Massachusetts Biotechnology Council Names Burlin O’Connell of Haverhill as CEO and President

Kendalle Burlin O’Connell of Haverhill. (Courtesy photograph.)

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Kendalle Burlin O’Connell of Haverhill was named last week chief executive officer and president of Cambridge-based Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

Burlin O’Connell already served MassBio for 14 years, most recently as president and chief operating officer. She succeeds former state Sen. Joseph Boncore, who announced in November he would step aside at the end of 2022 to open his own lobbying shop with MassBIO as a client.

“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.”

According toa statement, Burlin O’Connell will set the strategic direction for the organization and help ensure Massachusetts life sciences companies have the best environment possible to research, develop, manufactur, 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 she said. “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.”

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 helped launch 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.

Burlin O’Connell last year 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.

She 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, board member for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation and advisory committee member for the Suffolk University Law School All Rise Program. She graduated cum laude from Sacred Heart University with a bachelor’s in Economics and Political Science and received her Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. She resides in Haverhill with her husband and two children.

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