Tari Suprapto, PhD, RTTP
Senior Advisor, External Innovation
Elanco Animal Health
I am currently part of a search and evaluation team at Elanco Animal Health, an innovative company that strongly supports academic-industry relationships. Prior to joining Elanco, I spent 17 years in academic technology transfer at research-oriented institutions of high repute, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University, and The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
What experience do you have working on or with a strategic board of directors?
I am on the board of SPARK Bio, which organizes exclusive networking events for up-and-coming biotech talent and entrepreneurs (the future C-suite) in San Diego. I am also a co-founder and currently Vice President of the Board for the San Diego Innovation Council.
Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM.
I recently volunteered to mentor an AUTM Foundation Fellow. I am currently on the Industry Advisory Committee and actively participate in the monthly meetings. I also am organizing the Virtual Collaborate & Connect events this fall for AUTM Members to learn more about different companies looking to license or partner. I had a career development proposal accepted for AUTM’s 2020 Annual Meeting, and was scheduled to speak at the Oncology Partnering Forum. I have also moderated other workshops that I have proposed and had accepted, such as a workshop on diligence provisions for AUTM Annual Meeting 2016 and a workshop on global health alliances at the LES-AUTM joint meeting in 2006. I was also a member of the Technology Managers for Global Health (TMGH) Special Interest Group.
What motivates you to join the AUTM Board of Directors?
I believe that the growing presence of industry at AUTM via Members and attendees at AUTM meetings creates a valuable experience for the AUTM Membership at large. It is important for AUTM to maintain positive engagement with industry, and I believe my experience in both academia and industry can effectively support that. I personally wish to take steps to reduce if not eliminate the "us vs. them" mentality that is prevalent in academic-industry relationships. I strongly believe in a "win-win" mindset and throughout my career have succeeded in building relationships that allowed me to execute productive transactions and partnerships. I also want to help ensure that AUTM continues to engage with all levels of TTO employees from novice to senior through creative and timely programming.
Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain.
I am currently Vice President of the San Diego Innovation Council (SDIC). I acted as Program Chair for the 2018 SDIC Innovation Showcase.
AUTM has recently changed how the Chair is appointed each year, with the Chair now selected from amongst the sitting Board members each year. If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you further consider serving as Chair of the Board. Why or why not?
Yes, I would be honored to embrace other leadership roles in AUTM and provide strategic direction at a higher level.
Please list specific personal strengths that you believe are valuable to the AUTM Board of Directors and/or the strategic direction of the Association?
I am a longtime Member of AUTM so I have seen how it has evolved over the last 18 years, while also experiencing the educational and networking offerings as a tech transfer novice, mid-level tech transfer officer, and at the director level. I have 17 years of academic tech transfer experience so I relate strongly to most of AUTM's Members and understand what they seek or need, including operational, transactional, and strategic aspects. I am now in industry and can provide useful insights to share with the board. By nature I am extroverted and collaborative, so I am accustomed to speaking up and offering solutions instead of just issues/problems. I know how to work across different groups to create synergy and get things done. I would also strongly support diversity and inclusion throughout AUTM as a woman of color in our field.
What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan in other organizations?
I recently co-organized and co-hosted a collaborative virtual startup pitch competition event, "Inventors & Investors," in partnership with three other organizations called to replace the annual SDIC Innovation Showcase in 2020. This showcase is the SDIC's landmark event every year and as Vice President, I took it upon myself to figure out how we could still have a major event during COVID-19 restrictions.
At the Salk Institute, I joined shortly before a new President was brought in who started to create a 50-year strategic plan. I helped put together the sections of the plan that pertained to technology commercialization and partnerships to support the research enterprise. This included the creation of a gap fund which I designed and started to raise funds for. I also put together a multi-level strategic alliance for the Salk Cancer Center with Indivumed, a global tumor biobank, to provide relevant clinical samples to Salk researchers and collaboration opportunities.
How does the three-year term for the position (both responsibilities and time commitment) fit in with your other responsibilities? Will you have any conflicts of commitment between your full-time position and your volunteer time on the AUTM Board?
I have been active on boards of other organizations for the past few years, so I am accustomed to balancing my work, family, life, and civic duties. My current employer, Elanco, is a platinum sponsor of AUTM and supportive of my candidacy. Elanco also appreciates and values its employees that show leadership qualities in their community outside of the company. I do not foresee any conflicts of commitment as I keep my own schedule.
AUTM is committed to addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion both amongst the Board and on behalf of our Members. Briefly describe how your experiences can contribute to the Association’s growth in this area.
I am a woman of color in our field (and now in pharma) and I am a working mother of two multi-racial girls, one of whom is bisexual. As a result, I am an authentic advocate for equity, diversity, tolerance, and inclusion everywhere I go, and that includes AUTM. This is also why I have chosen to mentor an AUTM Foundation Fellow, because I believe it is time to share my experiences and keep open whatever doors I have opened for myself for others.
Is there anything else you would like AUTM members to know about you before they vote?
I am a fitness enthusiast - in particular yoga and kickboxing, but I don't care for running. I'm a big foodie and always enjoyed finding good local places when at AUTM Meetings. I love music, and really miss musical theater.