SDBN Podcast: Achieving Racial Equity in Biotech

It won’t be a surprise to you that Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in the the San Diego biotech community. There are probably many reasons why that is and just as many ways to address it.

Jonathan Wosen recently reported on the disparity in the San Diego Union Tribune.  Before becoming a writer, he earned a PhD in Immunology from Stanford. Our conversation just scratches the surface of this important issue.

Jonathan’s article references the experience of Paul Mola, CEO of Roswell Technologies and a previous guest on this podcast. In addition to sharing his own experience as an African American scientist, Jonathan shared with me the experience of sitting in on an internal conversation Paul led at Roswell in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. That part of our conversation seems a good example for many companies.

Here are a couple of other takeaways:

Starting these conversations can be hard. While I have long been aware of my own privilege, I only recently began to recognize the things I wouldn’t have thought of in that context before. I am grateful to Jonathan for giving me permission to ask anything in our pre-interview. I could have been walking on eggshells, worried about saying something offensive out of ignorance (not knowing what I don’t know). Without that permission, the conversation doesn’t get started.

We also talked about mentorship. It’s important for people to have mentors who look like them for sure. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from being a mentor. And you don’t need to be near retirement to mentor someone. You only need to be a little bit ahead. How awesome would it be to be a mentor and mentee at the same time?

I hope you’ll give this a listen. Let’s all do what we can to enure everyone gets a fair shot at contributing to this community.