PFM Executive Search Places Chief Scientific Officer for Genome BC

November 19, 2020 – Vancouver, British Columbia-based PFM Executive Search has placed Federica Di Palma as the new chief scientific officer and vice president, sectors for Genome BC, a non-profit research organization. Partners Allison Rzen and Shaun Carpenter led the assignment.

Dr. Di Palma brings over 20 years of international experience in science, technology and innovation with an emphasis on understanding complex biological systems to her new role. Her deep understanding of genomics and strategic expertise will make her an essential member of the Genome BC leadership team and a key asset in fulfilling the goals outlined in the organization’s 2020-2023 strategic plan, said PFM Executive Search.

“Dr. Di Palma brings extensive experience in interdisciplinary matrix type environments in combination with strong interpersonal and management skills and a natural strategic ability,” said Pascal Spothelfer, CEO and president of Genome BC. “She has a track record of collaboration and mentorship and understands the importance of building strong relationships across government, academia and industry. We look forward to leveraging her experience within our own life sciences community to further catalyze genomic applications that bring tangible benefits to British Columbians and help with BC’s long term economic recovery.”

Dr. Di Palma said she is excited to collaborate and share her experience in science innovation and technology with BC’s scientific and industry communities. “I believe that multidisciplinary research, partnerships and multi-sectoral perspectives are key to solving today’s health and environmental challenges and effectively informing policy development and implementation,” she said. “Omic sciences will only increase in potential and power with the enhancement of bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and increased uptake capacity and I can’t wait to work with the team at Genome BC to make this happen.”

Previous Experience

Dr. Di Palma holds a doctorate in immunogenetics from the University of Reading in the U.K. and brings strong international connections, with experience in the U.S. through institutions such as NIH, Harvard and MIT. Most recently, she was director of science at the Earlham Institute and she remains professorial fellow in biodiversity in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, both in the U.K.

Her previous experience also includes roles as the assistant director, vertebrate genome biology at the Broad Institute of Harvard, a senior research scientist and service center manager at the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies at the University of New Hampshire and a Fogarty Fellow, National Institutes of Health.

Throughout her career, Dr. Di Palma has also developed an extensive list of accomplishments in scientific outreach, publications, editorial development, public and policy engagement, and international development activities. She sits as an elected member to the “Mission de Sabios” to establish the future in science, innovation and technology for Colombia’s vice president and holds an honorary professorship position at the Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia.

Genome BC is a not-for-profit organization supporting world-class genomics research and innovation to grow a globally competitive life sciences sector and deliver sustainable benefits for British Columbia, Canada and beyond. Over the past 20 years, Genome BC has generated over $1.1B of investment in more than 425 genomics research and innovation projects, including nearly 1,000 collaborations with partners across BC and in 42 countries. Genome BC initiatives help to advance healthcare, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, agrifoods and agriculture, mining and energy, and environmental stewardship. In addition to scientific programming, Genome BC works to integrate genomics into society by supporting responsible research and innovation, and is committed to fostering an understanding and appreciation of the life sciences among educators, students and the public.

Canadian Search Firm

PFM Executive Search serves a wide range of industries, working with private, public and not-for-profit organizations to fill senior-level executive positions. Among the roles that the firm has recently filled include: president and chief executive officer, Provincial Health Services Authority; chief financial officer, PCI Developments and Warrington PCI Management; chief financial officer and vice president, finance and corporate, B.C. Lottery Corp.; and executive director, B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Ms. Rzen joined PFM in 1999. Her previous experience coordinating convention services for the Greater Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau provided her with firsthand knowledge about working with diverse stakeholders and clients.

Mr. Carpenter has been part of the PFM team since 1998. The firm said that he is known for his “aptitude in candidate development and client relations, his thorough, insightful approach gives clients confidence that their needs are being met in a professional, timely manner.” Having previously served as a human resources manager with a leading Canadian health insurance provider, he also has a strong understanding of the receiving side of search services.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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