Bel Mekonnen

What is your current position, and what do you do?
Founder, President & CEO of Hager Biosciences. Hager Biosciences provides innovative pre-clinical therapeutic leads and candidates for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, through operationally agile & effective drug discovery chemistry platforms & services

What made you decide not to pursue/to leave research?
I didn’t really leave research completely, but I reframed myself to be an entrepreneurial scientist/ researcher

How did you transition into this current role from a science degree?
I was a Principal Scientist with Pfizer working on various therapeutic drug discovery programs where I recognize first-hand what the pharma industry needed, and I moved on to start Hager Biosciences.

How have you used the skills/knowledge that you acquired, from studying chemistry, in your current role?
In general, studying chemical sciences provided me a mechanism to have measurable and tangible goals, which has been very important for self-reflection and to clearly see what has been achieved or not. As such, I set any goals, organizational, individual or teams, to be clearly measurable for effective assessment and performance improvement.

What has been your biggest challenge, career-wise?
Starting Hager Biosciences and the required adjustment

What achievement are you most proud of?
The founding of Hager Biosciences

What are your interests outside of work?
Spending time with my family, playing soccer with my daughter and friends, and biking

What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
Follow your passion and cultivate a habit of being a rational optimist

What helps you achieve a work-life balance?
Planning my time and never procrastinate

Is there anything you would like to share?
Work hard, take risk and be you

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