On Friday, February 28, BCLA hosted its biggest ever Bioscience Talent Connection with over 200 attendees at the Michelson Center at the University of Southern California. Attendees included bioscience trainees from various universities and biotech professionals looking to grow their careers and find new opportunities, as well as company representatives looking to meet new talent.
The morning session kicked off with remarks by BCLA President, Adhi Sikand, welcoming attendees and providing an overview of the day. This session featured two inspiring workshops provided by Dr. Elvira Teller on “Driving your own career success” and by Dr. Jun Huang titled “The missing piece – look from within”.
Dr. Vera Teller is a coach, lecturer and best-selling author with experience in both the business and academic sector. She opened her talk with a story how of her young daughter finishing college with an engineering degree, but no future career goals, inspired her to help others self-reflect on their ambitions. Vera recommended attendees assess core values and to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges to achieving a goal, and then develop a plan using SMART goals.
The next workshop was held by Dr. Jun Huang, Director of R&D at ThermoFisher Scientific, where he oversees development of transplant diagnostics. Jun is a proponent of intentional career planning and understands the importance of finding the right direction, especially early on in one’s career. He advises each person to identify their strengths or competencies, their passion, and organizational needs to steer towards their unique role.
Attendees reported being inspired by the workshops. Revathi Raman, a graduate student from the University of North Texas, who travelled to Los Angeles for the event said that “the talks were very motivating for a biology student and gave me a new perspective on how to look at my life and career”. Wendy Wei, a graduate student in data science at USC echoed this sentiment and said the “panelists were really inspiring”. Shagun Sharma a graduate student at the University of Akron in Ohio who recently relocated to Los Angeles, said “this event allowed me to learn about the LA biotech landscape and I spoke to Zymo about a position that fits my qualifications well”.
Thank you to our exhibitors and sponsors, without whom the event would not have been the success it was! Throughout the morning panels, Platinum Exhibitors ZS, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Xencor and PolyPeptide Group provided company spotlights including an overview of the companies and current open positions. The afternoon provided a career fair for Platinum and Gold sponsors to speak to potential candidates. This year’s gold sponsors were Amgen, Takeda, Medtronic, Kite, ChromoLogic, IQVIA, LabLaunch, The Lundquist Institute, Ascel Health, Spatial Genomics, Zymo Research and City of Hope.
When asked about the event and the candidates he met, an exhibitor from the Lundquist Institute commented “this is the most people I’ve ever seen and the energy just keeps growing. It’s great to see lots of school represented and a very well-organized event by BCLA”. An exhibitor from ZS had similar thoughts and said “I’ve gotten to meet lots of talented candidates, who came prepared with poignant questions. Our recruiting team will be very happy with the candidates we met today and we will certainly be back next year”. Representatives from Polypeptide Group similarly shared that “the best part was getting a broad sense of who is out there looking for a job. There are definitely talented individuals and whenever we have positions that open up, we already have some candidates”.
Thank you to all of our sponsors and attendees who continue to infuse energy into the LA biotech landscape!