DA4S West Coast creates unparalleled networking opportunities

Diversity Alliance for Science, the leading life science-focused nonprofit supplier diversity organization, recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its annual West Coast Conference in Laguna Beach, California. This two-and-half-day event connected representatives from the world’s leading pharmaceutical, health care and biotechnology corporations with CEOs from life science, industry-focused small and diverse businesses.   

DA4S prides itself on what it calls its secret sauce, which is the unparalleled networking opportunities its conferences and events provide, and this year’s West Coast Conference delivered on that, and more, said Joyce Eriksen-Eggers, president of DA4S.

The conference, she said, kicked off with a memorable member-only event that provided a full day of networking and relationship-building, including golf at one of Laguna Beach’s exclusive resorts, plus for all the non-golfers, an afternoon of team- building fun. 

The energy from member’s only day carried into the rest of the conference, which featured a lineup of engaging content from panel discussions and a fireside chat with executives from leading life science corporations to inspirational guest speakers such as Princess Sarah, who awed the plenary session audience with her keynote presentation. 

And there certainly was not a shortage of opportunities to network and connect between the roundtables, matchmaking and evening events, attendees had the chance to re-engage with existing contacts and meet new ones. Since its inception in 2007, DA4S has established itself as the premier platform for connecting small and diverse businesses with corporations specific to the life science industry. 

“While we continue to grow DA4S, we also understand the tremendous value the intimacy of this organization provides both its corporate and supplier members – the ability to connect, build long-term relationships, trust and respect,” Eriksen-Eggers said.

“Some of the many success stories stemming from DA4S were featured on-stage during the conference which reinforced the importance of showing up and remaining engaged throughout the year by volunteering on one of the many DA4S committees,” she added.

“One of the great things about DA4S is that members have the opportunity to play an active role in advancing the direction of the organization, which makes them feel more connected and a part of its success,” said Dee Knopp, executive director of DA4S. 

Part of the organization’s mission is a commitment to fostering the growth of small/diverse businesses. One of its flagship programs is a formal mentoring program that runs for one year and matches a corporate partner company with a small/diverse business owner member to work one on one on their goals and objectives to help take their business to the next level. 

In 2020, DA4S also launched a formal development program for its supplier members in collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc. and Drexel University that takes cohorts of small/diverse businesses through an intensive advanced leadership program to support their business growth. 

DA4S also continues to address relevant topics such as sustainability, and during the West Coast conference, announced a program sponsored by AstraZeneca to educate small/diverse business members on emerging regulations, corporate expectations and actions they can take to improve their sustainability performance.   

“DA4S really is a one-of-a-kind organization, once you attend one of our events, you start to understand why people rave about it – it really is like a family and the energy is contagious,” Eriksen-Eggers said.

She said DA4S is looking forward to expanding its membership and services in 2023 for suppliers and corporate members. 

To learn more about DA4S, visit DiversityAlliance forScience.com.


Diversity Alliance for Science Laguna Beach California biotechnology corporations DA4S Joyce Eriksen-Eggers Princess Sarah Dee Knopp Merck & Co. Inc. Drexel University

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