It was during a break in sessions at a biotech conference in Vancouver. I overheard someone asking their friend if anyone from BioTalent Canada was at the conference. Turning around I introduced myself and met Elizabeth Velasque. “I just wanted to thank you,” she said. “Why? For what?” I asked. Elizabeth went on to explain how the BioTalent Canada website was instrumental in helping her start a new life and career in Canada.
Jason Leibert was an entrepreneurial business graduate looking for opportunities when he discovered life sciences and realized his business education and entrepreneurial spirit would enable him to make a contribution to the industry. Mr. Leibert helped write a business plan for an organ preservation solution while completing his university education, subsequently traveling to various schools across North America entering business plan competitions.
Dalton Pharma, a leading pharmaceutical contracting company in Toronto, started unremarkably enough. “I couldn’t find a job, so I created one in 1986 based upon research I had conducted during my Master’s degree,” remembers Peter Pekos, the company founder. Mr. Pekos had been part of a business incubator at York University where he excelled at making compounds. He partnered with a professor and named his fledgling company after John Dalton, the renowned English chemist, meteorologist and physicist of the 18th century.
Like many people with a scientific education, Nerissa Samad discovered that her educational background didn’t translate well onto paper. “My resumé was very scientific, very technical and very hard for people to understand,” she remembers. “My sister rewrote my resumé, and I always credit her with helping me land my job,” laughs Samad, recalling her foray into business development four years ago. Now Ms. Samad is a business development professional at Dalton Pharma, a leading pharmaceutical contracting company located in Toronto.