The Growth, Success and Benefits of DA4S Over the Years

Parting thoughts from Shirley Tang-Audritsh, Eli Lilly, and Deborah Wood, DWA Healthcare Communications Group, as they move on from their Diversity Alliance for Science Board of Director roles.

1. Growth and Success

Deborah Wood
Founder and CEO, DWA Healthcare Communications Group

As I consider my years as a member of Diversity Alliance for Science, and especially the last 5 years on the Board of Directors, the most memorable development I have witnessed is the total of the many efforts that precipitated growth not only in membership, but also in the value Diversity Alliance for Science delivers to its members.   When I joined DA4S in 2012, it was an intimate organization for small/diverse suppliers in the life sciences that held 2 conferences a year.  It was relatively unknown and an organization that did not just have a mission; they were on a mission – rich with spirit.  Diversity Alliance for Science has matured into a sophisticated organization with a year- round presence for its members and well known for its differentiator – the focus on the life sciences.

What has not changed is the uniquely different experience – the culture that nurtures relationships and creates real opportunities for members.  That evolution has been driven by the development of a strategic plan in 2013, which identified the path forward and the plan to get there.  This has moved Diversity Alliance for Science from a passionate “start-up” to a mature organization that is member focused, innovative, and deliberately different from like organizations. Also fascinating is the discussion and continued planning for the future as well as the ongoing operational improvements.  President, Jinus Moghbeli and the BOD have had ongoing discussions on the model, the focus, the value chain to members and the future relevancy.  At the 2018 June conference, Jinus shared parts of the vision to the attendees.  It was exciting to see the transparency of those thoughts and to be on the forefront of the discussion.  Diversity Alliance for Science will continue to evolve its offerings both live and virtually.  As example, planning for micro-site meetings in different regions is in the planning stages.

Shirley Tang- Audritsh
Supplier Diversity Program Manager, Eli Lilly & Co.

It’s been amazing to see how Diversity Alliance for Science has transformed over the past 6 years.   When I attended my first DA4S conference in 2012, I liked it right away – friendly people, great workshops, suppliers with pharmaceutical experience, and all the major pharmaceutical companies were under one roof. Talk about one-stop shopping – it was the best conference for bringing together capable suppliers and pharmaceutical companies! I decided then that this would be the organization that I want to grow together with.

Fast forward 6 years to 2018, Diversity Alliance for Science is at its best- EVER. Under the Leadership of Jinus Moghbeli from Amgen and previously, Tom Thattacherry from Genentech, the organization has transformed its strategy from being a conference-focused organization to a more comprehensive advocacy organization that offers year-round programs and services.  Just to name a few of the enhancements:

  • Various webinars are now offered to members throughout the year
  • The Mentorship program was taken to the next level and has grown to accommodate more suppliers/corporates than ever before
  • Increase in the number of member pharmaceutical corporations
  • The addition of the West Coast conference
  • Technology transformation – providing improved infrastructure to support the organization

I am grateful that I was given an opportunity to grow with this organization, proud of this organization’s growth and excited to see what the future holds!


2. Three Key Benefits of Being a Diversity Alliance for Science Member
(Shared thoughts from Deborah and Shirley)

Diversity Alliance for Science provides a unique three-way opportunity to build on connections between suppliers-corporates, suppliers-suppliers and corporates-corporates.

The Mentorship Program is a very structured program, which helps ensure consistency and quality of the mentorship program. The Mentorship Program provides an invaluable experience for both the supplier and the corporate and allows for knowledge sharing and coaching to help members develop both personally and professionally.

There are opportunities to continue learning from the Diversity Alliance for Science organization at both of the two conferences (East and West Coast) as well as the webinars. In keeping with the spirit of the organization, the workshops can be unique. They are engaging, interactive and sometimes just out right hilarious.  However, there is always a strong learning objective tied directly back to member’s needs.  We can probably all agree that we learn better when we are engaged and can have a little fun, too.