Life Sciences Workforce Conference Speakers

Navigating Expansion and ContractionBuilding a strong and diverse life sciences workforce for the long game

Background

The annual Life Science Workforce Conference convenes representatives from the life sciences industry, academic institutions, training providers, and community leaders to collaborate in addressing fundamental questions:
What resources can be mobilized to secure a resilient job market and promote workforce diversity for the long term? 
How can we come together as a life sciences community to examine and discuss the intricacies and shifts of a fluid labor market?
How does the perspective on the 2024 landscape differ from the previous years?

The requirements of the life sciences job market are consistently expanding, and there is a sustained demand for a robust workforce. Despite ongoing shifts in the industry’s landscape, the life sciences sector will persist as a prominent employer and a key economic driver in Massachusetts. The 2024 MassBioEd Life Science Workforce conference brings the life sciences community together to explore the issues and strategies in building a strong life sciences workforce. 

Welcome Introduction

Sunny Schwartz

Sunny Schwartz
Chief Executive Officer, MassBioEd

As CEO, Sunny leads the strategic vision for MassBioEd’s education and workforce development efforts. Sunny is proud to lead MassBioEd into its third decade of growing and developing talent in the Massachusetts life sciences workforce, which in turn develops innovations that save and improve lives. Under Sunny’s leadership and with an amazing team, MassBioEd has tripled in size since 2019 when Sunny joined the organization, adding innovative workforce development programs such as the Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program, College to Career, and the Life Sciences Career Hub while focusing BioTeach on high needs school districts though the ACCESS Program. In her previous positions, Sunny served as President & CEO of the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board, charged with leading workforce development policy and partnership building for a 20-city region, Chief Operating Officer of the Asian American Civic Association, a direct service education and training provider, and Program Development Manager at Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public state agency under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Sunny has been a leader in the education and workforce development fields in Massachusetts since 2000, building partnerships to provide employers with a highly skilled workforce and expanding access to great careers for low-income residents. Sunny also has experience in community organizing and social work. Sunny holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan.

MassBioEd Employment Outlook

John Brothers

John Brothers
Senior Director of Workforce Development Strategy, MassBioEd

John joined MassBioEd in 2021. As Senior Director of Workforce Development Strategy, John works closely with stakeholders across the Massachusetts Life Sciences Industry, academic institutions, and workforce development partners to develop and implement strategies that result in an expanded pipeline with more diverse talent entering the sector. Before joining MassBioEd in 2021, he served as Executive Director of Training, Inc. and the International Learning Center, programs of the YMCA of Greater Boston, where he built partnerships and employer relationships to support job training and adult education. Previously, he was the Executive Director of Quincy Asian Resources for 12 years, serving the growing immigrant community south of Boston through college and career readiness and mentoring programs, adult English education and workforce programs, and community partnerships. John holds a B. A. in International Affairs from American University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.

Community of Opportunity: Exploring the Diverse Career Paths in Biotech

Yolanda McLean

Yolanda McLean
Senior Director, Global Quality Control, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Yolanda McLean brings over two decades of invaluable experience to the table in the biopharmaceutical industry, currently serving as the Senior Director of Quality Control at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. In her role, she is at the forefront of shaping and implementing strategic initiatives that drive quality excellence, alongside managing the day-to-day operational activities that ensure the rigorous testing of pharmaceutical products. This dual focus not only guarantees the highest standards of product integrity and regulatory compliance but also plays a critical role in safeguarding patient safety, reflecting her deep commitment to operational excellence and strategic leadership in the biopharmaceutical industry. 

Her journey into the industry was driven by a deep-seated desire to help people, a calling that initially found its expression through her work as an EMT. It was in this capacity that Yolanda discovered how to fuse this desire with her love of science, paving the way for a distinguished career in biopharmaceuticals. 

Growing up in the Bostonian neighborhood of Dorchester, MA, as the daughter of a single mother, Yolanda was encouraged to pursue her intellectual curiosities from a young age. Supported by loving Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and later, her Stepfather, Yolanda grew up understanding the strength that comes from encouragement and the foundational role of support in forging a strong path. Yolanda’s academic path led her to earn a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Studies from the Maine Maritime Academy.  Furthering her commitment to leadership and empowerment, she also holds a Certificate in Women’s Leadership from Simmons College. 

A passionate champion for STEM outreach, Yolanda is dedicated to ensuring fundamental access to career opportunities. She has been highly active in fostering partnerships that enhance biotechnology education and workforce development as Alnylam’s liaison to MassBioEd, and through leadership roles within the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE) International and Boston Chapters, among other contributions. Her work extends to advising high schools on developing biotech programs and volunteering with the Hawaii Science and Technology Museum, underscoring her dedication to making STEM accessible, approachable, and engaging for all.  

Badging and Microcredentialing Workshop

Speakers

Jared Auclair, Ph.D.

Jared Auclair, Ph.D.
Vice Provost Research Economic Development & Director of Bioinnovation in the Office of the Provost, Northeastern University


Jared R. Auclair, Ph.D. is currently the Vice Provost Research Economic Development and Director of Bioinnovation in the Office of the Provost at Northeastern University.  As Vice Provost Research Economic Development, Dr. Auclair works to strengthen the bonds between our education and research missions by strengthening the integration of work-integrated credentialed learning and use-inspired research, co-creating with communities and partners while expanding our global mindset.  As Director of Bioinnovation, Dr. Auclair works to leverage important University activities around biotechnology, bringing together experts from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds to advance the expansion of Northeastern life sciences programs.  In addition to these roles, Dr. Auclair holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology where he collaborates with academic researchers, industry and government in the area of biopharmaceutical development and analysis. 

Sasha B. Goldman, PhD

Sasha B. Goldman, PhD
Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs, Boston University

Sasha B. Goldman, PhD is the Director for PhD Resources in Boston University’s Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs office. She is responsible for overseeing the PhD Progression micro-credentialing platform for doctoral student professional development, PhD Writing Support, and produces the Vitamin PhD podcast. She is the Co-PI of the NSF Innovations in Graduate Education project which is focused on bringing industry knowledge to the PhD Progression micro-credentials. Sasha develops and leads regular programming, workshops, and trainings for current doctoral students in areas of career planning and professional development, project management, writing and communication, and teaching. 

Panelists

Padraig Deigham

Padraig Deigham
Dean, School of Science and Health, Associate Professor of Biology, Emmanuel College

Preparing Students for the Ever-Changing Workforce

Moderator

Monique S. Cooper, PhD, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic and Career Engagement and Success (ACES), Student Equity, Access and Success (SEAS)

Monique S. Cooper, PhD.
Assistant Vice Provost for Academic and Career Engagement and Success (ACES), Student Equity, Access and Success (SEAS)

Monique S. Cooper is an equity-minded higher education professional who is passionate about creating and sustaining inclusive campus climates where students from diverse backgrounds can thrive. Her extensive professional experiences include teaching, counseling, advising, and administration. Her multicultural and equity-minded philosophy focuses on optimizing holistic development, cultural empowerment and empathy, and career readiness and satisfaction for all students. She possesses a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree in School Counseling from Cambridge College, and a Ph.D. degree in Learning, Leadership, and Educational Policy from the University of Connecticut. Her dissertation focused on examining perceptions and enactment of equity-minded, culturally sustaining career services. In addition, she has delivered trainings, keynotes, and workshops nationally on a variety of topics including anti-racist career services, building and sustaining culturally responsive teams, and enhancing DEI efforts in higher education.

Currently, Dr. Cooper is the Assistant Vice Provost for Academic and Career Engagement and Success at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She oversees a team of academic and career advisors and career services professionals who are tasked with implementing a holistic, student-centered advising model. Through collaborative efforts, she has secured over $1M in donor funding to support equitable student outcomes and career success.

Speakers

Vanecia Harrison-Sanders

Vanecia Harrison-Sanders
College of Science-Cooperative Education Director Graduate Co-op Programs PhD Work Experience Coordinator Senior Faculty Co-op Coordinator, Northeastern University

DEI: The State of Racial, Ethnic & Gender Diversity in the Life Sciences

Moderator

Emerson Foster

Emerson Foster
Senior Vice President, Head of Human Resources, U.S. Business Unit & U.S. People Advisory Group, Takeda

Emerson Foster is the Head of U.S. Human Resources for Takeda, a global values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader, committed to discover and deliver life-transforming treatments. In this capacity, Emerson leads the people strategy across the company’s U.S. Business Unit.   

He is known for his authentic leadership style that is driven by a passion for connecting business leaders to organizational and community projects to deliver mutual sustainable results. Emerson has built a steady career as an HR leader spanning more than 25 years in various industries that include supermarkets, health services, banking and pharmaceuticals.  

Emerson has experience in non-profits as either a founding member, board member or active participant. He is a founding Board member of Bottom Line (www.bottomline.org), as well as Men and Women of Action, the Boston Men’s Dinner Group and the initial Alumni of Color forum at the University of Rhode Island. Emerson currently sits on the boards of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, New England Culinary Arts Training and on the advisory board for BAM – Becoming A Man.   

Panelists

Tom Browne

Tom Browne
Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, MassBio

Tom Browne is MassBio’s lead for DEI consultancy, focused on corporate operations and culture. He specializes in employee well-being and retention, supplier diversity, and DEI program marketing.​ 

Alongside colleagues at MassBio’s workforce training center – Bioversity – Tom advises on launching, growing, and sustaining DEI initiatives, especially as they relate to supporting non-traditional talent. This critical work is part of MassBio’s commitment to improve representation and belonging across the life sciences, develop a more diverse talent pipeline, and make their members more successful and better aligned with patient populations.​ 

Prior to joining MassBio, Tom led the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Inclusion team and moved to Boston from the UK where he ran local corporate philanthropy broker Businesses for Islington Giving.”

Hear from the CEOs: Keynote

Speakers
Dr. Yvonne Greenstreet

Dr. Yvonne Green Street, MBChB
Chief Executive Officer, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Yvonne Greenstreet was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam in October 2021. For nearly seven years, as President and Chief Operating Officer and now CEO, she has led Alnylam in the pursuit of innovative therapies to address unmet medical needs. She is responsible for overall corporate vision, strategy, value creation, organizational development, and R&D of RNAi therapeutics to address genetic medicine, cardio-metabolic diseases, and hepatic infectious diseases. Throughout her 25 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, she has been instrumental in delivering medicines that transform the lives of people living with diseases in the United States, Europe, and around the world.

Since assuming leadership of Alnylam, she has achieved FDA approval for AMVUTTRA, the first second-generation RNAi therapeutic, and has overseen many additional milestones across Alnylam’s clinical pipeline. These successes have increased momentum toward the Company’s Alnylam P5x25 goals. As President and COO, she led the transformation of Alnylam from an R&D organization to a commercial company. Dr. Greenstreet oversaw creation of all commercial capabilities, including creation of a sales force, and launched ONPATTRO, GIVLAARI, and OXLUMO, the Company’s first commercial products which ushered in a new class of medicines: RNAi therapeutics. She secured partnerships and landmark financing for Alnylam, raising $2.2 billion over 5 years, and secured the largest-ever royalty monetization of a non-approved product.

Born in London and raised in Ghana, Dr. Greenstreet was educated in England and France, earning a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of Leeds. She then practiced as a clinician before receiving her MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and moving into the biotechnology industry where she could have greater impact on more patients. She moved to the United States in 2004.

In 2024, Yvonne was recognized as Woman of the Year by Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association. In 2023, she was named Middle Market Executive of the Year by Boston Business Journal. In 2022, she was named among the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Life Sciences by PharmaVoice, 100 People Transforming Business by Business Insider, and was featured in the Involve Heroes Executives Role Model List of 2022. In 2020, she was included in Boston Business Journal’s list of Women Who Mean Business. In 2013, Fast Company named her among the 100 Most Creative People in Business, and she has been repeatedly recognized as a role model for women of color in the biopharmaceutical sector.

Dr. Greenstreet previously served as Senior Vice President and Head of Medicines Development at Pfizer where she was on the executive team leading a rapidly growing $16 billion division. For the previous 18 years, she worked at GlaxoSmithKline plc as Senior Vice President and Chief of Strategy for Research and Development, as well as in various prior positions of increasing responsibility.

Dr. Greenstreet serves on the board of directors of The American Funds. She is a member of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee, the Discovery Council of Harvard Medical School and a member of the Board of the Biomedical Science Careers Program. She also is a member of Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Health Section Governing Board (HSGB).

Julie Kim

Julie Kim
President, U.S. Business Unit, and U.S. Country Head, Takeda

Julie Kim is President of the U.S. Business Unit, U.S. Country Head and member of Takeda’s Executive Team. The U.S. Business Unit portfolio encompasses gastroenterology, neuroscience, plasma-derived therapies and rare diseases. 

She joined Takeda in 2019 through the acquisition of Shire, where she held several diverse roles with increasing responsibility. As part of Takeda, she became the President of the Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit, the position she occupied until April of 2022, when she became President of the U.S. Business Unit and U.S. Country Head. 

Julie has 30 years of experience in health care, with leadership positions at global, regional, country and functional levels. In the biopharmaceutical industry, her experiences have spanned a variety of therapeutic areas, international market access, country and regional general management, marketing and emerging market development.  

Julie is known for strong, collaborative and inclusive leadership that enables Takeda to meet the needs of the people the company serves while driving innovations that will improve patients’ lives. Her global outlook, a result of having worked in many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as having lived in the U.K., Switzerland and the U.S., have helped her create teams that are diverse in multiple dimensions to enable inclusive decision-making that keeps the patient at the center.   

Julie serves on the boards of directors for PhRMA, an organization which represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, and Croda International, a company which leverages smart science to create high-performance ingredients and technologies that improve lives. She was named one of Boston’s 50 Most Influential Asian American Pacific Islanders in 2023, to The 2022 PharmaVoice 100 list and to Fierce Pharma’s list of 2020’s Fiercest Women in Life Sciences.  

She earned an MBA from the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dartmouth College. She resides with her family in the Boston area. 

Assessing Your System for Equity

Speakers

Dominique Brewer

Dominique Brewer
Head of Culture & Engagement, HR Chief of Staff for the United States Business Unit, Takeda

Lauren Celano

Lauren Celano
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Propel Careers

Lauren is the co-founder and CEO of Propel Careers, a life science search and career development firm focused on connecting talented individuals with entrepreneurial life sciences companies. She has recruited for >60 innovative life sciences organizations to help them hire talent and has coached thousands of students, postdocs, medical residents and professionals to advance their careers. Lauren presents often at conferences and at universities and research institutions on career development topics to inspire the next generation of talent. Before Propel, she spent about 10 years in life sciences advancing drug molecules through SNBL USA, Aptuit, Quintiles, and Absorption Systems. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Gettysburg College and an MBA (focused in the health sector and entrepreneurship) from Boston University. She is on Boards including: MassBioEd (Chair), National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association; and Advisory Boards: the Professional Science Masters Program at Framingham State University and NE GWISE. Lauren actively mentors young scientists through groups like the Association of Women in Science and The International Center for Professional Development.

Crystal Davis

Crystal Davis
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Rizwana Seeham

Rizwana Seeham
Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Blueprint Medicines