As Pittsburgh surges with innovation and entrepreneurial ventures, various segments of this population find ways of connecting in new ways. There are groups of young CEO/founders that meet for dinner monthly. There are similar groups for more experienced CEO/executives that meet regularly. At our regional universities, there are numerous university entrepreneurial clubs, including one that is for entrepreneurially-minded Chinese students studying in the US. There are organizations around engineering, computer science, and other disciplines. But one area is missing: I don’t know of any women entrepreneurial groups or clubs.
So we decided to start one. Which we did – the local chapter of the national organization, Women in Bio (WIB). We started WIB Pittsburgh because we got a resounding positive response when we polled friends and associates as to whether they would be interested and would participate in such an organization. We got a resounding “yes” from everyone that we spoke to. I am an entrepreneur, and we call this market research. Our market, our customers, our future members are the women that populate the life sciences community in the Pittsburgh region.
Turns out, there are a lot of them. From large companies to startups, from CMU to Pitt, there are lots of women who want to network with each other. We held our first networking pre-launch event in mid-May, gracefully hosted by the PLSG (thank you Lynn Brusco, VP and Chief Relationship Officer, PLSG, and WIB Pittsburgh Board member and sponsorship committee Chair). WIB Pittsburgh is led by President Dottie Clower of Cohera Medical, and other board members: Pat Rogan of Immunetrics, and Lidiya Orlichenko of Pitt.
About 22 women showed up for this wine and cheese social, to learn more about WIB and to exchange ideas about what the organization should do for its upcoming members.
We learned from the younger attendees that they were delighted to meet older experienced women in the industry. We learned from our seasoned colleagues that they were happy to mentor the younger women and help guide them in their career choices. From those in between we learned that they couldn’t believe that an organization by them and for them could exist because none had existed heretofore. Women LIKE to help each other!
WIB Pittsburgh is seeking members to get involved and to help with a major launch that is planned for the fall with a national speaker. Plans are in process for a second informal networking event later this summer. Go WIB Pittsburgh. Go women!