A greenhouse’s primary function is to help things grow. To create or simulate the optimal environment to spur as much of that growth as possible, actually.
In our case, the pursuit and promotion of growth focuses on the life sciences. Our name – the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse – wasn’t chosen by accident.
My connection with PLSG has been long and deep, but after becoming president, I noticed something troubling. The environment created to spur as much growth as possible in this particular “greenhouse” may not have been an optimal one. One element in particular had been falling short and required additional attention.
It became apparent that, at all of our events, we suffered from a lack of young talent being involved – a serious and unacceptable flaw.
In response, we started talking with entrepreneurs and researchers under the age of 40 to learn why they had not be participating in PLSG programs, and, thankfully, they answered with frank, honest, and constructive comments. Essentially, they believed their needs were not being met. Like anyone else, they need to spend their time wisely and productively, and, having drawn that conclusion about us, they chose not to attend our events or take full advantage of our offerings.
Obviously, this situation needed to change. The life sciences community here is on the rise, but it can only continue to do so when all elements of that community remain engaged. A major part of our mission at PLSG calls for us to remain open and inclusive and meet the needs of the entire life sciences community.
All of this led to establishing a new, six-member “Under 40, Underserved” Advisory Board, whose purpose will be to enlighten PLSG on the specific opportunities and challenges that confront minorities, women, and young entrepreneurs as business leaders in the life sciences.
The primary objective is to enable PLSG to develop and enhance its programs to support these underserved groups, spurring partnerships, friendships, and alliances to broaden individual networks and enhance professional abilities. We believe this new board also can help PLSG in connecting and cooperating with existing support groups in the region, such as Propelle, the Minority Network Exchange, Vibrant Pittsburgh, Coterie, and the T. Howard Foundation.
As president of PLSG, I want to open our doors to the wider community of innovative thinkers, financing sources, potential customers and users of new products, elected officials and governmental representatives, and anyone with an interest in the amazing work being accomplished here in the life sciences, in all its forms. Realizing that we had not been reaching this critical constituency of young people, we are working now to turn that around. We invite everyone interested in the life sciences to join us, as well.
After all, a greenhouse – this one included – is all about promoting growth.
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