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Getting to Know Women in Bio

April 23, 2013
We caught up with Women In Bio’s President, Phyllis Dillinger, to learn more about the group’s philosophy, agenda, programming and networking events

Tell me about your organization and why it was founded.
A few smart, entrepreneurial women in greater Washington, D.C. started Women In Bio in 2002 to meet like-minded women in the biosciences who could provide support for building their businesses. Since then, we’ve expanded our mission to include mentoring, networking and development opportunities across the biosciences. Because there are so many different yet complementary career paths in life sciences, coming together is beneficial not only for expanding our personal networks but also for extending our own understanding of the industry. This is especially beneficial to many of our members who are entrepreneurs.

Who are your members?
From a function perspective, we’re not just for scientists or only for those in business. We’re proud that our members represent the various careers from basic research to running a biotech company, as well as ancillary areas like consultants, CROs, lawyers and suppliers. From a tenure perspective, we span the career continuum from graduate students to CEOs.

Our membership expanded by more than 250 percent last year - growing our chapters to include cover many key metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Research Triangle Park, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC/ Baltimore and even Mumbai.

What kinds of events do you hold?
Our events fall under three umbrellas: developmental, educational and networking. Our developmental programs tend to have senior-level speakers providing insights into the experiences that helped them become successful leaders. These events are fabulous because our speakers can serve as role models for those just starting out and also provide insights for those further along in their careers. We also do smaller panels that are more intimate and encourage a lot of discussion. While we aim to provide networking opportunities at all of our events, meeting others and growing our networks is the main focus of other activities.

Tell me about Young Women In Bio
Data shows that young girls demonstrate about the same interest level in STEM subjects until around the eighth grade when the numbers start to drop off. YWIB fosters interest in science by opening life science companies to middle school girls for a fun and educational program that includes handson activities and exposure to excellent role models. Sponsor companies participating in YWIB have found it to be a mutually beneficial relationship and enjoy fueling the interest in science that these girls have.

Can anyone join WIB? What obligations do members have?
I would encourage all women in the life sciences to learn more about us and consider membership. Both members and nonmembers are welcome to attend our events, and many of our members choose to get involved with our various committees. As a volunteer organization we rely on and appreciate people who donate their time to help, but we also appreciate those who are there strictly for our events.

What’s on tap for BIO Convention this year?
This year for the first time we will hold our Annual Celebration in conjunction with BIO (on Monday night). We’re thrilled because it means that more of our members and friends are able to join us for what is usually an inspiring and fun-filled evening. We have an outstanding keynote lined up from Jill Milne, CEO of Catabasis, and have also partnered with Fierce Biotech to promote and hold the event. We’ll be at booth number 4184 in the exhibit hall and will be holding several meet-ups around the convention center during the week.

For more information about Women In Bio or events during Convention, visit