Logo for LaunchBio Program: Larger than Life ScienceLogo for LaunchBio Program: Larger than Life Science

Building a Strong Network for Life Science Innovators

Durham, NC


Creating a framework for sustained growth


This event is designed specifically for professionals working in the life sciences industry to network, collaborate and exchange ideas on the strategies of company growth. Whether you’re a researcher, scientist, investor, or an entrepreneur, this event offers something for everyone.

To keep attendees fueled throughout the event, there will be refreshments available, such as light snacks, local beer, and nonalcoholic beverages.

Don’t miss this chance to connect with the brightest minds in the life sciences industry! Register today and join us for a day of learning, networking, and discovery.

4:00pm:  Registration

4:10pm – 4:30pm:  Tours of Discovery at Perimeter Park

4:30pm – 5:30pm:  Panel 1: Compensation Confidential: 2023 Update

5:30pm – 6:00pm:  Networking

5:30pm – 5:50pm:  Tours of Discovery at Perimeter Park

6:00pm – 7:00pm:  Panel 2: C-Suite Strategy: Growing your executive team

Panel 1


Jody Thelander, founder & CEO, of J. Thelander Consulting brings the latest analysis into compensation for privately held life science and tech companies. Drawing on new data from the Private Company Compensation Survey, our expert panel will share trends in base pay, bonuses, total cash and founder/non-founder equity.

This special session will include practical information for founders on how to navigate legal and financial planning issues pre-exit. Join us for this special edition of Compensation Confidential highlighting national, regional and market-level data from the nation’s leading life science hubs, including our local region here in North Carolina.


  • Jody-Thelander-LaunchBio

    Jody Thelander, Founder & CEO, J.Thelander Consulting

    Thelander Consulting is headed by Jody K. Thelander, a compensation executive with a track record of successful results and over two decades of professional experience. Jody has a keen understanding of business realities through a diversified background in compensation, sales and customer service. Her surveys and resulting reports have become a well-respected and highly desired tool for compensation decision-makers in the private business sector.  Thelander Consulting provides board and compensation consulting to a full range of businesses, from emerging growth companies, including life sciences and technology, to investment firms, including venture, private equity and corporate venture.

  • Christy Schaeffer

    Christy Shaffer, PhD, General Partner, Hatteras Venture Partners

    Christy Shaffer, Ph.D. has more than 30 years of leadership experience in life science and non-profit organizations that improve the human condition and change lives. She joined Hatteras in 2011 as the Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery which she helped conceptualize. She became a general partner in 2015. Currently, Dr. Shaffer serves as a board member of fiveHatteras portfolio companies, chairing several: Artizan Biosciences (Chair), Clearside Biomedical (former Chair), GrayBug Vision (Chair), Trefoil Therapeutics and Perfuse Therapeutics.

  • Ryan Cosola

    Ryan Cosola, Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Charlotte Office

    Ryan Cosola is an Executive Director and Banker in the Charlotte office of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Ryan works closely with a diverse group of clients, including entrepreneurs and founders in the technology and life science industries who have built their own companies and seek experienced guidance to transform their successes into sustainable legacies. He takes a comprehensive approach to adding value and advisory guidance across the balance sheet so his clients can focus on their demanding careers. Ryan counsels clients to consider the impact of their financial decisions and make the most of pockets of opportunity—tax efficiency, equity options holdings, and wealth structuring.

Panel 2


Wearing many hats comes with the territory when founding a life sciences company. Being the CEO, CSO, COO and CFO all at once and leveraging outside expertise when needed is a part of the gig. But there comes a point when you can’t do it all—when do you know when it’s time to grow your executive team? With salaries being one of the more expensive parts of a start-up and and the more difficult to cut, hiring too early on can add detrimental bloat to your fledgling venture. At the same time, holding on to the top spot for too long is the folly of many failed entrepreneurs. Building your C-suite is something that needs to be carefully considered, and timing is critical. It is essential to understand your capabilities as a leader and knowing what gaps need to be filled and having a hiring strategy from the onset can provide a framework for these important decisions.

Learn from leaders who have engaged with start-ups and seen the success and failures of countless companies on how to create a framework for growth and which inflection points in your company’s growth trajectory suggest it’s the right time to add to your executive team.


  • Kathy Meserve, Sr. Director of Investments, NC Biotechnology Center

    Kathy Meserve, Sr. Director of Investments, NC Biotechnology Center

    Kathy Meserve is a Senior Director of Investments with the Emerging Company Development team at NCBiotech. In this role, Kathy identifies and evaluates early-stage NC-based life science companies for loans, then mentors and supports selected companies with strategic planning, funding pitch preparation, and introductions to investors and strategic partners for follow-on funding, licensing, co-development, or acquisition. Kathy brings 30 years of experience as a scientist and business executive in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

  • Lou Gray, Business Mentor and Private Equity Investor

    Lou Gray, Business Mentor and Private Equity Investor

    Lou Gray has over 25 years of successful entrepreneurial and operational leadership experience that he now applies to his work as a business mentor and private equity investor. For the past nine years, Lou has coached and often partnered with numerous local companies that attribute his strategies as critical to the scaling of their businesses. This has resulted in average net income growth of 5x for these companies. Lou’s involvement often requires reorienting these companies for growth with an emphasis on leadership behaviors, customer strategies, profit maximization, hiring processes, value pricing, operational efficiencies, and better team alignment with company goals.

  • Tom Fagley, Partner, Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP

    Tom Fagley, Partner, Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP

    Tom is currently the leader of the Firm’s life science practice and has 25 years of experience, 19 in public accounting and six in private practice. He started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers as an audit associate. Tom was previously a controller and CFO with a sports travel company. Tom joined Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP (“HPG”) in November 2006, and became a partner in January 2014. HPG is a regional accounting firm with its headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. Tom works with both public and nonpublic companies. Tom’s primary focus is life science clients. Tom is a licensed CPA in North Carolina and Texas.

  • Josh Hollander, CEO, Horton International, North America

    Josh Hollander, CEO, Horton International, North America

    Through the analysis and optimization of business models, Josh builds teams of top, high-achieving talent and enables them to achieve success with the right technology, training and ongoing leadership. His experience demonstrates his skills in developing customized business models and implementing creative solutions that drive top-line growth, increase profitability, and improve the client experience. Josh partners with senior executives and has an ability to sell the story to internal and external stakeholders. Josh’s career includes stints at Morgan Stanley in the Mergers & Acquisitions group, a Warburg Pincus and Softbank Ventures-funded startup.

  • Russell Allen, Founder and CEO, Biotech Exec

    Russell Allen, Founder and CEO, Biotech Exec

    Russell Allen is the founder and CEO of BiotechExec, a fractional executive and life science advisory firm. Powered by its IGNITE (Integrated Global Network for Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship) executives, BiotechExec matches experienced, successful leaders with emerging and growth-stage medtech and biotech companies to advance innovations to the market. With over 20 years of life science industry business support, advocacy and advisory experience, Russell is a champion of innovation and assists biotech and medtech companies with their commercialization efforts. He has served on numerous boards and industry councils and served as chairman of the U.S. Council of State Bioscience Associations.


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