Appreciation for Interconnectedness

by Susan Nemetz, March 2022

It was precisely two years ago this month — March 2020 — when I wrote the first sentences of issue #30 of this e-conversation. At the time, I acknowledged the WHO’s declaration that COVID-19 had reached the threshold of a global pandemic.

The remainder of that issue was about how to be productive working remotely. Among other things, I shared some tips and tricks from The NemetzGroup on using Zoom. How quaint it all seems now.

Since then, my team and I have written about many things, including…

… biopharma strategy and commercialization topics;

… the launch of Corval, the (amazing) cloud-based commercialization-planning platform tool informed by decades of supporting early- to mid-stage biopharma companies;

… observations and suggestions regarding leadership and ways of working, all with the goal of elevating capabilities and improving the path from clinic to market for your innovative therapies.

Throughout these many e-conversations, we seek the positive and shine a light on how we can all work more cohesively to achieve our patient-centered goals. Of late, however, it has not been easy.

Together, we have experienced the societal heartache of loss through the pandemic, social and racial injustice, political partisanship, an insurrection, and a broken system in so many areas of government. After all this, how can we now be watching the horrors of war, hour after hour, scroll after scroll?

The collective pain and weight of these things can feel like “too much,” even though many of us are far from directly affected by the consequences of these unprecedented and painful events. The interconnectedness of society broadly — and our industry more specifically — means that we feel it professionally, personally, and financially, let alone emotionally.

I am by no means the go-to source of wisdom on these subjects. And at the moment, it feels a bit tone-deaf to discuss commercialization topics as we usually do (and as important as they are). I thought, instead, that I might highlight in this 55th issue some of the positive impacts I have seen over the past two years resulting from our interconnectedness, and in those same areas where there has been much heartache.

In no particular order, I have witnessed joy and optimism in so many places:

  • DEI. Our biopharma industry has publicly committed to DEI efforts, including the MassBio pledge. Many leadership teams now have at least some gender diversity, and broader diversity has become a priority. It feels real this time, although I know we can all do more.
  • Racial injustice. Numerous leaders have stood up and spoken in this area. They continue to do so, and that matters morally and as business leaders to affect change.
  • Life Science Cares. Project Onramp has placed 164 interns from underrepresented, under-resourced communities in life sciences companies over the past two years and is on track to place another 150 this summer. The contributions these young people make are incredible. (We are excited to be adding another two interns to Corval this summer). We learn from each other!
  • Financial support. Through Life Science Cares and other avenues, our industry committed significant resources to address the impact of COVID-19, including direct financial support for communities most affected by the pandemic. In the context of the larger contributions LSC makes to eliminate poverty, this support felt especially important while most of us worked comfortably from our home offices.
  • A stand for democracy. Numerous biopharma leaders stood up for democracy during the most flagrant challenges to free and fair elections.
  • No more “manels.” MassBio eliminated all-male panels. Now it seems so antiquated to not have men and women sharing their expertise and perspective together.
  • International Women’s Day. Biopharma and company leaders acknowledged and celebrated this month in their own companies and across LinkedIn. Inspiring women have always been here; we are just collectively sharing in that inspiration now.
  • Community strength. Many members of our life science ecosystem feel connected to a community, whether through their company, their profession, or the mission they share. Our communities provide hope, support, and strength while lifting up others striving to do good in the world.
  • Networking. Sharing professional experiences and wisdom is accepted, encouraged, and generously offered up and down the company hierarchy. If you want insights, you can find them.
  • Stand with Ukraine. We have witnessed broad and public declarations of support, together with creative and substantial commitments to partners, suppliers, and colleagues impacted by this needless war.

I am immensely proud to be a part of this “interconnectedness” and the commitment to speaking out and improving the world we live in by such a broad section of industry stakeholders. The progress we have made together, and our shared support of humanity is what I choose to focus on as I seek bright spots during a flood of heartbreaking news stories. Through this collective focus, we will find strength and do amazing things together locally and globally.


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