Melissa and Michal’s BioNetwork Story:

‘What makes BioNetwork unique as a conference is the opportunity to form relationships beyond the professional ties of the industry’


Michal Preminger, Executive Director,
Harvard Medical School

Michal's BioNetwork Story At a Glance


Melissa Fitzgerald, Head of Strategic Partnerships, San Diego,

Melissa’s BioNetwork Story At a Glance

How She’s Participated: Speaker and Attendee since 2008

BioNetwork Highlights: Our friendship grew out of a meeting at a BioNetwork event that we both attended. Since then, we have grown to be friends while continuing to watch out for each other professionally.

‘It all started at BioNetwork…’

Michal: I first participated at BioNetwork as a speaker on a panel years back. And I was very impressed by the quality of the speakers and the opportunity to make connections that were stronger than some of the contacts I had made at other conferences. I’ve made it a point ever since to participate at BioNetwork whenever I can.

Melissa: I have been a consistent participant at BioNetwork events since 2008. I’ve switched a few companies throughout my career – Amelyn, UCSD and now, Pfizer – and I’ve made sure to take up the opportunity to represent these companies every time. The format, the people, the content – everything about the event is interesting to me so I made sure I was there.

‘…on a stormy afternoon.’

Michal: We’d already met at the various social events that were part of the conference. But then we both decided to take a long walk along the boardwalk and got stuck in a bad storm. We were both soaked to the bone - It was memorable event for me!

Melissa: Absolutely! So when I was asked to speak on a panel at BioNetwork again this year, I recommended Michal as a fellow panelist because I knew of her innovation-centered deals. And it’s because of Michal that the circle has expanded – she invited everyone to go out to dinner one night and again, we’ve managed to make friends rather than just adding to a pile of business cards.

Michal: And that’s what is special about an event like BioNetwork – you may be professional acquaintances for a long time but only become friends through informal social interactions like these

‘In this business, the more productive deals come out of the deeper connections made during informal, unexpected encounters.

Melissa: Of course, it’s important to meet in an organized, formal setting but it’s just as important to make a subsequent informal connection, which is more likely to lead to a working relationship. It’s important to have champions of your work in this business.

Michal: Yes, and the advantage of attending BioNetwork is that it’s not a huge audience. You are not spread thin trying to meet with everyone. You have the opportunity to mingle and network in an informal setting so you can have longer, more meaningful conversations.

‘BioNetwork is the event to make the kind of connections that are more likely going to turn into deals.’

Michal: For me, the number one reason I attend BioNetwork is to establish these deeper relationships with people in the industry. I have plenty of opportunity to hear content related to the industry. But what’s more important is to connect with people that will help drive my work.

Melissa: That is very true – it’s all about the quality of your connections. You need a champion that will get your work in front of the right people within big pharma companies. You don’t just want to add to your pile of business cards.

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