by Dee Knopp, Executive Director
One way that Diversity Alliance for Science is unique from other national diversity organizations is that it is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that include life science corporations and owners of small/diverse businesses that service the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Our Board Members are all talented individuals and leaders who are passionate about promoting diversity within their communities and continually advocate for the development and utilization of small and diverse business owners.
As we head into our East Coast Conference next month in Newark, New Jersey, we sat down with Jinus Moghbeli, President of the organization, to learn a little more about her journey as a board member and to gain insight into what we can expect this year at the East Coast Conference and tips on how you can make the most of the experience.
Tell us how you first got involved with Diversity Alliance for Science?
In April 2012, my predecessor left Amgen and the Supplier Diversity program was handed to me. Diversity Alliance for Science was the first conference (May 2012) that I had to attend, as Amgen was already signed up to attend as a sponsor. That was the first time I was exposed to the organization.
What’s your first memory of attending your first Diversity Alliance for Science conference?
Being in a Supplier Diversity role for less than a month, unsure of what to expect and not knowing what I was supposed to be doing at the conference, I was pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the members/attendees, the friendly culture of the organization and a sense of community and willingness to connect, network and support one another! Not to mention Leah Brown (Founder), asked me to participate on a panel to talk about sourcing at Amgen!! It was unique and different, but there was nothing intimidating or overwhelming about the whole experience. On the contrary, it was extremely welcoming with effective communication and networking.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your participation in this organization?
Getting to know and work with numerous professionals (both corporations and suppliers), who are extremely talented, passionate and committed to providing a platform to identify, attract, and develop small and/or diverse businesses and drive inclusive procurement practices, which literally happens to be the mission of Diversity Alliance for Science.
You’ve been President for two years now, how has the organization evolved over the last few years and what’s in store for the future?
I don’t even know where to start! When I joined the board a few years ago, I could not believe that with minimal structure and process in place, how our Board of Directors and other volunteer members would step up at the last minute and deliver a successful conference (magic!). Since then, we have come a long way to have strategic framework and objectives, develop the necessary infrastructure (structured committees, policy/procedures, technology tools, and set SMART goals to take the organization to the next level. Everything we do, is directly upon the reflection of the feedback gathered from our members and conference attendees. Unlike many organizations, the Diversity Alliance for Science Board of Directors are not only the driving force behind all efforts and progress, but also the designers and executers. They have so many unique and extraordinary ideas to advance the organization in such a way that we constantly improve our members’ experience and deliver value. We will concentrate to get financially stabilized in order to have the resources and support we need to implement all these ideas and advance DA4S towards a world class organization.
What motivates and excites you the most about volunteering for this organization?
Working with so many dedicated, passionate and talented individuals who are marching on the same path towards the same goal: OUR MISSION!
What can we expect at this year’s East Coast Conference?
There are literally 100+ committed professionals (CEO/Presidents of well established businesses, corporate professionals, etc.) who have been working diligently to select the best speakers and panelists, develop educational workshops, kick-off the new mentorship class, conduct the biggest matchmaking session yet and in short, design a program that would maximize the value delivered to attendees. I am confident that it will be another success story in our history!!!
What advice can you give to first time attendees and anyone considering attending the East Coast conference in June?
Come prepared! Know why you are here: identify who your prospects are
Be present! Connect, shake hands, introduce yourself
Get engaged! Attend different sessions and ASK QUESTIONS!
Keep an open mind! Listen and consider different ideas, approaches, things that you have never considered/done before could be your solution to expansion and development; and
ENJOY YOURSELF! We take a lot of pride in our friendly, yet professional culture!
Each year, our organization determines how many Board seats are available based on vacancies and needed skill sets. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a Diversity Alliance for Science Board Member, please click here for more information.
Jinus Moghbeli will be serving her role as President in the organization through September 2019. She is an extraordinary volunteer in this role and truly keeps the organization focused and energized. She has many incredible attributes which has allowed the organization to achieve what it has through these last couple years bringing us to our 10th year celebration in 2017. With Jinus having a little over one more year in her role as President, we are excited to have her lead the organization to the next level! The board and volunteers look forward to continuing on this journey with her as our remarkable leader!