CSweetener in Xcomony!

Amid Gender Gap Talk, Mentor Network Emerges For Women In Health, Bio

Alex Lash | Xconomy

It’s been more than a year since an infamous party with hired models in cocktail dresses captured the biotech community’s attention at the 2016 J.P. Morgan conference.

There has been plenty of talk since about closing biotech’s notable gender gap. At this year’s J.P Morgan conference, for example, a group of 100 life science executives and others pledged to follow a list of gender diversity “best practices.”

There has also been some action. Launched last fall, a nonprofit mentoring program for women in healthcare and biotech has already signed up about 100 women, according to its founder.

The group, called CSweetener, is meant as a boost for women who are nearing the executive level. It is the brainchild of life sciences investor Lisa Suennen, who is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and publishes a popular industry blog and podcast. Suennen and cofounder Lisa Serwin have cobbled together $125,000 in donations, grants, and sponsorships to commission a software platform that could be what Suennen calls a “Match.com for mentors.” Because of her high profile, she says she receives frequent requests from women executives for help and advice. “If I said yes to everyone, I wouldn’t have time to work,” she says. “So I thought, ‘What if I can outsource this problem?'”

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