Resourceful Resilience

Dear Heather

Ack! I missed my favorite meeting of the week, the Amazing Women Writing Hour! I was recently reminded that breaks are necessary. I mean a full break where you forget for a moment all of the responsibilities that you need to manage, deadlines you need to meet, and obligations that you have to juggle. I took such a break for just three days last week (spoiler alert - two of those days were the weekend)!

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Aligning objectives to increase impact

Collaboration is hard in the best of times. Throw in incompatible goals and objectives, and it is downright impossible. Significantly improving how research and innovation get done requires many adjustments to its complicated and interconnected system. One part of this system can rarely make a change independently; to make an effective change, many organizations, processes, organizations, and people must also accommodate and adapt to this change. When all of these actors have clear and complementary incentives to adopt and add to a change, the result can be magical.

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Diverse teams build stronger standards

Who do we include in the planning of how we use genomic data to improve human health? Last week I participated in and gave a keynote address at the 8th plenary meetings for the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health (GA4GH). GA4GH plays a critical role in enabling responsible genomic data sharing within a human rights framework. This work includes framing policy and setting standards that meet the real-world needs of the international genomics community.

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Building Community @ Virtual Unconferences

“People don’t feel connected to your community because they joined a big crowd in an arena. They feel connected because of the individual conversations, private moments, and vulnerability that they experience with other participants.” - Charles Vogl Unconferences build community through specific characteristics: its collaborative conference agenda creation, “vote with your feet” model of participation, and dynamic pace. These components are difficult to recreate in a virtual setting.

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Community as Lens

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail… until you get a paintbrush. Every so often you get the gift of being able to see the world through a new lens. In my adult life, there are several distinct times when I was acutely aware of picking up a new tool, shifting to a new lens. Engineering: The object lens The first was when I was an undergraduate studying engineering.

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Connectedness in Virtual-land

Can a party restore our connectedness? There is a colleague that I work with that I have the good fortune of talking with regularly. But the change in him since lockdowns, closings, stay at home orders and protests is notable. He doesn’t dispute the necessity of these things, but it is clear that they are taking a toll on him. Being part of an international community, most of the people I work with on a daily basis rely on online communications as our primary way of getting things done.

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The Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition

Over the past two days I have been looking over product and start-up pitches in my role as one of the judges of this year’s Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition at Stevens Institute of Technology. Each year undergraduate students turn their undergraduate engineering and business Senior Design Projects into business plans, and prepare elevator pitches to compete for prizes that total $17,500. I have been spending my evenings reading executive summaries and listening to the (video recorded) pitches while providing feedback and asking questions about their business ideas and product approaches.

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Where's the discussion about isolation complications due to COVID-19?

This week has been hard. A lot of the daily professional discussions I have are related to how research and data are shared more effectively and efficiently. This week I was even in a full-day meeting discussing how we might help accelerate how insights from clinical data are shared. As one might expect, examples naturally gravitated to the current crisis and COVID-19 research, response, and treatments. But my mind was elsewhere…

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Making the leap

This month I took the leap from a path of working with and for entrepreneurs and new ventures as an employee, to venturing out on my own. Over the years I have played the role of cheerleader and enabler. Leaders of new efforts have turned to me for advice or help as they realize their visions. And, as I thought about it, I realized that the thing I’ve liked the best about my experiences has been the variety of contributions that I’ve been able to make at the initiation of a project or venture.

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