Sisi Li

This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Sisi Li, administrator for BioForward Wisconsin’s Women in Biohealth mentorship program. 

The program was launched to forge connections between women in biotechnology and other STEM fields through mentorships. 

“We know that women make up nearly half of the workforce, but only 27 percent of them work in STEM fields,” she said. “As a result of that, women working in more male-dominated STEM professions like biohealth often are eager to connect and support each other.” 

While mentees get guidance from other women who are more established in the field, Li says mentors are able to give back to the community by sharing their knowledge. The program is structured as a three-month course with six one-on-one meetings between pairs of participants. 

“The mentors can help the mentees with short-term and long-term goals, the program itself provides an info session and talks relating to these topics,” she said. “We also provide support material throughout the whole process … we have check-ins and we also have a final celebration at the end.” 

The program’s first cohort ran from January to April this year with 22 participants. Along with a marketing committee within Women in Biohealth, Li said program advocates within biohealth companies in the state are helping to spread the word. 

“It’s a pretty short-term commitment, but you could gain a long-term professional connection or a friend out of it,” she said. 

Listen to the podcast below, sponsored by UW-Madison: