CRUSH Life Sciences was founded in 2018 by industry colleagues Laurie Halloran, President & CEO of Halloran Consulting Group, Doug MacDougall, Managing Partner at MacDougall Advisors, and Geoff Meyerson, CEO & Co-Founder of Locust Walk. These entrepreneurs discussed ways to bring together a community of executives for off-the-record chats to talk through successes, challenges, and solutions to very specific topics in an intimate way that wasn’t available at other meetings.
And then CRUSH was started to bring together a small forum centered around the topics of boards, leadership, deals, and financing. Their mission is to provide inspirational and practical educational content to current and future life science executives to enhance leadership skills in the industry and for the next generation of leaders.
After a two-year break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are opening their doors again for The Board Meeting on April 28, 2022, at The Belmont Country Club. Specifically, the Board Meeting series is designed to open minds and explore new trends that will translate into more effective governance and success throughout the life sciences industry. The Board Meeting is an exclusive, invite-only, off-the-record meeting for life science CEOs and board members to discuss key issues and solve problems together in an interactive and productive setting.
Laurie Halloran spoke to Big4Bio about this year’s Board Meeting.
Big4Bio: After a two-year break because of COVID, what encouraged you to open the doors again?
Halloran: We discovered that networking, developing relationships, and having spontaneous creative workshops with industry colleagues doesn’t translate that well over Zoom. We’ve had two years to practice and it’s just not the same. The dynamics are quite different, and Zoom doesn’t really allow for that natural energy and connection in a group setting that you experience at small in-person event.
Since these events are only designed to host 50-75 people, there are lots of networking opportunities to make connections with people that can lead to meaningful professional opportunities or learnings to take back to your organization. You really can’t beat it and this industry is still hungry to get out there in person.
Big4Bio: We see other conference hosts opening their doors, as well. What makes CRUSH or The Board Meeting stand out?
Halloran: All of us founders have nurtured our relationships with members of this community for years, and as a result, we have a strong rolodex to tap into to bring together executives to speak on panels and fireside chats. And because we know most of the speakers, there’s a friendliness, comfort, and honesty that comes with knowing people. That’s definitely one way that we stand out.
Another is just the level of content that is so directly specific to boards. A couple of former attendees said it best:
- “The topics were all things that we deal with on boards all the time” – Peter Wirth, Chairman of Syros Pharmaceuticals and FORMA Therapeutics
- “You trust implicitly that the agenda is going to be worth your while because the people putting it together are cognoscenti in the industry and think through ‘how do we share insights and tips on how to address these issues that everyone faces to optimize board experience for the sake of the company, for the sake of management, and the employees?’” Mark Leuchtenberger, Chairman, NeuroSense Therapeutics
Big4Bio: What unique topics are on your agenda for this year?
Halloran: We’re really excited to welcome Michael Useem as our Keynote Speaker on the topic of “Boards that Lead.” Michael is a Professor of Management at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. He works on leadership development with many companies in the private, public, and non-profit sectors and is the author of The Leader’s Checklist, The Leadership Moment, Executive Defense, Investor Capitalism, Leading Up, and The Go Point.
We are also thrilled to bring together executives to share their insights and perspectives on the following topics:
- The Board’s Role in Strategy
- Corporate Board Diversity: Moving Beyond Lip Service
- Emerging Business Models to Maximize Your Assets
- Navigating the Divide Between Chairman, Executive Chairman, and CEO
- How to Run a Great Board Meeting