Madame Chair: Regina Shanklin Leads Board of Organization for African Americans in the Life Sciences

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Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Communication | NBPA | National Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Association | Pharmaceutical | diversity | life sciences | marketing | minority | resource

Madame Chair: Regina Shanklin Leads Board of Organization for African Americans in the Life Sciences

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Press Release
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 4:00pm

(3BL Media) May 30, 2012 - LinkedIn proved to be more than a way for Regina Shanklin, Sr. Director, Marketing Training, Commercial Capabilities, to keep in touch with professional contacts. It was the springboard to her involvement with a young professional organization primarily comprised of African Americans and blacks in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry, the National Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Association (NBPA). She’s now the chair of its board of directors.

“Dr. James Gillespie, one of NBPA’s founders, saw my LinkedIn profile and thought my pharmaceutical marketing experience would be a valuable complement to the board, which includes an impressive mix of physicians, scientists and educators” said Regina, who was elected to her position last October

It’s easy to understand why Dr. Gillespie would want to recruit Regina to NBPA’s high-caliber volunteer board. During her 10-year career at Sanofi, she’s skillfully guided marketing initiatives for Lantus® SoloStar®, Avapro®/Avalide® and Plavix®; in 2004 and 2005, DTC Perspectives magazine named her one of its 25 DTC Marketers of the Year. Regina has consumer product management experience, with previous responsibility for household brands such as Coppertone® and Dr. Scholl’s® while at Schering-Plough, and Milk-Bone® Dog Snacks and Cream of Wheat® Hot Cereal during her time at Nabisco. With a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering, Regina also earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she graduated in the top 10 percent of her class.

Regina, in turn, was attracted to the organization’s mission of promoting deeper and broader contact, communication and resource exchange among its members: primarily African Americans and blacks in Africa, South America and the Caribbean employed by the life sciences industry. It’s a historically underrepresented group in science and math fields (see graphic). “It means a lot to me to help people network and grow professionally, especially those who may be the only African American in their department or one of a handful in their company,” she said. “The NBPA fills a gap among professional associations and connects African Americans in different parts of the healthcare ecosystem who might otherwise not be aware of each other’s existence.”

Meeting Members’ Needs
As a relatively new organization formed two years ago, the NBPA is still exploring ways to best meet its members’ needs. Networking is the most obvious, says Regina, but the group is also involved in service opportunities, partnering with colleges, advocating for its members and exploring solutions to issues such as career mobility and the underrepresentation of minorities in clinical trials.

To that end, on June 14, NBPA is sponsoring its second Diversity and Clinical Trials symposium, where participants will discuss opportunities and challenges regarding the interface between diverse communities, clinical trials and the pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, as NBPA chair, Regina serves as a steering committee member for the Minority Biomedical Entrepreneurship Conference, which will be held May 21-22 in Cleveland.

“The entrepreneurship conference, while not an NBPA program, is the first of its kind and aligns with our goals, so I’m really excited about it,” says Regina. “It will bring together some of the best minds in business development with people who are working on great science, but might not have expertise in being entrepreneurs. We’re hoping for an exciting exchange of ideas and knowledge.”

One panelist will be Bill Daley, Vice President, Business Development & Licensing, U.S. Medical Affairs. “This conference aligns very well with Sanofi’s vision to build strong external relationships and partnerships with both biotech and academic institutions for growth opportunities,” he said. “More important, it makes good business sense to have diversity in partnerships, especially as diversity in biomedical entrepreneurship is becoming more common. A diversity-balanced approach to partnership is essential for Sanofi’s success, given our patient demographic and our identified growth platforms such as diabetes and consumer healthcare.”

A Two-Way Street
It’s that kind of balance that Regina and the NBPA welcome. “The organization is not for African Americans and blacks only, just as Sanofi’s WISE is open to women and men. We welcome everyone,” says Regina, who is working along with other employees and Sanofi Diversity & Inclusion to develop a diversity employee resource group at Sanofi dedicated to supporting Sanofi’s efforts around the development, retention and inclusiveness of a diverse workforce. “And the talent that NBPA is nurturing benefits more than individuals – it benefits the life science and pharmaceutical companies they work for, as well. A diverse workforce brings different ideas to a business and richness to a company’s culture.”

About Sanofi

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in
New York
(NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi is the holding company of a consolidated group of subsidiaries and operates in the United States as Sanofi US, also referred to as Sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC. For more information on Sanofi US, please visit http://www.sanofi.us or call 1-800-981-2491.