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BIO Sponsoring Cultivating Change Summit as Part of ‘Right Mix Matters’ Initiative

Josh Falzone
June 19, 2019

Today, June 19, kicks off The Cultivating Change Summit in Iowa. The three-day event, which is hosted by the Cultivating Change Foundation and sponsored by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), will bring together more than 200 agriculture LGBT employees, human resources and diversity and inclusion professionals, employee resources group leaders, executives and organizational leaders, allies, and others who are working toward an equitable industry environment for LGBT agriculturists everywhere. The goal of the event is to share strategies and best practices to create a community inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions within the food, fiber, and natural resources industry.

The Cultivating Change Foundation is having a positive impact on the agriculture industry by valuing and elevating LGBT agriculturists through advocacy, education, and community. Since 2015, the organization has been:

  • Providing integrated experiences that transcend generations;

  • Connecting students to agriculture companies leading efforts in workplace equality;

  • Spearheading national efforts in providing leadership and development for LGBTQ+ agriculturists and allies;

  • Building international and inclusive communities by empowering LGBTQ+ leaders to unify all sectors of the agriculture industry; and

  • Recognizing leadership in inclusive excellence within agriculture companies


Follow the Cultivating Change Summit by using the hashtag #CCSummit2019 and following the foundation on Facebook and Instagram.

The Cultivating Change Summit aligns closely with BIO’s recently launched initiative, The Right Mix Matters campaign, that is working to support BIO members in building and growing more diverse leadership and workforces. For companies to build teams that accelerate industry innovation, it’s critical to have inclusive hiring practices and accelerated gender, racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ representation on biotech company boards, in C-suites, and in functional leadership positions.

The Right Mix Matters was developed by BIO’s Workforce Development, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Dr. Helen Torley, CEO of Halozyme, with the BIO staff leadership of Joanne Duncan, president of BIO’s membership and business operations division.

“Our industry is stronger than ever before, and there is a collective sense of excitement about the future of biotechnology,” said Dr. Torley. “Continued progress requires an unprecedented level of innovation and problem-solving — and this is best achieved by tapping into multiple and diverse perspectives and experiences. BIO’s new tools address specific barriers biotech leaders tell us they face today in building diverse and inclusive teams and boards. I believe these tools will lead to improved development and increased visibility of talented leaders from diverse demographic groups.”

“BIO members know that diverse teams are critical to the long-term success and innovation of any organization,” said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO. “Our members are looking for tools and resources to foster diversity, from the ground floor to the C-suite, and we’re happy to unite biotechnology under one vision. Our tools are designed to supplement competitive teams interested in remaining at the forefront of our industry.”

Biotechnology has a unique opportunity to address many of the global challenges facing us today – from mitigating climate change, to finding new ways to treat cancer, to reducing food waste, to creating a more sustainable environment. But to make the promises of biotechnology a reality and incite useful disruption, it’s vital that company leadership and workforces represent the vast array of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and cultures that makeup society.

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