Kendalle Burlin O’Connell Becomes MassBio CEO

Jan 04, 2023

New leader takes reins after 14 years of success on behalf of Massachusetts biotech industry

January 4, 2023 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) – Today, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio®) Board of Directors announced Kendalle Burlin O’Connell as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer and President. Burlin O’Connell has served MassBio’s membership for 14 years, most recently as President & COO.

“Kendalle has been instrumental in building MassBio and positioning our organization for continued growth,” said Pam Randhawa, chair of MassBio’s Board. “Over the past several years, she has proven that she is the leader we need to strengthen and protect one of the state’s most important industries.”

As President and CEO, Burlin O’Connell will set the strategic direction for the organization and ensure that Massachusetts life sciences companies have the best environment possible to research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize breakthrough therapies and cures for people around the world.

“Leading MassBio and supporting the collective efforts of our members to reshape global health is the honor a lifetime,” said Burlin O’Connell. “Our members have created the greatest life sciences ecosystem in the world. As their advocate and partner, our team at MassBio will ensure they have the tools and flexibility they need to identify the next lifechanging breakthrough for patients.” 

Pursuing innovation and delivering for members are hallmarks of Burlin O’Connell’s long tenure at MassBio. As she advanced through the organization, she launched several multi-year initiatives focused on realizing a diverse and equitable life sciences industry, supported the continued growth and sustainability of the industry throughout Massachusetts, and provided resources and solutions to companies across the industry value chain.

“Kendalle joined us at MassBio when we were just starting to realize our potential,” said former MassBio CEO and current board member Bob Coughlin. “Whenever we needed a leader to spearhead new initiatives, we put Kendalle in charge and knew she would succeed. She has grown alongside the industry and understands the biotech world better than most. I can think of no better choice to lead MassBio and chart a course forward for our members.”

Burlin O’Connell has overseen the expansion of MassBio’s core programs and services, including the MassBioEdge, MassBio’s savings and rewards program and MassBio’s highly rated Employee Rewards program. She also led the development of the MassBioHub conference and business center.

In 2022, Burlin O’Connell was instrumental in the launch of two initiatives focused on advancing breakthrough science and providing opportunities for innovators from diverse backgrounds in all areas of the life sciences ecosystem: MassBioDrive, the organization’s newest entrepreneurial accelerator program, and MassBio’s Innovation Week. She also built the professional relationship with Beacon Capital Partners that led to creation of the MassBio workforce training center in Dorchester, which will open in 2023 and offer fast-track pathways to industry-aligned credentials and careers.

An influential and rising presence in at the intersection of business and policy in Massachusetts, Burlin O’Connell in 2022 was named a “Boston Power Player” by the media company Axios and received the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Inspire Award recognizing outstanding women leaders in the Cambridge community. She was a 2021 executive fellow in the inaugural class of the Civic Action Project Collaborative, and a 2019 Boston Business Journal 40 under 40 honoree.

Burlin O’Connell currently serves as Vice Chair of the Eastern New England Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society, Co-Chair of the 2022 New England ResearcHERS program, on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd), and as an Advisory Committee member for the Suffolk University Law School All Rise Program. She graduated cum laude from Sacred Heart University with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science and received her Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. She resides in Haverhill, Massachusetts with her husband and two children.


About MassBio

MassBio’s mission is to advance Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system, and improve patient lives. MassBio represents the premier global life sciences and healthcare hub, with 1,600+ members dedicated to preventing, treating, and curing diseases through transformative science and technology that brings value and hope to patients. Founded in 1985, MassBio works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services for the #1 life sciences cluster in the world.

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