Yes, there is cause for op­ti­mism in N.L.

The Beacon (Gander) - - Editorial -

The fu­ture of New­found­land and Labrador? Look around, it’s al­ready here.

No one can pre­dict the fu­ture, so when we talk about what this prov­ince will look like in the com­ing years, why are we of­ten quick to be­lieve all the neg­a­tive news and ig­nore the pos­i­tive signs around us? I don’t have the an­swer, but I think in or­der to change our po­ten­tial, we first have to change our out­look.

I’m not say­ing the chal­lenges aren’t real, or dif­fi­cult. But, they aren’t im­pos­si­ble. In New­found­land and Labrador, we’re in­no­vat­ing tra­di­tional in­dus­tries and de­vel­op­ing new ones. We’re tack­ling our chal­lenges with some in­cred­i­ble suc­cess and show­ing the world what we’re made of. But to keep this go­ing, we need TO be­lieve that what makes us dif­fer­ent is what gives us our ad­van­tage.

I just came back from a lead­ing biotech­nol­ogy con­fer­ence in San Francisco and was able to tell the story of Se­quence Bio, the team we’ve gath­ered, and the po­ten­tial of this prov­ince to in­dus­try ex­perts and in­vestors.

Do­ing this filled me with pride, but it was the re­sponse that re­ally im­pacted me — be­cause I heard the same mes­sage over and over — there is no one in the world do­ing what we’re do­ing. And when we come to work in our St. John’s of­fice day in and day out, we may not al­ways think that we’re spe­cial, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t.

This was re­in­forced to me this last week as we proudly added an in­ter­na­tional ge­nomics ex­pert, Dr. Michael Phillips, to our al­ready world­class team. Michael was so im­pressed with the prov­ince and our par­tic­i­pant-centric ap­proach to re­search that he joined our team as our chief sci­en­tific of­fi­cer. He was pre­vi­ously at Ge­nomics Medicine Ire­land as vice-pres­i­dent, ge­nomics and is some­one at the top of their field who chose us — be­cause he be­lieves in this prov­ince, its peo­ple and the op­por­tu­nity here. And judg­ing by the num­ber of pos­i­tive emails we’ve got­ten over the past few days, the ex­cite­ment is shared across our in­dus­try.

But we shouldn’t need to hear that we are suc­ceed­ing from ex­ter­nal sources to be­lieve it. Sure, val­i­da­tion is great, but we need to be our own cham­pi­ons. Be­cause while these type of suc­cess sto­ries may not be ob­vi­ous, they are here in com­pa­nies big and small across New­found­land and Labrador and they need our sup­port. While I hope Se­quence Bio con­tin­ues to be one of them, I also hope you push your­self to be­lieve in com­pa­nies like ours, in our prov­ince and in your­self.

Chang­ing our mind­set may not fix ev­ery­thing, but it’s def­i­nitely an im­por­tant step to how we look in the fu­ture.

Chris Gard­ner, CEO Se­quence Bio

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