device development industry networking event. This was the second event of 2022 and like the January event, we again had 3 first-time attendees. Thank you to super-connector and FOCM member, Nadia Bracken for sharing our event with others.

We spent the first 15 minutes with introductions and general discussion about the weather in various attendees’ cities.  

This event featured a presentation by Kalyan Ghosh, Founder and CEO of Inference, Inc (https://inferenceinc.com/).  Inference, a GLSA client, was formed in 2017 by Kalyan.  He has over 25 years experience in clinical biostatistics, having worked at both big pharma (Merck and BMS) and CROs (Vislation, INC Research and West Coast Clinical Trials). Kalyan is an accomplished presenter and presented an overview of biostatistics and the role that data management and biostatistics have in drug development. 

Please join us next month on March 16 at 7:00 p.m.  Wessam Sonbol, CEO of Delve Health, an e-clinical technology platform service provider and client of GLSA will spend 10 – 15 minutes talking about their approach to patient-centered hybrid and decentralized studies in drug development.

ATTENDEES (bolded names were first time attendees):

Kalyan Ghosh, Inference Inc,
Andy Mulchinski, Symbio
Justin Gundelach, Mayo Clinic
Pauline Luong, Creative Clinical R & D
Chris Bergey, NaviDx
Brian Langin, Matrix Medical
Ravipal Luthra, University of Miami College of Medicine
Jon Matheus,  A.T. Pancrazi Real Estate Services, Inc.
Chris Matheus, Global Life Sciences Alliance & FOCM
Denise McNerney, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Joe Buser, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Zulma Varela, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Holly Cliffe, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Sally Haller, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Hannah Lloyd, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Todd Nielson, Global Life Sciences Alliance

Screenshots of the attendees can be seen here:

https://globallifesciencesalliance.com/february-networking-meeting-summary/

Networking Event Summary

On December 15, the Global Life Sciences Alliance along with FOCM Networking held its monthly online drug and medical device development industry networking event. This was our year-end event and we didn’t have a speaker or theme.

We kept everyone in one room and went around the room asking people to answer a variety of questions. We asked for each person to share what positive or memorable thing happened in 2021 and what they were looking forward to happening in 2022.

  • A representative answer was that while some had caught COVID and it was a bad illness, no one had anyone in their families get severely ill or pass away from it. The outlook for 2022 was felt to be somewhat tentative with the global rise of infections due to the Omicron variant. It was noted that the annual January JP Morgan conference will be virtual again due to the rise in cases. (Occurring today, December 22, Pfizer’s oral dose anti-viral pill to treat COVID was approved.)
  • Michael Young shared that 2021 found him becoming a grandfather with the birth of grandson Oliver Kiesing Miller (pictures below attendee listing). Michael’s hopes for 2022 include completing the first draft of a book he’s writing on “Branding”. He also echoed the feelings of many of us – having the opportunity to see clients, customers and friends in person and a return to in-person conferences. (I think this is the equivalent of a blood transfusion for extroverts).
  • Ires Alliston shared that she is hosting a Female Expert Coaches Summit May 9 – 11 in Daytona Beach, FL. More information is available here: (https://femceosummit.com/).

Movies/TV shows people are watching/recommending:

  • You
  • The Unforgiveable
  • Get Back
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Giri/Haji
  • Yellowstone

Fountain pens

It turns out that Nadia Bracken has found the hobby of collecting fountain pens. Someone else on the call mentioned a former boss who also did so.  There was a discussion about the psychological draw toward collecting such pens.  I subsequently found this discussion group (https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/136590-pen-personality/) .The hobby appears to be more associated with introversion based on the non-controlled survey in the discussion group. Another article on the topic is: https://www.inkedhappiness.com/fountain-pen-collecting-the-psychology-behind-my-madness/

Toward the end of the event, two things occurred after some had dropped off:

  • Dan Weddle sang and played his guitar
  • Michael Young arrived and showed pictures of his adorable 1st grandson

Please join us next month on January 19.

ATTENDEES (bolded names were first time attendees):

Kevin Boos, Rho
Brian Horan, SupplyRx
Wessam Sonbol, Delve Health
Michael W. Young, biomedwoRx: Life Sciences Consulting
Ires Alliston, Business Coach, Consulting & Marketing
Chris Bergey, Humphries Insurance Agency
Nadia Bracken, Medidata
Dan Weddle, AltaSciences
Mike O’Gorman, Life Science Marketplace
Patrick Champoux, SkillPad
Maria Frane, Simibec-Orion
Sara Tylosky, Farmacon
Brennan Munley, Rho
Chris Matheus, Global Life Sciences Alliance & FOCM
Denise McNerney, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Joe Buser, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Zulma Varela, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Sally Haller, Global Life Sciences Alliance

Photo Collection

Revered Industry Professionals
Illustrious Clinical Research Industry Professionals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denise, Zulma and Michael concluding the meeting
Esteemed industry professionals
Dan Weddle performing an original song
Michael Young’s grandson Oliver Kiesing Miller

 

 

Michael Young’s grandson Oliver Kiesing Miller

November Networking Event Summary

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy about networking is meeting such interesting, fascinating people with different perspectives. This helps us understand and appreciate those differences and helps us re-consider our approach to certain things.

On November 17, the Global Life Sciences Alliance along with FOCM Networking held its monthly online drug and medical device development industry networking event.

Whereas last month we had a featured speaker – Heather Hollick on LinkedIn best practices; this time we just had general discussion and greeting of one another. While there were still a manageable number, I introduced each person and how I know them. There was also discussion and general agreement that when Merck and Pfizer get their oral dose antiviral medicines approved (whether emergency authorization or full approval); the COVID-19 pandemic will become very manageable and the world can return to our new normal; forever impacted but less restricted. (added since the 11/17 meeting – the identification of the Omicron variant may put a slow down on the return; however, early information indicates that while it’s easily transmissible, the symptoms are different and mild, such that as of Nov 30 in South Africa hospital where the doctor found the Omicron variant, no hospitalizations are attributed to it. And now just today, an FDA Advisory panel recommended approval for Merck’s anti-viral pill to treat COVID-19 and reducing hospitalizations.)

We then moved to the evening’s agenda. We had three rooms for people to go to depending on their interests.  The three discussion topics were:

  • Clinical Trial Recruitment and Retention
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Networking

Heather Hollick chaired the Networking room. One discussion centered around how sales/business development people use it and consultant/subject matter experts use it to best fill their connection needs. Interestingly, several participants shared that they control their LinkedIn outreach and purposefully limit their contacts to a more easily managed subset (~1000) to maximize the depth of relationships. Several other participants use a more liberal approach and have grown their networks to over 10,000 contacts who then serve as “private wikis” allowing rapid access to large groups of professionals with multivarious experiences.

Please join us next month on December 15 and if you have a Christmas sweater – wear it!

ATTENDEES (bolded names were first time attendees, I think):

Heather Hollick, Rizers, LLC; Author of “Helpful, A guide to life, careers and the art of networking”
Mike Burrows, Burrows Life Science Associates, LLC
Lacey Clements, IMA Clinical Research
Kevin Boos, Rho
Valerie Roussin-Paradis, SkillPad
Edwin Gershom, Noble Life Sciences
Wessam Sonbol, Delve Health
Michael W. Young, biomedwoRx: Life Sciences Consulting
Nicole Yoon, Mediaiplus
Ires Alliston, Business Coach, Consulting & Marketing
Lindsey Summers, Green Key Resources
Chris Matheus, Global Life Sciences Alliance & FOCM
Denise McNerney, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Joe Buser, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Brandon Huffman, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Holly Cliffe, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Zulma Varela, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Sally Haller, Global Life Sciences Alliance

November 17, 2021 Networking Screenshot
Networking Event Flyer

https://globallifesciencesalliance.com/news/

Drug Development Industry Networking Event

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy about networking is meeting such interesting people with different perspectives. This helps us understand and appreciate those differences and helps us re-consider our approach to certain things.

On October 20, the Global Life Sciences Alliance along with FOCM Networking held its monthly pharmaceutical/biotech/clinical research/medical device/drug development industry online networking event (that’s a sentence-full). I know I wrote that in last month’s minutes too, so I promise to acronymize/shorten/bitly it next month, maybe to Pharma/Bio/CRO/Med & DrugDev or PBCMD? Is there a broader term one of you readers can suggest?

While people were arriving into the Zoom room, the first arrivers greeted each other and got their headsets, earphones, etc ready and connected. We started with the acknowledgement that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The advances in cancer therapies over the past dozen years or so is truly remarkable. With genotyping advances, new drugs are designed/created that work very well.  This allows testing to be done prior to drug administration and know ahead of time that certain patients will respond well.  So instead of having to enroll 300 cancer patients in a study to get enough with the defect in order to show statistical significance, the study can be done with fewer patients and to show significance and speed up the time to FDA approval.

We then moved to our featured speaker, Heather Hollick, a friend of mine for several years and the author of “Helpful, A Guide to Life, Careers and the Art of Networking”. Heather focused the discussion on best practices for using LinkedIn. It is an invaluable tool for networking. There are 8 ways that LinkedIn is beneficial.

  1. LinkedIn is how you present yourself to the industry. At a minimum it is your online resume.
  2. Enhances introductions – you know so much more about who you’re being introduced to.
  3. Refreshes your memory on who a person is, where you know them from and how long you’ve been connected.
  4. It helps you prepare for meetings – review who will be in the meeting and find items of commonality.
  5. Find companies that are hiring
  6. Provides links to other websites aiding in your research
  7. Keep track of who is in your network.
  8. Engage in groups and discussions with others that you share interest with.

I like to include how I met people, as a demonstration of the power and benefits of networking. I was connected to Heather via Tanyss Mason. I admit I’m having a difficult time remembering how Tanyss and I first became connections. Heather was in the midst of writing the book when we first met over the phone. When the book was released and Heather was in the RTP, NC area at a book premier and signing event we got to meet in person. Heather co-presented at the 2021 DIA Annual meeting (virtual) with me on a Networking workshop. We’ll collaborate again on this session for the DIA 2022 meeting being held in Chicago.

We typically go into several breakout sessions of 3-4 attendees for about 12 minutes each but this time, there was so much good discussion about LinkedIn and maintaining, nurturing and freshening one’s network that we showed our flexibility and kept rolling with the topic of interest.

Please join us next month on November 17.

Screen shot of Zoom networking

ATTENDEES (bolded names were first time attendees, I think):

Heather Hollick, Rizers, LLC; Author of “Helpful, A guide to life, careers and the art of networking”
Mike Burrows, Burrows Life Science Associates, LLC
Lacey Clements, IMA Clinical Research
Nadia Bracken, Medidata
Christine Narro, Medical Device Co.
Lewis Kelly, Gunvatta
Chris Bergey, Humphries Insurance Agency
Michael O’Gorman, Life Science Marketplace
Patrick McCarthy, ValidCare
Joe Dustin, Transcelerate Biopharma
Janie St. Pierre, Accellacare
Ellen Bedenko, IQVia
Patrick Champoux, SkillPad
Andrew Mulchinski, Symbio Research
Chris Matheus, Global Life Sciences Alliance & FOCM
Denise McNerney, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Joe Buser, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Daryl Oberg, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Brandon Huffman, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Holly Cliffe, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Zulma Varela, Global Life Sciences Alliance
Sally Haller, Global Life Sciences Alliance

Supporting a MatheusBD Connection

I am excited to announce that, Alicia Kelley Schifano, a connection of mine for over 10 years is hitting the big time!!  Alicia will be a contestant on a new TV show airing Thursday, October 14th on the USA Network.  The show is America’s Big Deal.  It was created by Joy Mangano (from the movie Joy) and it will be hosted by Scott Evans from Access Hollywood!  It will be a bit like Shark Tank but live and “shoppable” so people can buy the products in real time while watching the show.  Alicia will be on the first episode, competing for a retail deal for the Mr. Big Curling Irons!  Here is a link to the video promo: https://youtu.be/t3xJYFU8ugc

Here’s a link to the contestant page:

Please tune in at 9pm, October 14th and watch Alicia shine! And check out the product being offered at a $20 discount at the above link. For any of the FOCM members with long hair, this curling iron is a must in your beauty supplies inventory.  https://www.mrbigcurlingirons.com/

I have known Alicia for more than 10 years, having been introduced to her via TommiLynn Baker.  At our first meeting we talked for hours.  Alicia is energizing to be around; so much energy, passion and enthusiasm.

Networking Stories

When I do presentations and/or workshops on networking it’s been pointed out to me that some of the best “aha” moments or learnings that people take away come from the stories that I share.  So, I plan to to write up these stories in the hopes that they’re helpful or illustrative.

I use fictitious names when I have not asked for or not been given permission to use real names, yet the stories are real.

During the financial crisis of 2008, an acquaintance of mine (I’ll refer to him as John) worked in IT and became laid off.  I do not know for certain (no personality test was given) that John’s personality leans toward introversion, but I’d bet $100 that he is. He’d been unemployed for close to 10 months and was complaining about having applied to hundreds of openings, getting rejection letters, hearing nothing or getting some interviews but no job offers.  After many interviews and never getting the job, he explained that he was being interviewed by people 10-20 years younger than him that had no where near his experience and talents. Over time he was becoming embittered.

I asked for his resume and said I had connections in several of the local companies in my industry and would be happy to send his resume in to them.  His response was something like this: oh the networking approach, well I think that’s cheating.  In an idealized world, I see the point, and it would be nice if everyone were unbiasedly judged/evaluated on their resume.  But we’ve all seen good and bad resumes, which is one way in which recruiters judge/evaluate candidates. Recruiters and hiring managers use a variety of criteria to evaluate candidates: resume content and layout, experience, personality, references, etc.

Networking is most definitely not cheating; it’s a requirement.  I explained to John that networking isn’t cheating – I do not get him the job because I sent his resume to someone I know.  Me, sending his resume to someone I know just gets his resume lifted out of the pile and gets it a second or maybe third look.  Now the resume carries a reference an additional factor giving it more credence.  Chris Matheus or whoever sent the resume to their friend acts like a background check. Getting the resume lifted out of the pile does not get John the job – it gives him a better shot at getting an interview.  He still has to “get” the job, still has to interview (without the embittered chip on his shoulder) and interview well.

Building a network of contacts is a key element in managing your career. It needs to be nurtured, maintained and expanded.  Remember networking is a reciprocal endeavor, you must be helpful to those in your network if you are going to ask for their help.

Selling clinical trial services

One of my sales principles is this: be wherever the users/decision makers/decision influencers of what you’re selling gather.  By “gather” I mean the conferences they attend; be they large (national) or small (regional). I have had fellow sales people tell me these small, local/regional meetings are a waste of time.
I should have put this disclaimer at the start, but it’s my website, so I’ll put it here. Disclaimer: It is acknowledged that I’m not the stereotypical salesperson.  Type A personality I am not; highly competitive I am not.  When selling services, I believe that people buy/purchase/select services and solutions from someone they know and trust;  also known as relationship selling.
So all that is to demonstrate through this short story:
I recently attended a virtual and regional conference on managing clinical supplies for clinical trials.  There were ~80 people in attendance.  I noticed one or two salespeople for manufacturing and packaging companies, none from drug supply management software companies.  At the end of the meeting, a request is made of the attendees for topics they’d like to hear about at the fall meeting. A specific request was made on the topic of managing study drug pooling by the drug management software.  The leader then asked if anyone had recommendations on who could speak to this.
Posted in the chat window was this: the name of one of the software companies followed by the names of two of that companies’ project managers. 
I trust the moral of this story is obvious.

The importance of Networking for Career Management



“Networking” to some people sounds more complicated than it is and may even generate feelings of discomfort.  “Networking” isn’t meeting strangers with a common interest in a noisy bar and shouting at each other, “what do you do?”  Although I’m sure many of you have experienced such an event.

To understand the role that networking plays in career management, let’s start with the evolving definition of NETWORKING. 

Investopedia describes NETWORKING as: the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting.

Dictionary.com describes NETWORKING as: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.

Cambridge Dictionary describes NETWORKING as:  the process of meeting and talking to a lot of peopleesp. in order to get information that can help you

Historically, definitions of networking stressed the point was to meet people and determine how they could help you.  That self-centered approach has given way to the understanding that the purpose of networking is go create a mutually beneficial relationship.   In her book Helpful: A Guide to Life, Careers and the Art of Networking, Heather Hollick presents the purpose of networking is to be helpful – leveraging who you know and what you know to help other people be successful, and surround yourself with other people who do the same. 

My Networking Philosophy to networking is: connecting people and companies to companies and people for their mutual benefit.  It is nice to see that Business Dictionary has added: Networking is based on the question – “how can I help?” and not “what can I get?”

Why Network

In the past, even as recent as 15 to 20 years ago, networking outside one’s company (think of a large pharmaceutical company) didn’t seem necessary.  There were still plenty of people who had been at the same company for 15 – 30 years and were doing well with no thought to changing jobs.  Then mergers, acquisitions and restructuring shook the industry.  People who had been at a company for many years and who were well networked within that company suddenly were out of work and realized they had no business network outside of that company.  That is exactly what happened to me and I made sure to learn from that experience.

Lesson Learned #1: Look at your situation with a wider perspective

While in shock, worrying if I’d have to move my family and going on interviews, I learned a lesson from a chance encounter with a former colleague who was in the same boat that as I was in.  We were both flying to New Jersey for interviews and I told him I didn’t have a good feeling about the company I was interviewing with, it had no culture, and the employees didn’t seem friendly.  He suggested I look at it differently – “could you do the job for a year?” is what he asked me.  My reply was, “of course.”  He helped me realize that there was nothing wrong with taking the job, making the most of my severance, and continuing to look for a role that reflected the highest and best use of my skills. And who knows? Maybe the job would be better than I first thought. This bit of advice completely changed my attitude and I interviewed as if this was the perfect job for me.  I got the job.  It turned out to be an okay fit but I kept one job opportunity open and when they offered me the position 5 months later, I took it.

Lesson Learned #2: Use this job to get to your next one.

Your new may not be THE job that carries you through the rest of your career.  Some have called such an experience, a “mulligan” or a “do-over” job.  Through the experience you learn that you are employable and you’re more in the driver’s seat than you think.  Your goal is to find the company and culture that fits you, and where you want to invest your energy and talent.

Lesson Learned #3: Be prepared

I do not consciously recall saying to myself “I’ll never be in that situation again.”  However, a look at my behavior since then indicates that I took that to heart.  At every conference I attended, I introduced myself to the people in the booth on either side and across from me at the conference.  When I wasn’t in the booth, I walked the exhibit hall asking questions, meeting people and learning about their companies and services.  In the past 15 years, when corporate restructuring or a personal decision to be in the market for a new job, I had job offers and was working within a short period of time.

Lesson Learned #4

Networking must be an integral part of managing your career. 

Making and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships will help you get promoted, take on challenging assignments, solve and help others solve work problems and successfully address issues.

Having polled many audiences at DIA networking workshops over the past 10 years, the percentage of people who are in their current job due to networking is around 85%.  Very few people are in their current job in our industry by replying to online job postings.

Networking also helps your career by:

  • Being seen as proactive, active, resourceful, smart, and engaged
  • Bringing new experiences to your life
  • Building loyalty, trust, and dependability
  • Increasing your communication skills, influence, and patience

Now, how do you do this? 

In almost every state there is an organization to foster and support biotech and pharma companies.  NJ Bio, PA Bio, NC Biotech are examples.  Join them and find out when they have events.  LaunchBio (https://launchbio.org/) is an organization that hosts monthly events with speakers on relevant topics to the industry and are located in: Cambridge, MA; Durham, NC; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; San Diego, CA and San Francisco, CA. 

Now, how do you really do this?

  • When attending events, if there’s an opportunity to pre-register, do so.  This usually means you get a printed name tag.  Wear it. 
  • Put the name tag on the right side of your chest.  This makes it visible to who you meet as you shake hands.
  • Dress sharp and professional.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Smile, be positive and maintain a pleasant demeanor.
  • Be Personable – remember and use people’s names.
  • Be helpful – look for ways to offer information, to a favor, or make an introduction.
  • Be someone others WANT to connect to.
  • Ask “what are you working on?” instead of “what do you do?”
  • Be interested – ask others for their business cards (and have yours ready for them).
  • Follow up – thoughtfully and invite to connect on LinkedIn.
  • Put down your phone.

A section from Heather Hollick’s book carries this noteworthy message: Your network…stays with you from job to job and career to career.  It is entirely your creation and no one can take it away from you… build a network that becomes your tribe – the people to whom you are loyal and who, you trust, are loyal to you.