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Synapse 2015

Two weeks ago Chiasma hosted the much anticipated Synapse event at the University of Auckland Business School. Its hard to believe that it is over again for this year! 

This year I felt that the speakers were especially engaging. To those of you that came along, thank you, we could not have had such an amazing event without you. To those of you that have missed it for this year here is a summary of the evening:

Synapse opened with a short welcome from our awesome MC’s Axton and Bella. Next, the CEO for Chiasma in 2015, Dominique Newby-Squires, gave a welcoming address to all attendees. This year we were lucky enough to have a representative from Parliament join us for the evening. Minister Louise Upston, Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment shared a positive message about the potential of young people in the science, technology and the innovation spaces today in New Zealand. 

Our guest speakers on the night were Melissa Clark-Reynolds, entrepreneur and Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit; Daniel Batten, co-founder of Biomatters and Director of Beyond The Ceiling, and finally Sonya Crosby, General Manager for Digital Innovation at Fonterra.

Melissa’s wit and humour was a definite highlight for me. She shared her story where she began as the only girl in a small all girls school to study science and maths. She attended university at the age of fifteen, the youngest woman to attend university in New Zealand during 1980. To this day she is still the youngest woman to have attended university in New Zealand. She emphasised the value of sometimes not playing by the rules.

Daniel’s talk was also extremely inspiring. He shared his experience as being the co-founder of the bioinformatics company Biomatters. One of the solutions they offer is Geneious, a bioinformatic and molecular biology tool used by thousands of organisations and institutions around the world. Before he convinced a “Dragon’s Den” of investors to back the company idea he failed many times. He attributes success to keeping your dreams front of mind and finding an awesome mentor. 

The speaker session was rounded off by an interesting insight into the innovation that happens on a daily basis at Fonterra by Sonya Crosby. She also talked about the amazing opportunities that the Fonterra Graduate Programme offers, and how students can be a part of these exciting innovations. 

Following this attendees enjoyed networking with the 20 plus companies that were exhibiting on both levels of the Owen G Glenn Building. 

Over the years Synapse has become a highlight for the Chiasma calendar, I know I will be attending Synapse 2016. Hopefully I’ll see you there!