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Speed Networking for Life Scientists

Posted by Rebecca Beattie January 27th, 2010 .
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scientist speed networking

When’s the last time you met, had a brief conversation and exchanged cards with 20 professionals in 60 minutes? As a scientist, do you find it difficult to talk your way through a crowd? When it comes to networking, do you have the need for speed? Then maybe speed networking is for you! At last week’s SDBN event our members had the opportunity to meet one potential customer, referral, collaborator, qualified candidate, possible employer after another. Here’s how it worked.

Prior to starting, we gave a brief presentation describing what the next hour was gong to look like. Tables were arranged into a large ‘U’ shape with chairs on each side (members facing each other, see photos on Flickr for more details).  A diagram explained that the people sitting on the outside of the ‘U’ were going to stay in their seats while those on the inside would move one seat to their right upon hearing a cue. The four basic guidelines were…

  1. You have 3 minutes total – Why three? Two is too little and five… well that would be too much. We knew that participants would be fried after 60 minutes and we wanted everyone to connect with at least 20 other professionals so… we landed on 3 minutes.
  2. Introduce yourself – Allow each person to introduce themselves before starting the conversation.
  3. Refine your message – We asked the participants to think about what they wanted to walk away with that night. Was it a contact name at a company they are seeking employment with? A collaborative partner for a project they are working on? Maybe to increase their LinkedIn professional network? Whatever their goal, it needed to be the main message in these brief conversations.
  4. Have fun – What’s the point if no one is having a good time!

With participants facing each other, guidelines in place and stopwatch in hand, we were ready to begin. “Your three minutes starts.. NOW!” The room was singing with energy and all 82 participants were engaged. As promised, at the end of the 3-minute cycle we prompted the room to “rotate”… 3 minutes later “rotate” and then again to “roooootate”… you get the picture.

One very short hour later we called the last “rotate” and asked participants to conclude their final conversation. So what ensued after the 60-minute speed networking session… more networking! Could it be that this type of exercise helps you feel more comfortable talking to strangers, communicating a business need and building your social capital? YES!

The post session comments have lead us to believe that this was a very successful event and one that our members would like to participate in again. What are your thoughts? Did you meet anyone that will help you further a professional goal? Did the overall event meet your expectations? How can we improve next time?

Special thanks to Fiona Godsman of Nexxus Scotland for the idea.

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SDBN January 19th Event: Maximizing Your Career Potential in 2010

Posted by Mary Canady January 6th, 2010 .
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biotech career success

We had a great time in 2008/2009 getting to know San Diego Biotech professionals, and we appreciate the feedback you gave us about 2010 events. Let’s kick off the new year by talking about you! Our January event will be focused on honing your networking and interviewing skills and helping you maximize your career potential in 2010.

The event will include speed networking (described below) along with talks from the experts at PROVEN Scientific Staffing and RxResearch Staffing titled ‘Understanding Behavioral Styles of Interviewers’ (more info) & ‘Outsourcing Trends’ (more info), respectively. These two topics offer valuable insights for any professional looking to further his/her career (we know that’s you!). Aerotek will also be on hand, and we’re going to have as many job listings and hiring managers as possible at the event. Also, check out the SDBN jobs page and subscribe to updates. There are still sponsorship options available, contact us if you’re interested.

SPEED NETWORKING: Here’s how it works – You will meet a handful of local professionals during a number of fast paced sessions. At the end of each session, participants will pair up with their next networking opportunity. In just a few minutes, participants will share business cards, history and offer new contacts with valuable information about their business. For example:

  • Who do you know that might need their services?
  • What contacts do you have in the area in which I am seeking a job?
  • How might we do business together?

Come prepared to have fun and meet some new faces, and be sure to bring lots of business cards! (p.s. Vistaprint is a great source for free ones)

Of course, our venue has a great atmosphere which is always fun and conducive to meeting people, click here to register and we hope to see you there. Also, if you have suggestions for the event, feel free to leave them below, we love feedback.

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Event Details

Who: Biotechnology professionals in the greater San Diego area
What: San Diego Biotechnology Network’s January 19th Maximizing Your Career Potential in 2010
When: Tuesday, January 19th, 5:30-9:00 p.m.
Where: Tango Del Rey, 3567 Del Rey Street, San Diego 92109 (Directions below)
Cost: $20, including appetizers, cash bar ($15 for Academics) +$5 at door, cash/check only
Contact: http://sdbn.org/contact
For more information about the event: http://sdbn.org/january

Directions: From the North: South on Interstate 5, Exit Balboa Ave, Straight to 4th Traffic Light then left on Bunker Hill St. Building directly ahead 3 blks. From the South: North on Interstate 5, Exit Grand/ Garnet Ave, Straight to 3rd Traffic Light then right on Bunker Hill St. Building directly ahead 3 blks. Park on the street or in the structure just past Tango del Rey.


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What Will San Diego Biotech Look Like in 2010?

Posted by Mary Canady December 22nd, 2009 .
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The results are in! We polled you to see what you want with the San Diego Biotechnology Network in 2010. The full results from 68 respondents can be seen here, and here’s a short summary:

  1. Drug Discovery, Drug Development, Translational Research, Research Tools, Medical Devices were the top areas of interest. Although Stem Cells and Green/Clean Tech were not highly chosen, companies in these areas were suggested to be featured.
  2. Companies you’d like to hear from: Illumina, Celgene, Ambrx, CareFusion, Sapphire Energy, Fate Therapeutics, Life Technologies
  3. Charities you’re interested in: Disease areas, community outreach
  4. You think the mix of science/networking is good, with a slight bias towards more networking.

To get an overview of the feedback, check out the tag cloud of the essay answers–we think it gives a nice flavor of what you’re looking for and what to expect in 2010. We were encouraged by your feedback and willingness to participate and will start giving you more ways to get involved soon. Leave more feedback below, we can’t get enough of it!

We’re working on the 2010 schedule and finding volunteers, partners and sponsors, now is the time to contact us to get involved!

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San Diego/Scotland Synergies?

Posted by Mary Canady December 18th, 2009 .

Our work cultivating a biotech network in San Diego has attracted a lot of attention. When I travel, or on social media, I tell people how our group has a real ‘energy’ which is fueled by the combination of online and face-to-face interactions. I met the folks from Nexxus Scotland, a group that was launched in 2003 with similar ideals to the SDBN. They asked me to write a summary of our network for their quarterly newsletter which you can access here. Check out the Nexxus site and what they’re doing in Scotland–we both share strong ties to our academic heritage. They’ve also been around longer than us, and I think we can learn from their success.

We’ve also had interest from other regions who have a keen interest in interacting with us. Luke Timmerman mentioned great synergies that can exist between biotech hubs at their recent event. What do you think about forging stronger relationships with other hubs, and how could we facilitate these interactions?


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Attend Lab Automation 2010–Lots of Affordable Options

Posted by Mary Canady December 9th, 2009 .
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Lab Automation 2010 is a somewhat self-explanatory conference which brings together diverse industries such as drug discovery and development, forensics and security, and clinical diagnostics. Next year it will be in Palm Springs January 23-27, and they have many affordable (or even free) options for attending. Here is a list of the options for those of you on a budget (aren’t we all these days):

  1. Early Bird Discount. Register by Dec. 14th and get $200 off of the industry rate and $100 off of the academic rate. See details on the registration information page
  2. Waivers. If you qualify, you can get free admission as an academic (PDF) or if you are unemployed (PDF).
  3. Free exhibit hall pass. The exhibit hall is full and will have many interesting companies (and cool instruments of course) for you to network with. There is even some free food involved, see details on the registration information page.
  4. Day Pass. You can attend for just one day for half the rate. Great for those of us who want to drive up and might not want to spend the night. See details on the registration information page.

In addition, ALA also provides free career counseling and great weekend short courses. It could be a very fruitful trip for you up the 15!