Wednesday, March 4, 2020 | 7:00 am

BREAKFAST PANEL DISCUSSION:The Time is NOW: Creating Meaningful Change for Women in The Workplace (Sponsorship Opportunity Available)

Toft_RobinModerator: Robin Toft, Author of WE CAN, The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement; Founder and Chairman, Toft Group Executive Search

Samuels_CamillePanelists: Camille Samuels, MBA, Partner, Venrock

Hastings_PaulPaul Hastings, President and CEO, Nkarta Therapeutics, Inc

Wright_TerryTeresa L. Wright, MD, Staff Physician, Medicine, San Francisco Veterans Administration


About This Session:

There is increasing evidence that women in executive leadership positions and on corporate boards do have a positive impact on innovation and on company’s financial performance. Studies have concluded that a diverse C-Suite and board of directors translates into higher margins, improved profits, and increased total return to shareholders. In addition, and often unappreciated, diversity will help a company attract and retain the talent a company needs for the future, so they can continue to get novel products to market. Despite this, there is still a shortage of women in executive leadership positions and board seats.

Our industry has a social responsibility to ramp up advocacy for the creation of a level playing field and to move businesses in the right direction towards gender equality.

This session will feature life science senior leaders who have the influence to adopt change in their respective companies. Throughout the event, we will foster collaboration, encourage deeper discussions, and provide meaningful solutions for companies seeking to remain competitive. Robin Toft's session is designed to engage, inform and connect participants on how together WE CAN advance female career progression and create inclusive working environments which recognize and champion the achievements of all leaders.

  • The global talent crisis is real, the landscape is fiercely competitive, and female candidates are in high demand.
  • Playbook for Success - how companies can attract and retain top talent in today’s competitive environment.
  • Practical Advice and Guidance for women to rapidly position themselves for the C-suite and boardroom.

Cambridge Healthtech Institute is proud to offer programming that honors and celebrates the advancement of diversity in the life sciences. We recognize that barriers preventing women from fully participating in the sciences are not just barriers to equality, but also critically deter scientific advancement worldwide. Our Women in Science programming invites the entire scientific community to discuss these barriers, as we believe that all voices are necessary and welcome. We hope that you will mark your calendar to join us for this important discussion!*

*The Women in Science Panel Discussion is open to conference attendees 

Robin will be signing copies of her book, “WE CAN: The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement” at the Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference. Stay tuned for more details!

Speaker Biographies:

Paul Hastings President and CEO Nkarta Therapeutics, Inc

Paul Hastings was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Nkarta in February 2018. Mr. Hastings was recently the Chairman and CEO of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining OncoMed in 2006, Mr. Hastings was President and Chief Executive Officer of QLT, Inc. Previous to that, Mr. Hastings served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Axys Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Celera Corporation in 2001. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Hastings served as the President of Chiron BioPharmaceuticals, a division of Chiron Corporation. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of LXR Biotechnology. Mr. Hastings also held a series of management positions of increasing responsibility at Genzyme Corporation, including serving as President of Genzyme Therapeutics Europe as well as President, Genzyme Therapeutics. Mr. Hastings also served as Vice President, Marketing and Sales and General Manager, Europe for Synergen, Inc., and previously held a series of marketing and sales management positions with Hoffmann-La Roche.

He is currently Lead Independent Director of Pacira Biosciences, Inc., Chairman of the Board at Proteon Therapeutics, and Director at ViaCyte. He also serves as Vice Chair and member of the Executive Committee of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). Mr. Hastings was recently on the Board of Directors of Relypsa, Inc. (acquired by Galenica), was Chairman of the Board of Proteolix (sold to Onyx Pharmaceuticals in 2010) and served on the board of ViaCell (sold to Perkin-Elmer in 2007).

Mr. Hastings received a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island.

Camille Samuels MBA, Partner Venrock

Cami Samuels focuses on healthcare with an emphasis on biotech, medical devices, and consumer health. She currently serves on the board of Unity (UBX), Biolux, Corvidia, and recently stepped off the board of REGENXBIO (RGNX). Prior to Venrock, Cami was a Managing Director at Versant Ventures where she served on the board of many companies including Kythera (KYTH), Novacardia (acquired by Merck), and ParAllele (acquired by Affymetrix). She was also a board observer at several companies including Genomic Health (GHDX), Jazz (JAZZ), Fluidigm (FLDM), and Syrrx (acquired by Takeda). Before Versant, she was responsible for business development at Tularik (acquired by Amgen). During her early career, Cami worked in corporate development at Genzyme and Millennium Predictive Medicine, and was a management consultant at LEK Consulting. Cami earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she graduated as a Baker Scholar.

Robin Toft Chairman and Founder Toft Group Executive Search

Robin Toft is the founder and CEO of Toft Group Executive Search, where she combines a deep inside knowledge of the life science industry with a passion for building game-changing management teams. Robin has placed more than 500 executives at innovation-led companies in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, life science tools and digital health. A champion of diverse executive teams, Robin has built a reputation for recruiting women and minorities into top roles and helping the life science industry overcome unconscious bias in hiring. Prior to founding Toft Group in 2010, Robin served 20+ years as a biotech executive. In 2019, Robin authored her first book, “WE CAN: The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement,” available on Amazon. WE CAN offers practical insight, wisdom and encouragement for women to realize the career of their dreams. It is recognized within the list of 100 Best CEO Books of All Time by BookAuthority. Robin serves on multiple non-profit boards, is an inaugural member of the Susan G. Komen San Diego Advisory Council, was awarded Woman of the Year in San Diego in 2017, and a finalist in Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2018 and 2019. She has been honored as a finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” and “Most Admired CEO” awards in multiple years.

Teresa L. Wright, MD Staff Physician, Medicine San Francisco Veterans Administration

Teresa (Terry) Wright has diverse experiences in both academia and business. Terry was a Professor in the Department of Medicine at UCSF, and chief of gastroenterology at the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco Veterans hospital, where she still sees patients. Terry focused her academic career on translational research (bedside-to-bench) identifying clinical problems in patient care and collaborating with bench scientists both in academia and in industry to find solutions. Terry was the first woman president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the premier professional society in North America for the advancement of research, clinical practice, and guideline development for patients with liver disease.

2From 2006 to 2010, Terry was Chief Medical Officer of Roche Molecular Diagnostics where she led the team that conceived, designed and executed the ATHENA trial, the largest regulatory trial in cervical cancer screening ever performed. In 2011, Terry assumed global responsibilities for late stage clinical development for hepatitis C and Hepatology at Roche, based in South San Francisco. In the subsequent six years while at Genentech, she advised teams on clinical development of investigational therapies for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis as well as immunotherapies for hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma. Since leaving Roche in 2017, Terry has been advising pharma and biotech companies on clinical development of both diagnostics and therapeutics and has joined the boards of early stage companies.

Alice Zheng, MD, MPH, MBA Engagement Manager and Women’s Health Practice Leader, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device and Global Public Health Practices McKinsey & Company
Alice Zheng

Alice has been a women’s health enthusiast throughout her career spanning global health, clinical medicine and the private sector. She is also passionate personally, having experienced the patient perspective many times herself.

Alice is currently a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she advises clients across the pharmaceutical, health services and global health sectors. Alice also leads the internal knowledge center on women’s health and currently leading efforts in women’s health market landscaping.

Previously, Alice’s passion to improve lives for the underserved led her to work in East Africa and Asia in reproductive health and family planning with a variety of international and grassroots nonprofits. As a clinician, she focused on women’s health globally and published articles and case studies examining healthcare in low-income countries.

Alice holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and MD from the University of Michigan Medical School, where she was a Dean’s Merit Scholar. She also graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan with a BS/MPH dual degree in Biochemistry and Global Public Health. She completed post-graduate medical training in internal medicine with Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West.

Alice currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and new puppy. In her spare time, Alice enjoys dancing, group fitness and talking to anyone who will listen about women’s health and FemTech.

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