She can if she’s also a company’s CEO and faced with a number of issues she’s never seen or dealt with before.
That was the dilemma facing Ann Black, founder and chief executive officer of ImmunoReagents, a supplier of primary and secondary antibodies located on NC State University’s Centennial Campus. Black has built a successful company from the ground up after getting her PhD, teaching at the university level and working for several pharmaceutical companies.
But she didn’t have experience in marketing or business development, and she needed someone to help guide her towards a more growth-oriented strategy for her business.
Enter Dawn Duggan of A10 Clinical Solutions and the Diversity Alliance for Science (DA4S).
Duggan is the Director of Strategic Clinical Solutions for A10, a clinical research and clinical care company located in Cary, North Carolina. As part of her responsibilities, Duggan interacts with pharmaceutical professionals at all levels of the industry.
But it’s her volunteer work with the Diversity Alliance for Science that has led her to Black.
Diversity Alliance for Science is a non-profit dedicated towards helping diverse suppliers in the life sciences industry get their proverbial “foot” in the pharmaceutical door, which can often be daunting for smaller companies. Diversity Alliance for Science works to make the connections needed within the industry to help foster business, and it provides a healthy forum for education and learning. Founded five years ago, Diversity Alliance for Science now offers an annual expo that matches companies with business owners, where a kind of reverse networking environment puts business owners of diversity in the forefront, not in the background.
It also has a mentoring program, where a company in the pharmaceutical industry agrees to “sponsor” an individual to help guide them through a number of business and corporate challenges. A10 chose ImmunoReagents, putting Duggan and Black side by side as professional “partners.”
“We chose Ann because she’s in the same geographic area as we are and because she’s uniquely positioned to grow in the same manner in which A10 has grown,” says Duggan.
A10 has been a shining star in the clinical research industry, growing from zero to $25 million in revenue in a few short years and being recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the top 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. Its President and CEO, Leah Brown, has also received numerous awards, including the 2011 Woman of Color Achievement Award from The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), in partnership with American Express OPEN®, the small business division of American Express, and 100 Black Men of America.
Both Brown and Black were recently interviewed for a story on women entrepreneurs and mentoring for the NBC Nightly News http://video.msnbc.msn.com/
For Black, the association with Duggan and A10 means she can get some sage advice from a business that has been through the same types of growing pains her company is currently experiencing.
“We are so excited to be working with A10,” said Black. “One of our corporate goals is to get our brand name out there and get noticed, and A10 certainly has had a lot of experience in that area. They’re also offering up all kinds of advice on how to hire people, how to get our name across different platforms, and how to move forward strategically. It’s been a wonderful association and I’m really appreciative of the work that the Diversity Alliance for Science does. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for this organization.”
Black appreciates the value of the mentoring she’s getting and hasn’t hesitated to “pay it forward.” Not only has she hired NC State college students for her lab (and then acting as their mentor), but she has even hired talented high school students and actively participates in the sharing of information and ideas as part of the Technology Incubator on Centennial.
Mentoring and being mentored. All in a day’s work for a scientist-turned-
ImmunoReagents is a worldwide manufacturer of quality polyclonal antibodies used in research and for in vitro diagnostics. It has a wide range of secondary antibodies covering a broad spectrum of immunoglobulins from various species and cross absorbed to provide high specificity. The company is also a source for primary polyclonal antibodies to hormones, cancer markers, cardiac markers and serum proteins. In addition to its product lines, ImmunoReagents offers custom absorptions and purifications to meet specific requirements, yet knowledgeable and experienced to provide bulk manufacturing within cGMP guidelines and ISO quality systems requirements. (http://www.immunoreagents.com)
About A10 Clinical Solutions, Inc.
A10 Clinical Solutions, Inc. specializes in clinical research and on-site preventive-care health clinics for large pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, hospital systems and corporate entities. A10 has developed a national reputation for supporting clinical projects that have a significant impact on communities that have traditionally experienced healthcare disparities. A10 specializes in clinical research, clinical care, government services, and other clinical support services. (http://a10clinical.com/
About Centennial Campus
Centennial Campus (http://centennial.ncsu.edu/)