Kerry Ciejek Promoted to Managing Partner

Kerry Ciejek Promoted to Managing Partner

Rockland, Massachusetts, January 17, 2020: Sci.Bio is pleased to announce that Kerry Ciejek has been promoted to Managing Partner. Ciejek joined the company in September as a Senior Recruiting Partner with extensive experience in life science and healthcare recruiting.

Ciejek received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Fairfield University. She began recruiting career with Lab Pros, where she spent 17 years building and developing teams. After that, she spent several years in an in-house recruiting role with Steward Health Care. Ciejek decided to make the move to Sci.bio after speaking with Founder Eric Celidonio and learning about its innovative model.

“I decided to join the Sci.bio team because I could see there is a deep level of commitment to client and candidate success. I also appreciated the team’s wealth of scientific knowledge, that allows us to understand our clients and candidates and make great matches,” Ciejek explains.

Ciejek also brings expertise in recruitment training and coaching. She is a Co-Active Coach®, trained through the Coaches Training Institute. “I love coaching and training recruiters, so I am excited that this new role will allow me to share my passion with the staff.”

In her new role, Ciejek will also be a strategic partner to Celidonio, who provided the following statement: “Kerry is someone I’ve always wanted to work with and I am honored that she has accepted a role as a Managing Partner. She brings an incredible boutique agency recruiting and training background that will bolster our capabilities as a preeminent, total talent solution for life science companies.”

For more information about Sci.Bio please contact Lauren Perna at [email protected]

Corporate Espionage Part 3: Protect Your Company

Corporate Espionage Part 3: Protect Your Company

Contributing Authors: Eric Celidonio, Lauren E. Perna, and Sheeva Azma

In the first two parts of this series we talked about real cases of IP theft, including our own. These cases are extreme, but still the threat should not be taken lightly. There are many precautions you can take to protect your company. Forbes outlines a list of ways companies typically shield themselves from corporate espionage. The best practices list takes into consideration both internal security issues, arising from current and past employees being able to access and leak data, as well as outsiders who are trying to get access to company information.

The most reasonable precaution is to conduct a security audit of both physical spaces and intellectual property (which can include anything from ideas being floated around the office to data located on your company’s servers).  The audit should also work to secure sources of data, such as USB drives or laptops, that could be stolen by a corporate spy walking through your building.

The list also suggests organizations take into consideration the ability of outsiders to visit their company. For example, major tech companies such as Apple and Google are typically located on a private road that is away from main thoroughfares in order to reduce visitor traffic and reduce spying and data loss.

Other ways companies can protect themselves include:

  • Universally adopt a well-written Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) requirement for all interviewers in order to discourage would-be spy agents.
  • Make IP security a part of your corporate culture. Remind personnel with access to sensitive information what is in need of protection and how they can protect it, how to protect it as well as the potential consequences of sensitive information loss.
  • Make sure visitors and interviewers are accompanied by an internal staff member and not be left alone places where sensitive information is stored such as offices and lab space.
  • Advise individuals without access to IP what they should do if they inadvertently come across IP or sensitive information.
  • Limit the number of copies of sensitive information as well as general access to printers, encrypt sensitive information whenever possible.
  • Consider implementing user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA). UEBA utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence-powered analytics to monitor activity and detect unusual behavior; it can be very effective in thwarting cyber spying and sabotage attempts.Consider implementing user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA). UEBA utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence-powered analytics to monitor activity and detect unusual behavior; it can be very effective in thwarting cyber spying and sabotage attempts.
  • Have role-based access privileges that are frequently reviewed and that are changed INSTANTLY with promotion, re-assignment, termination, re-organization, need to know, or other changes in employment status.

Roger Johnson, CEO of Right Brain Sekurity, in an interview with Digital Guardian recommended deploying effective insider threat countermeasures with a focus on disgruntlement detection and mitigation techniques. He indicates that there are many motivations for an inside attack, but disgruntlement is one of the easiest to address. He recommends fair, effective, and widely used grievance and employee assistance programs.  Treat all employees and contractors well (not just “fairly”), especially those with sensitive IP access and those who have been terminated. As we suggest in a recent article, there are different ways managers can appreciate their employees that are not to be overlooked.

When it comes to the candidate process, it’s about knowing what to look for:

  • The questions asked by the candidate are not relevant to the job–instead, they are focused more on intellectual property.
  • There is an insistence on seeing the lab, manufacturing facility, or cleanroom.
  • The job candidate’s LinkedIn seems incomplete (e.g., no picture, or very little information is included) or their resume lacks specific details.
  • Your company’s computer network is accessed from an unfamiliar location (i.e., indicating that spies or other malicious entities may have infiltrated your organization’s servers).

Conclusions

Corporate espionage may seem like something out of a Hollywood movie, but it is real and more common than you might think.  Unfortunately, the candidate interviewing process can serve as a unique opportunity for spies to gain access to sensitive and confidential information including company IP. That doesn’t mean you need to stop interviewing highly qualified candidates on the concern they might be spies. With proper precautionary measures and ongoing vigilance, you can mitigate risk and still build a stellar (spy-free) team.

 

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/betsyatkins/2019/02/12/learning-from-apples-spying-incidents-how-to-protect-your-company-from-corporate-espionage/#63e5f5246fb4

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/06/05/how-do-fortune-500-protect-themselves-from-corporate-espionage/#4e76717a5ced

https://www.giac.org/paper/gsec/1587/corporate-espionage-101/102941

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-corporate-spies-could-be-watching-your-business-4165210

https://usnwc.libguides.com/c.php?g=661096&p=5258510

https://www.ekransystem.com/en/blog/prevent-industrial-espionaged

https://www.cio.com/article/2879575/how-corporate-spies-access-your-companys-secrets.html

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201302/george-chidi/confessions-of-a-corporate-spy.html

https://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2017/05/3-tips-to-protect-against-corporate-espionage.html

https://www.csoonline.com/article/3285726/what-is-corporate-espionage-inside-the-murky-world-of-private-spying.html

https://securityintelligence.com/articles/10-myths-and-misconceptions-about-industrial-espionage/

http://ipcommission.org/report/IP_Commission_Report_052213.pdf

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/28/1-in-5-companies-say-china-stole-their-ip-within-the-last-year-cnbc.html

https://www.csoonline.com/article/2138380/intellectual-property-protection-10-tips-to-keep-ip-safe.html

https://digitalguardian.com/blog/how-to-secure-intellectual-property#Johnston

Corporate Espionage Part 2: Beyond the Interview Process

Corporate Espionage Part 2: Beyond the Interview Process

Contributing Authors: Eric Celidonio, Lauren E. Perna, and Sheeva Azma

In the first part of this series, we told the story of a candidate that used the interview process to steal proprietary information from a potential employee.  The interview process can provide a perfect opportunity for IP theft, but it can take place under other clever circumstances. For example, previous employees of your organization may still be able to access sensitive corporate data on your company’s servers. Or current employees can be bribed and or offer sensitive detail in interviews or social settings. Some other examples include:

  • Trespassing on company property
  • Posing as an employee to gain on sight or IT access
  • Recording a phone conversation
  • Email phishing and server hacking

Technologies used in corporate espionage technologies can include hacking USBs, which can contain malware which allows malicious entities to access corporate servers to steal data.  In 2013, hackers working for the Chinese government stole trade secrets from U.S. and European aviation companies.  Chinese hackers who visited the Suzhou headquarters of French aviation company Safran left a USB drive containing malware which allowed them to access corporate data.

However, corporate espionage technology doesn’t have to be sophisticated.  Recall that, in the example we related at the beginning of the article, Marc brought a pen camera with a microphone to record conversations and obtain trade secrets.  Corporate spies can steal computers or thumb drives, or use video or audio recording, to facilitate their intellectual property theft.

According to CSO online the most common IP breaches occur through:

  • External email like a Gmail or Yahoo account (51%)
  • Corporate email (46%)
  • File sharing via FTP (40%)
  • Collaboration tools like Slack or Dropbox (38%)
  • SMS or instant messaging apps like Whatsapp (35%)

Recent Cases of Corporate Espionage

Just a few weeks ago, a striking case of corporate espionage hit the local news.  On December 10th, a Chinese National medical student was caught at Logan Airport smuggling vials of research specimens in his luggage. Zaosong Zheng, 29, came here on a Harvard University sponsored visa and spent the past year doing cancer research at Beth Israel Hospital.  Zheng was also caught with the laptop of a fellow Chinese researcher, who was in on his plan to steal the specimens, continue the research at home, and take credit for the work. This may sound rather brazen, but according to the Boston Globe it is not uncommon, as there have been about 18 similar cases at Logan Airport.

This case comes just a few months after several biotech leaders wrote an open letter to the NIH admonishing the dismissal of five Asian-American scientists from MD Anderson Cancer Center and Emory University on the basis they did not report their foreign ties.  These dismissals were part of a larger NIH campaign to address concerns of IP theft among foreign nationals, especially those from China. The target is often oncology, and with China encroaching on the U.S.’s progress, NIH feels their concerns are valid.  The biotech leaders worry the campaign is xenophobic and could hinder progress.

The NIH began their campaign in 2018 after several major cases of biopharma corporate espionage were made public, including one out of GSK’s Philadelphia R&D facility. A researcher pleaded guilty to stealing confidential research and sending it to China; she was working in conjunction with several other Chinese nationals.  The other highly publicized case involved three scientists at Genetech transferring trade secrets to a Taiwannese competitor.

These cases illustrate how easily proprietary information can get into the wrong hands. The good news is that there are ways to make sure this doesn’t happen. In the final section of this piece, we’ll talk about how to protect yourself against such threats.

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts  Part 3: A Recruiter’s Point of View

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts Part 3: A Recruiter’s Point of View

Contributing Authors: Eric Celidonio, Lauren E. Perna, and Sheeva Azma

In the first two parts of this series we recapped and analyzed MassBioEd’s 2019 Massachusetts Life Science Employment Outlook. In this final part, we’d like to offer our take on the matter.  As recruiters, we are conduits between these employers struggling to find the best talent and the talent pool. Our job is to not just place candidates into somewhat suitable roles; we want to make the best match for both client and candidate. Yet, with the narrow pool of candidates that can be a challenge.

In fact, we have people on staff whose entire job is to scour the web to widen that pool—they’re called sourcers. We do have a vast database of candidates who submit their resumes through our website and other sources, but still many of the jobs we are tasked with filling are extremely specialized. Thus, we look to our data wizards (the sourcers) to identify appropriate candidates with Boolean searches, plug-ins, and other complex methods. Through these methodologies and other candidate search tactics we’re able to find candidates who aren’t actively applying to jobs or candidates who may not have put the full extent of their experience on LinkedIn.

There’s no guarantee we can find local candidates, so sometimes we are quite literally plucking candidates from their lab elsewhere in the US to fill a role here in Massachusetts. Since life sciences isn’t exactly the most remote-friendly work, employers are then faced with providing relocation packages. For some of our smaller clients, it can be hard to compete with the larger companies in this area.

We’re also seeing more candidates have two or three good offers to choose from, which means our clients need to sell their company as a great place to work.  Again, this can be a challenge for some of the smaller companies who can’t offer the same benefits as larger ones can. Those smaller employers try to emphasize culture and hope that they can bring someone on board who really believes in the mission.

The need for stronger connections between academia and industry, and better career development is apparent in our everyday work. We see everything from poorly formatted resumes and ill-prepared interviewees to talented scientists simply lacking direction—all shortcomings that could be solved with some of the solutions mentioned in the report.

We have a unique vantage point of the industry and it’s pretty clear the talent shortage and the lack of industry exposure is causing a strain not just here in Massachusetts, but all across the U.S. We will work hard to be a part of the solution by continuing to speak about scientific career paths, by volunteering with science education programs, and by being an advocate for the industry in our professional and personal circles. What will you do to help? Let us know!

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts  Part 2: The Good, The Bad, and The Action Steps

The Precarious State of Life Sciences Employment in Massachusetts Part 2: The Good, The Bad, and The Action Steps

Contributing Authors: Eric Celidonio, Lauren E. Perna, and Sheeva Azma

In the first part of this series we provided a quick glance at the top facts derived from MassBioEd’s extensive  2019 Massachusetts Life Science Employment Outlook. Before we go further into what appears to be a grim outlook, let’s take a step back to think about the bigger picture. The talent shortage is happening, in part, because the life sciences industry is growing so quickly.  Growth in the life science industry means more lives saved, healthier people, longer lives.  And even better news–Massachusetts is at the helm.

CBRE’s US Life Sciences Clusters Report states that Boston-Cambridge is the leading life science market in the nation.  MassBio’s Life Science Industry Snapshot offers a few other bragging points:

  • Four of the top five NIH funded hospitals are here in Massachusetts.
  • $4.8B in venture capital investments were made in Massachusetts life science in 2018 (an increase by five-fold since 2009).
  • 18 life science IPOs in 2018 were headquartered in Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts researchers are currently researching or developing products for over 400 medical indications.

The digital revolution has propelled the industry even further over the last two decades. With the introduction of new modalities, the industry is on pace to continue its rapid growth here in Massachusetts and across the U.S….unless there aren’t enough workers.

The Bad News

If the talent shortage continues, then that rapid pace of discovering cures and sending therapies to market will surely slow down.

The authors of the MA Life Sciences Report offer the following warning:

“In short, there is no end in sight to the talent shortage when only traditional means of preparing tomorrow’s workforce are utilized. The future of this industry depends on a robust pipeline of talented and passionate people to make the next generation of scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs.”

The Action Steps

The report does not end there. The authors provide clear action steps to help remedy the issue. The following recommendations were made:

  • Strengthening partnerships between industry and academia to help bridge the gap between what students learn and what employers are seeking.
  • Generating more awareness around the industry early on in students’ academic careers.
  • Creating more opportunities in industry exploration for college students studying a science-related field.
  • Providing more support to pre-and postdoctoral students, who often struggle transitioning between academia and industry.
  • Offering more professional development opportunities to existing employees.
  • Strengthening workers’ soft skills, which do not always come naturally to scientists.
  • Implementing different types of training methods that cater to non-traditional workers.

Also, just a note that while not identified under the list of recommendations the report does also say that we must continue to support immigration so that foreign-born workers can grow the workforce.

The report makes it clear that there is a real need to create more awareness around the industry at all levels. In The Boston Globe’s coverage of the report, Jonathan Saltzman hones in on the lack of exposure at the high school level. There is also a glaring need to pursue non-traditional training and development methods, a topic that was recently explored in depth by Biospace. The article offers an extensive list of ways for life science workers to enhance their professional development.

For an industry that is making such strides in technology, it’s being lagging in workforce development. The Baker Administration is addressing these concerns in its latest economic development plan. The plan focuses on workforce development and calls for steps to build on the growth in several sectors including life sciences and healthcare. Organizations like MassBioEd and Science Club for Girls are also working hard to be part of the solution.  Still, there is more to be done.

In the final section, we’ll wrap up by providing our commentary on the report and the outlook.