• Leslie Sedgeman

BCLA's Virtual Happy Hour!


Now well into our 6th week working from home for many Californians, BCLA hosted a virtual networking happy hour to provide an opportunity to make new connections in this socially distanced time. Over 60 attendees joined 4 amazing panelists over Zoom on May 30th to share how their work and life has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists were Llewellyn Cox, general partner at MarsBio and BCLA advisory board member, Kristen Slawinski, CEO of Biofluent Communications, Pavel Ryzhv, recent graduate and author of Biofilms News, and Nisha Sherma, business development manager for Neta Scientific.


The event began with Adhi Sikand, president of BCLA asking the panelists how their life, work and businesses have changed and how they are staying motivated and healthy during this time. All panelist agreed that while these are challenging times which require flexibility and adaptation, it is also a time for new opportunities. Llewellyn Cox shared how MarsBio, a biotech venture firm, has launched a new program to support startups trying to development treatments and solutions for COVID-19. Pavel Ryzhv, a recent PhD graduate from the Sanford Burham Presbyterian Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla shared his experience of searching for jobs. The pandemic has also allowed him to focus more of his time on science communication and continuing to build Biofilm News which he started as a graduate student. Kristen Slawinski, has realized that accurate and quality science communication is more important than ever during this pandemic and has seen new demand for her company. Kristen is also active on LinkedIn and shared her tips for getting noticed: one of them is start a conversation and participate in existing conversations with your network. And finally, Nisha Sherma shared how her company is dealing with the pandemic by adapting to people’s current needs.


After the panel, each of the panelist broke out into individual zoom meetings where attendees had the opportunity to interact one-on-one and ask questions. For many this was a setting to introduce themselves and make new connections that they then followed-up with on LinkedIn. All the panelists encouraged attendees to make updating LinkedIn and investing in their professional development a goal during this time. Nisha specifically talked about how she transitioned from academia to industry and encouraged attendees to make the transition with confidence in their acquired skill set.


Thank you to all of the panelists and attendees for making our first virtual happy hour a success! Many attendees shared that it was their first time attending a BCLA event. Now that you don’t have to brave LA traffic, make sure you check out our upcoming events and join us virtually to make some new connections. Don’t forget to follow up on LinkedIn with those you met and keep the conversation going!


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