Skip to main content

The Next Generation of Women Leaders in Biotech Starts with Us

CSL Seqirus’ Yadi Salamander, Loddie Foose and Becky Elliott are building communities for women in the industry.

CSL Seqirus’ Yadi Salamander, Loddie Foose and Becky Elliott are building communities for women in the industry.

Several female leaders from across CSL Seqirus recently shared ways in which they are building communities for women both at the company and in the industry through mentorships, career development opportunities and the support of companies and each other. 

Yadira Salamander, Senior Manager of Engineering at CSL Seqirus’ Holly Springs, North Carolina manufacturing site, recently championed Women in Bio membership for the hundreds of interested employees across the site. The site now sponsors events for networking and exchange on how women in biotech have overcome challenges in a historically male-dominated industry.

After spending the last 21 years in the industry, Yadira knew change was needed upon realizing, throughout her career over multiple companies, she was often the only woman on a team. Over the years she’s seen improvement, but it’s clear that industry-wide there still aren’t enough women in leadership roles.

A recent study revealed that women make up almost half of the workforce in biotech, but their representation decreases at higher levels of an organization—only 34% of executive teams and 20% of CEOs were reported to be women.
“One of the challenges that we have as women in science is that it's hard to grow representation in our field and progress to become leaders if there's not that many of us out there to uplift others like us in our community,” said Salamander.

As she suggests, greater diversity and gender parity in leadership could be improved through the efforts of individual contributors and managers alike.

“There's a powerful role that a company can set through its programs, through what it brings attention to and sponsors internally and externally. There's also tremendous impact that people have at the individual level because at the end of the day, that's where things are driven,” said Loddie Foose, Senior Director of Distributor and Emerging Markets at CSL Seqirus.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foose began a global leadership development group within the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). This group, called Women in Healthcare (WIH) Give Back, provides women in the healthcare industry a community to lead and support global community initiatives like supplying donated medical equipment to underserved countries. 

“I was talking to one of our women in WIH Give Back about her role with us. It was her first leadership role where she was able to guide a team towards a specific outcome,” Foose said. “She later used the examples of what she did within the group during a job interview that ended up leading to her first actual managerial role in the industry.”

Becky Elliott, Director of Quality Control at CSL Seqirus, has taken a more local approach throughout her career that everyone can participate in - mentorship.

“Mentorship gives encouragement and motivation, especially if they’re feeling overwhelmed at work, as it may be difficult to take on more responsibility or learn a new role,” Elliot said. “As a mentor, you can really help with that as you’ve been in their shoes before and you can share some of your experiences.”

Elliot was connected with several mentors at CSL Seqirus through both a learning and development program and simply by asking. In each case, mentors provided advice and helped her define and reach her goals. These mentors contributed to helping Elliot reach the role she’s in today. 

Elliot and Foose mentor others and encourage their peers to also help contribute to someone’s overall success story and ultimately enable greater diversity, inclusion and equity in the industry. 

“Whether you're mentoring someone or just saying yes when you can to host an event or organize a panel, all of these things have an impact towards moving the mark,” Foose said. “These things shed light on the issue, which turns heads and increases awareness. Awareness is the first step to action, and action is the step before you get to results. So, it all has an impact, no matter how small.”