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News > Club News > WIB-Capital Region News > WIB-Capital Region: 5th Annual HERstory Gala, April 27, 2023

WIB-Capital Region: 5th Annual HERstory Gala, April 27, 2023

The Fifth Annual WIB-Capital Region HERstory Gala took place Thursday, April 27, 2023, at the VisArt Studio in Rockville Town Square. This year’s event was sold out, with 140+ in attendance, and was the most sponsored event since 2018! Our sponsors included TEDCO, ATCC, MaxCyte Inc, AstraZeneca, and media sponsor BioBuzz. The success of the HERstory Gala 2023 would not be possible without the leadership of WIB-Capital Region Chair Dr. Geeta Peverada, Vice Chair Alice Ku, and Chair Emeritus Dr. Stephanie M. Davis. As well as the hard work accomplished by the planning committee members: Dr. Theresa Cassino, Dr. Nao Gamo, Dr. Ashley Huderson, Dr. Illana Goldberg, Dr. Amrita Madabushi, Dr. Sunny Sun, Dr. Althea Lang, Dr. Meredith McGuire, Ryann DeChirico, Savanah Shumaker, Arielle Garcia, Miriam Hays, and Cindy Kurak.

The event began with a cocktail reception where WIB members and supporters mingled over drinks and appetizers. Afterward, a seated dinner proceeded while the Mistress of Ceremonies, Dr. Geeta Peverada, welcomed the crowd, provided an overview of WIB, and introduced the keynote speakers. The keynote speakers were Dr. Marie Bernard, Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Sally Allain, Head of JLABS at Johnson & Johnson Innovation. The attendees had the pleasure of hearing from two truly inspiring women as they shared their wisdom and advice learned over the years from their career and personal journeys.

Dr. Marie Bernard spoke about her professional experience as a minority in the medical field and all that led her to her current role as Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity at the NIH. In closing, Dr. Bernard captivated the audience as she gave her 10 Commandments to live by (adapted from an Association of American Medical Colleges mid-level women’s training program):

  • YOU SHALL know your life’s mission, celebrate your uniqueness, and identify your strengths and weaknesses
  • YOU SHALL be a winner by realistically setting professional and personal goals, prioritizing and consistently pursuing them, systematically removing identifiable barriers, but remaining flexible enough to grasp unexpected opportunities.
  • YOU SHALL maintain a balance between your professional and personal life, giving priority to your own health and wellness, intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
  • YOU SHALL know the academic rules and play by them
  • REMEMBER: time is your most valuable resource – use it carefully and with accountability
  • YOU SHALL not kill yourself with over-commitment – learn to say NO when it is appropriate and to live within your means.
  • YOU SHALL be an effective communicator – both orally and in writing
  • YOU SHALL seek counsel and effective feedback, especially from a mentor colleague
  • YOU SHALL live life with integrity, self-discipline, and good humor, taking ownership of your mistakes and learning from each life experience.
  • YOU SHALL do for others what you wish they would do for you – enriching the world.

Sally Allain shared her story of a nontraditional career path after deciding to move with her family overseas. She emphasized the importance of using our own talents and abilities to seek opportunities and excel in any given role. Her story of how she became the Head of JLABS at Johnson & Johnson Innovation served as an inspiration to all who heard it, and her message of perseverance resonated deeply with the audience. The speaker session was followed by a lively and engaging Q&A session.

Following the keynote speaker was the award presentation portion of the evening. The 2022 Rising Star Award was presented to Dr. Amrita Madabushi, the Associate Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Training Office, for her work and impact within her community. The 2022 WIB Inclusion Grant was presented to Dimensions Sciences for their unwavering commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion and how it has significantly impacted the community and has set a positive example for other organizations to follow.

Thank you to all who attended for making the event a smashing success! We look forward to seeing you at next year’s HERstory gala.

Samantha Paro

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Women In Bio is an organization of professionals committed to promoting careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship of all women in the life sciences.

WIB membership and events are inclusive of all who support our mission.

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