The Power of Women in Medtech: Leveraging Women Led Innovation | LSI Europe '23

In this panel, five female executives share their insights and stories into what it means to be a female entrepreneur and why more diverse representation is necessary.
Maria Shepard
Maria Shepard
President, Medi-Vantage
Upma Sharma
Upma Sharma
President & CEO, Arsenal Medical
Ana Maiques
Ana Maiques
CEO, Neuroelectrics
Laura Indolfi
Laura Indolfi
CEO, PanTher Therapeutics
Lisa Carmel
Lisa Carmel
EVP, Strategic Partnerships, Veranex



Maria Shepard  0:05  
Thank you all very much. Hi everybody. My name is Maria Shepard. And what we'll do is we'll do some introductions to start. I have two jobs. My day job is Medi-Vantage, we do strategy research in the medtech industry. We start with things like investor decks and helping entrepreneurs with their value propositions. We also help investors do due diligence when they're investing on with entrepreneurs to make sure that the value propositions entrepreneurs are telling them is something that's really valid and credible and something that will work once the product the device gets to market. My second job my passion is MedExecWomen I founded met exec women in 2018. Co founded I should say, I do have a co founder her name is Laurie Halloran. And we had our first meeting in New York City. We had 83 women show up we had zero PR, it was almost all word of mouth. And and then our last meeting, which was this past May, we had 150 women, we're growing by leaps and bounds were developed, we're finally we're developing new strategies to be able to get the word out globally, I'm so excited to be here to be able to have reached out to women that are in Europe, and hopefully some at some point in Asia Pacific, to make sure that all executive women know about MedExecWomen because our goal is to create a community of Executive Women in medtech, digital health, healthtech diagnostics and and drug delivery to pull up more women into the med tech space. Because as you know, we are underrepresented in the medical device industry. And it's working. So we're really excited to be here. We have a one day strategy meeting every year, and then we're developing other meetings throughout the year that are more evening meetings. I can tell you more about that later if you'd like to talk and talk to me afterwards. But that's what MedExecWomen is all about the strategy meeting is all about how do we run our businesses more efficiently, more effectively, more profitably. So I'd like to turn this over to our next panelist, Upma Sharma, and tell us all about your business.

Upma Sharma  2:40  
Great. Well, it's an honor to be here this morning. And I appreciate so many people getting up so early. So Upma Sharma, I'm CEO of Arsenal Medical and Arsenal is a biomaterials medtech company. And what that means is that our co founders, who co founded companies like Maderna, and Genzyme recognize that the use of chemistry and materials were kind of underrepresented in medical devices. The classic example is that the first artificial heart was made by repurposing a woman's girdle thinking about the mechanical properties, but not necessarily thinking about what's the biology, what the hemo compatibility the right type of materials. And so what we're trying to do is purpose build the right materials for specific indications. And the classic example I give is our foundational product Rescue Foam. It's like a human fix a flat. So if you get in a car accident, your tire goes flat, you put in fix the flat, get to the gas station, imagine now in that same car accident instead of your tire, it's your liver, and you're not going to survive long enough to get to a surgeon or Rescue Foam product could be administered and give you enough time to survive to make it to the surgeon alive. And so that's gives you sort of a flavor or an example of what we're doing. Our lead product right now is in the neuro vascular space. And we're we've developed a new material that can preferentially go deep into the micro vasculature to treat conditions like brain tumors or brain hematomas. So really excited to be here.

Maria Shepard  4:19  

Ana Maiques  4:19  
Yes. So thanks, everybody. I'm from Barcelona, although I spend most of my time in Boston. So it's so hard for me to be here at 7:30. But Scott, I think its very important. So thanks to everyone. So I'm Ana, my guess and this is my company. You've seen me around with a cap. So now you recognize me many people don't if I don't wear the cap. That's what you get. So Neuroelectrics is trying to bring to the market this new modality, this is non invasive brain stimulation, so any of the electrodes I'm wearing can inject below current into the brain and we think this is a new therapeutic modality that patients can take home so we are in an FDA Phase Three pivotal trial on epilepsy to reduce seizures in patients that don't respond to medication, and another one on depression. So I have a lot of storytelling to tell from a women CEO that was born in Barcelona as a company, but scale up to Boston where Henry Termeer, the CEO of Genzyme was kind enough to be my mentor, and had a lot of trouble raising my series A and as much trouble as sitting with VCs in Boston, and they told me, you know, Anna, would you need to put is a man to raise money for you, you will never make it, to my face. And I was like, wait a moment, I have two daughters and two sons. So there is no way I'm going to put a man to raise money for me, I prefer not to raise money, because then my daughters will be left with nothing for the future, right? So I say, Well, this is the kind of advice you'd never should follow. So don't listen to all the advice you're given as an entrapreneur. And then another one also told me in my face, which was shocking was like, with that accent, you will never raise money. And there's like, you guys in the VC I mean, what's wrong with you is like, talking neuro. Right? So. So I'm just saying that this happens all the time. And I think what you have to do, I mean, even if you're a woman, or diversity in general, there are no classical CEOs, CEOs have old faces, colors, you know, different personalities, right. So I think that you just have to go, what we call the extra mile, and just create an example for the new people to come and just break that kind of stereotyping. So I'm very happy I raised 20 million series A in Boston after all these bad feedback. So at the end, it can be done, and just persevere. So I'm very, I'm very happy to be here and share my lessons learned.

Upma Sharma  5:07  
I had somebody told me to change my name. No!

Maria Shepard  6:51  
We're happy to have you here to Laura, how about you,

Laura Indolfi  6:54  
Well the story can be never ending on this panel, I guess. But Hi, everybody. I'm Laura Indolfi. I'm the founder and CEO of PanTher Therapeutics, we are a clinical stage oncology company, we are leveraging minimally invasive procedure to bring chemotherapy drugs directly where they are needed. So we are trying to spare the patients for all of the heart side effects that chemotherapy is well known for and trying to maximize the power of those drugs, by bringing them directly precisely and for a prolonged period of time, only where they are needed. We are based in Boston, I'm Italian, I have an accent, again. And I've been told that they should take English lessons to take away that accent, not to improve the English but to get rid of the accent. I ignored that, that that that advice as well. It's part of who I am. And it's part of the resilience that brought me where I am today. So very proud of my Italian accent. The company is based in Boston, where I went after my PhD to do a postdoc at MIT. And now we are expanding to Texas, thanks to a 14 million grant from the state to build our own manufacturing. So it's been a roller coaster journey. A lot of people tell things to your face that I don't think they will do it to a male CEO. You just need to have a at the beginning I said you just need to have a poker face right now. I don't do any more like I make my emotion come across when they're saying you need a male CEO. That's I think it's a standard questions. It's some suggestions that they've got during my Series A fundraising at least three people told me that so that's it. How about you?

Lisa Carmel  7:18  
Yes. So my name is Lisa Carmel. And my day job. I'm Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, along with my colleague who's here and awake. I'm so excited Rob Kieval at Veranex. And for those of you that aren't familiar with Vera annex, it's a med tech only PE backed full service end to end solutions innovations firm. So everything under one roof and an analogy I would give is if you came to us with a napkin and said, we have an idea for a product, we could pretty much help you get it all the way to the other end to commercialize it from design engineering, reimbursement, preclinical clinical quality regulatory data management analytics, that so that's so that's what very next is and outside of my day job, Maria, we're bookended because I'm a big fan. I was at Maria's MedExec event in New York City was fantastic. I'm also on the leadership for MedTechWomen and I co chair the med tech women conference which just ran last week in Silicon Valley and we had 250 of women executives, and some brave men there with 1200 1300 virtually streaming in. And the idea being that we're looking for more ways to just elevate women's leadership and give more, create a space to connect. And I really applaud everyone for being here. We really, really appreciate it. And thank you to Scott Pantel, because it's not often that you have a CEO of an organization that says, we have a target to get more diversity and across all the panels, so thank you.

Maria Shepard  10:46  
All right, then let's get started. We've got some really powerful women here. And as female executives, we have the opportunity to inspire future generations of leaders, men and women through our work in our professional involvement. And this isn't easy, because like all executives, male and female, we face an uncertain landscape. And on a daily basis, there are so many complications that we face, you know, global headwinds. Other supply chain challenges. But despite these challenges, we have a powerful opportunity to build business resilience, and competitive advantage. And that's a lot of what we talk about. At MedExecWomen, we have women sharing on the stage, what they are doing in their businesses, like people from Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific, and a lot of small startups to tell us about what they're doing to make their businesses resilient and how they build competitive advantages. Competitive Advantage. So we don't see many all women panels, not as many as I'd like to see. So I give another shout out to Kelly Williams. And like the MedExecWomen, this session will provide an experience for all female executive panel to share their experiences with the LSI audience, to remind them about how much strategic thinking and ability these women bring to the table. There are a lot of investors in this room. And so you can not only can you invest with female CEOs, but you can also insist upon executive level women in your in the companies in which you invest. And this isn't just a diversity issue. Research has shown that firms with women in executive positions are more profitable, more socially responsible, and provide safer and higher quality customer experiences. I'm looking forward to leading this panel. And I'm grateful to see so many of you here. So thank you. So let's start with the first question of all the headwinds that we just talked about and things like soaring inflation supply chain bottlenecks, rising interest rates, decelerating growth. What are the ones that are keeping all of you up at night? I know the ones that are keeping me up at night. What are them? Are there any that are not on this list? Who wants to go first? Upma? 

Upma Sharma  13:28  
Yeah, sure. So you know, I think obviously, we're here at LSI. I think funding is kind of Top of Mind, all of these themes feed into funding, and funding then feeds into everything we do. You know, I sat in a panel yesterday that talked about the macro economy and sort of made the point that this isn't the worst it's been, which I think was kind of helpful perspective to hear. But I think, you know, for those of us who are in fundraising, certainly, that's something that that keeps you up at night. It's sort of how do you give yourself enough time to fundraise, you want to make progress, you want it but at the same time, you're trying to convert conserve cash to, to give yourself a nice enough time to fundraise and what is enough time. And then you've heard some of the stories just even in our intros of things that we hear and face as we as we fundraise so, so just I think that adds another level of complexity on to funding.

Maria Shepard  14:25  
How about the rest of you? 

Ana Maiques  14:27  
Yeah, I think that now I'm super happy to have these wonderful investors from Boston. So So you know, I think that I'm very happy on on the funding side, but also I think that talent retention and I think that there is a world fight for talent. And and I think that it's hard to take you know, have a good talent, we are coming from a kind of technology push company, but then you need talent in reimbursement, talent in regulatory talent in market access. So, you know, to your point I'm about you know, going from an idea to the market, we entrapreneurs, we fall in love with our products and technology. But there is so much, you know, mountains to climb, you know, now I mean, the FDA, but then talking to payers, and then his market taxes, and every mountain is higher and more complicated. So I think bringing the right talent. So in Boston, I tried to talk a lot to CEOs on the medtech space up have done it before. Because I think that there are so many lessons learn that we can. So I just don't want to make the same mistakes that somebody else I wish people will tell me, Ana, don't go this route, you know, watch out for these watch out for that. Right. So I think that's one of the challenges when you're opening like a new therapy that hasn't been pushed to the market before. What can you learn from cardiac from diabetes from other fields, right, that may help you succeed, because I think it's difficult.

Maria Shepard  15:50  
It is. And that's another reason to attend them at the MedExecWomen meeting. Sorry, if I keep pushing the meeting, but I'm so passionate about this meeting is is learning from other people, not only from the women that are on the stage, but also in networking, because we give a large opportunity for women to network so that you can learn from other people about don't make this mistake, don't make that mistake, what do you think about this, and the opportunity to connect, and then be able to follow up later to make new, new form new relationships. 

Ana Maiques  16:31  
And to that when I were with Scott, on dinner a couple of nights ago, there was Josh Makower from the Biodesign Center in Stanford. And I don't know if people are aware, but they have what they call the pediatric consortium that it's paid by the FDA. And the role is to help newcomers or entrepreneurs, and they give you all this free advice. I think this is a phenomenal initiative paid by not only the FDA, but also the US government. So I wonder why they're not more at European level and other because, you know, structures in which you can, you know, besides the networking in events like this, where, you know, experts can really help new people, you know, in new entrapreneurs I think it's a great idea.

Maria Shepard  17:11  
Great. And what about you in terms of, Laura, in terms of some of the, the the headwinds, the problems that you're seeing and what you've learned also?

Laura Indolfi  17:23  
Yeah, so I think I'm going to add on the two topics, like those two relate to us our ourself. But the extra one for us is also supply chain, like, it felt like it was a COVID triggered issue. But it's not going away, like is keeping going in preparing and creating bottleneck in difference. In different scenario like last week, my mail was like, full of all of those comments with the lack of pigs. And we need to do the our GLP study for the IND. And there is no female pigs in the US so that you can buy. So there are those things that they keep putting hurdle an obstacle on, on a plan that you already put a lot of efforts and time to design and then you have this outside, sort of shenanigans happening and you need to be creative. So we almost had an exchange of animal at the border, like there was a CRO in Canada that had female pigs and our CRO in Boston had another type of animal that they were short of and they didn't exchange. That's not what I thought my week was going to be creativity, it's wherever you need to kind of go with. And in the same line of topic like we are, we decided to bring manufacturing in house. Because we rely on the CDMO to make the product, we already didn't want it to fully share all of our trade secrets of manufacturing, but it gives us more control on how we can bring the product forward than not being as exposed as a third party supply chain bottleneck.

Maria Shepard  19:15  
Lisa, you come to the industry from a very different perspective.

Lisa Carmel  19:19  
Yeah, yeah. Well, so a lot of the things that keep you awake at night, though, that's the question I asked all of the CEOs that I work with, because then some of those problems like EU MDR we can help with that. You know, not having the right skill set at the right time, especially early stage startup, we can help with that. But there's many problems that are your pain is is our pain. And I think an example would be you know, with so many hospitals, especially in the United States in the red, trying to come in with a novel, disruptive, maybe expensive new technology, there's, you know, a push back, right? Where they're, they're saying, you know, if this is adding to my training, if it's another screen, if it if I have to do more, it's, it's gonna be a problem because I have 80% staffing here. So that's something that we have to work with.

Maria Shepard  20:26  
So on the on the theme of what keeps CEOs up at night, what's the most difficult decision that each of you has ever had to make for your organization? And how'd you, how'd you handle the challenge? Let's start in the middle. Ana, how about you?

Ana Maiques  20:43  
I don't know. I mean, I think we take decisions every day. And many of them are difficult, like every day, people come through the door. And it's because they haven't been able to, you know, they need support. And you take these decisions, but I don't think none of those are so critical and so hard. It's just a combination of small decisions is like culture, people say, what is the culture of your company? Well, you cannot create a culture is a day by day, every decision you take as a CEO is creating the culture. So I think that I think that the most difficult decision for a CEO, especially when you're with your board and investors is to realize that maybe you made a mistake at some point, and you have to pivot. And I think the Americans are excellent in pivoting. But the Europeans we are more conservative, and it takes us harder time to let go. So I think that changing directions completely, I used to have a company that I ran time ago that was doing a not only neuroscience, but it was protecting the Earth from satellites. And we were in love with pretend protecting the climate, and we spent 10 years, and nobody wanted to pay for that. And with all the sadness of our heart, we had to let go that whole area, because there was no business and we still think is important for the planet, right? But it's just you have to let go and say you tried 10 years it didn't work. So I think that those kinds of decisions, letting go something that you put a lot of passion and effort is hard.

Maria Shepard  22:09  
That's hard, letting go of something, how about you, Lisa,

Lisa Carmel  22:12  
Um, you know, I was gonna say, this, this past year has been a bit tough for everybody. But you can either pull back in, in weight, or you can sort of stick your neck out and, and lean into it and take advantage of the opportunity to create a competitive advantage. And one of the things that we did, actually, I was just going to say, as interesting is, we decided that we were going to lean in and sponsor and be a part of the Stanford Biodesign ecosystem, we volunteer our resources to help the startups coming out of Stanford Biodesign. But we noticed and, you know, it's hard not to notice that many of our strategic accounts, lean in and invest heavily in the Stanford Biodesign Process and human centered design and is, is in our ethos, both with so many people investing in Stanford Biodesign, we said, as a medtech innovation solutions firm, we're going to sponsor be a part train up our teams. And that way we're ready for when our companies, our clients come to us and they want to embark on a novel and innovation journey or initiative. We have the train team that can we can deploy. And if we did this in a time when people were pulling back on projects, but it's been one that's been fantastic, because it's a great ecosystem. And it's one that's a super supportive ecosystem. If you're not a part of it, I'd say we're the only medtech innovation solutions firm that is a part of it, but there's VCs there startups strategics. And it's a super supportive network. 

Maria Shepard  24:02  
I think a lot of the Stanford Biodesign system they they have given birth to too many successful startup companies. They've got a really good system and they teach they teach their teams and an extraordinary amount. It's it's been very, very good. What else? Upma, anything you want to share, Laura?

Upma Sharma  24:30  
I mean, I think I agree with what Anna said that it's, you know, when I think you asked this question, when we prepped it, I laugh about the number of tough decisions because it's just so many and I think you just kind of have to focus on the one in front of you get through it, and then know that there's more coming behind it. So, you know, I think it's just a daily sort of how do you prioritize and focus on the tough decision of the day knowing that you know, There's plenty more to come.

Laura Indolfi  25:01  
I agree on that. Like, if you start thinking of the difficult decision, then you realize that you have done quite too many in within the week that, but just to give an example that might be helpful for for others starting, to me the most difficult decision was letting somebody go, yes, like, we have a culture where we really try to grow the team, you know, I'm coming from the technology was one of my projects at MIT. And then we build the company out. So we have a lot of people that that are in their first job, and we want them to grow with the company. But at some point, you need to realize that it's either not defeat or this disruptive for the environment for the culture. And that was my hardest decision to make to realize that they needed to have somebody go, he took a toll on me personally, like it was a very emotional process. Because I really wanted him to succeed. And but he was at the cost of the company. And so somebody told me, you will, you know, it's a tough process and a tough decision, but almost nobody regrets when they let somebody go, and then you always think you should have done it sooner. In the moment, I didn't really appreciate that, that feedback. But the moment that I let that person go, like the entire team kind of rejuvenated. And so I realized that it was the right decision, but it was a tough decision.

Maria Shepard  26:34  
It is a really tough decision. letting somebody go for cause is a really tough decision. And it's a tough process I've found, but afterwards, somebody also told me once that when you have to let somebody go after they're gone, the team does rejuvenate, to use your term. And and they you realize that they've been suffering along with you. And, and then when you go in, you get somebody who is really, really good to fill that position, you realize that you need really needed that that that person replaced, and probably should have done it a long time ago. So it's happened to me too. You know, let's talk about opportunities. And one thing I wanted to ask Kelly, Kelly, we have, what do we have in this time that's rolling up in front of this? Is that include our q&a? Yes, it does. Okay, so let's talk quickly about opportunities. We're hearing a lot about AI and other tech opportunities. Let's, how are you pursuing these new tech opportunities? Upma? I know your materials based company, any What do you do with when somebody comes over and says, So what's your AI strategy?

Upma Sharma  27:54  
Well, I would say we see materials as a new opportunity. And sort of, we think that there's going to be a lot of innovation happening there. And there is in companies generally, you know, I think what's important is for us to stay focused on what we're trying to do. And there is a lot of excitement about AI, I think there's a lot of ways it's gonna make all of our lives and our companies more efficient. But I think also remain remembering to stay anchored to what our focus is and what our mission is.

Maria Shepard  28:26  
How about the rest of you? 

Ana Maiques  28:28  
Yeah, I think that we, I mean, they call it AI, but we've been doing computational neuroscience for a long time, like the brain is one of the most complex parts of your body. And there are 100 billion neurons communicating at every second, right. So we've been working in what we call neuro twins for years now, which is digital copies of your brain in the cloud. And these are fascinating computational neuroscience models in which you mimic the biophysics and the electrophysiology of the brain. And then on the cloud, you can simulate how your brain will respond to different treatments. So we are building that which now they call it AI, but we've been using machine learning and all these things for a long time. Right? I think that there are a lot of opportunities in personalization, because if you take my population, for example of depression is so huge. How are you going to stratify your patients? Right? So I think that these tools can help us to really guide patients into different therapies more personalized, like the precision psychiatry, so I think we'll see more and more of those. And I think there are opportunities. on the women's side, for example, I see more and more venture firms being led by a woman. I see a lot of opportunities for women, entrapreneurs. Right. So I think that at the end, it's about also changing the game in some sectors. Yassa Salas last was here from Goldman Sachs a couple of days ago. They nominated me as, as a Goldman Sachs intrapreneur. And then when I went to this award, there were so many bankers who were women. And I think it's remarkable. I mean, we need to get when I go to JPMorgan in San Francisco, and I see all these suits. It's like, you know, I think we need to also get diversity in the, in the money space in the banking, in the, you know, in the finance, I mean, JP Morgan, graphically, it's a stunning I mean, there's all suits.

Upma Sharma  30:24  
It's overwhelming the first time you walk out, and you're like, whoa!

Maria Shepard  30:28  
I guess we all feel that way.

Ana Maiques  30:29  
But But it's true that there is now the the, you know, a wallbang, led by women. So there is a lot of initiatives. And I think that it's not that men are bad people I adore my co founder is, you know, my investors are men, and I adore them. But I think in general, you need diversity. I'm not talking about only women diversity in also in the finance. Right?

Maria Shepard  30:57  
Right. I know that you two, have a lot to talk about. But I do want to open this up since we have nine minutes left to the audience. And so before I do, I just want to say, you know, the goal of this panel is to make our audience keenly aware that when they're looking for executive leaders, they may be missing out on 50%, of a highly accomplished and qualified segment of leaders. We hear our MedExecWomen, attendees say it repeatedly, they insist that their HR departments bring in at least three qualified women, for every executive hire. And I recommend that you insist that also, because they're out there, one of the things that we're going to be doing, we're a small organization, so it might take a little while is is install a job bank onto our med exec women website. So that's med exec But you should be able to post job openings, so that you can get more women hire or be able to look for more executive level women in the medtech space, if you if that is your desire. Let's open it up for questions. And the lights are really bright. So if I'm missing, hands in the air, please, please, please, somebody tell me if I'm missing something.

Scott Pantel  32:31  
I'll get up and I'll go quick. Thank you all amazing session already. I have a question. And it just touched on like other ideas of diversity, like getting some diversity and finance. I know speaking for LSI one of the areas that we've explored is like generational diversity, something that I learned from Dell Jones a couple of years ago, at one of our sessions, what other areas do you think we have opportunities in terms of just broader broadly speaking, diversity?

Ana Maiques  32:56  
You know, one thing that shocked me, I thought I had difficulties as a woman coming from Barcelona, London in Boston. And of course, I'm from Barcelona. It's an amazing place. So I'm not even from, you know, South Africa, you know, it's like, and I thought I have this advantage. But then I met these two brilliant guys, I don't know if you know them from Boston, the Amylyx guys, these are Joshua and Justin, they are two brown graduates, and they are developing these als drugs. And they are super young. And they are part of the Hemitemir network. And they will, I went for lunch with them. And they say, and I said, Listen is so hard to raise money as a, as a new woman in Boston and say, Anna, we graduated from Brown, we pitch to investors. And we have a guy that we have recruited, we are the founders that is 60 years old, and they only listened to him. I was shocked. So that's why I'm saying diversity has a lot of phases. If you look at Amylyx, people didn't take them seriously, because they were too young. And these are white men graduated from Brown. So, you know, it's just this concept of diversity is I think it's more you, it's not your typical, successful person. I mean, it's something like that. It's like, not who you're expecting, but then you don't give them a chance. So, you know, to that point, I think that there are many opportunities to change that. And and if you hear all these stories, and you made them public, only 2% of all the venture capital of the world goes to women led organizations. But I heard the other day that if a woman VC invest in your first round, you have 50% less possibilities that male dominated VC will invest because they will say, oh, that woman invested in that woman because nobody wanted to. So um, so I think that that those are the things that we need to change those statistics, right. So I think that is in finance. I think research is pretty good as a field. I think it's pretty many too graphic.

Upma Sharma  35:00  
I mean, I think it's, it's the same where it's, you see a lot of women more at the junior levels. And then as you get more and more senior, it becomes less and less diverse. But, you know, I think, Scott, to your question, we, in medical devices, like diversity is built into what we do, we would never do product development without having quality there, right, you need diversity of thoughts to be able to get the right kind of products. And I think, you know, there's that can take so many different forms. FDA is recognized from a functional perspective, you have to have diversity of thought. And I think, you know, as you think about that, whether it be age, whether you think about it, you know, race, color, gender, the more of that you have, across all of these sectors, the better your products are going to be, the more you know, perspectives you're going to have. And I think at the end of the day, that's what's going to benefit you as a company. And, you know, I feel like that's kind of like it's almost oversimplified. But that's the bottom line for me.

Lisa Carmel  36:04  
I would add in. I'm on the leadership committee for how women lead. And it's crossed all industries. It's about 150,000 members, and they're the organization that lobbied in California, to mandate representation on public boards. And as a result, now you're seeing an increase, particularly in California, on on public, publicly traded companies. And that's actually how I got my first board seat. And the first thing they told me, you know, when it was through the networking, and the first thing they said is, you should do is get on the nominating committee, and then take control and pull on more people of color and diversity and more women. And that's what I did. And now we have more women on that board. And I think they it's a great organization for networking, and increasing your because, frankly, it starts at the board level, also

Laura Indolfi  37:14  
And following up a bit on what to like, if you wanted to do innovative technology, you need to have an interdisciplinary team. That's where the real innovation comes with diversity of thoughts. And the same is with the management team and the leadership team. Like you need to have people that they think differently, that they can complement each other line of thoughts. And I think that, you know, women, younger person, immigrants, they all face adversity or difficulties in getting into that job. But at the same time, that triggers their creativity, their resilience. So when they had the opportunity, and they can execute, they tend to execute better, because they do not come with a preconceived, predefined journey, or a predefined way to tackle some of the challenges like fewer in immigrants doesn't speak English very well, and you move across country or cross world, you will face difficulties that now you need to creatively solve and that stamina, then applied to this entrapreneurial level of the leading the company is very helpful. For one you have challenges in front of you, so.

Maria Shepard  38:29  
That's true. And we have time I think for one more question. I see someone that's

Unknown Speaker  38:35  
Probably tough to see Jake, Conmed, I thank you all, phenominal panel. My question was, what advice would you give to women starting out in their careers, coming out of school, and considering pursuing a career in, you know, whether it's starting a company joining a startup versus, excuse me some other pathways, which could be, you know, consulting, or academia or joining like a larger company

Upma Sharma  38:51  
Be honest with yourself about what drives you. What motivates you what excites you. If you're avoiding dealings, we all have long to do lists. Pay attention to what you avoid doing, pay attention to what you get really excited about? And, you know, I think I the advice I give to a lot of young folks is you have this perception of what you want your career to look like. But don't put yourself in a situation where it's not something that you're excited to do. You're excited to get up. I think everybody up here has a really hard job every day. And we do it because we love it. And if you're not finding that energy and that excitement then it's probably not the right thing. And then the second thing I would say is find some mentors who you can really trust because i think, my guess is if I ask every single person up here. Part of the reason we are up here is because there are people who have been the wind in our sails. As one of them said to me, and I think that has been so critical and so helpful. 

Ana Maiques  38:57  
Yeah, I agree. And I think that people look at our stories, and they think you know that being a CEO is like a sprint, and it's like a marathon, it just takes a very long time. It's plenty of times where you think the company will die, right? So I think that, you know, it's about the motivation. I mean, would you be doing something that is not your current job if you were given the choice? So the answer should be you're loving what you're doing now? Because that will help you persevere, right. And if you're going to start a company, I have a wonderful co founder that I totally trust. I think that being an entrapreneur alone, it's super hard. So it's also very hard to find a good partner, you know, for your company. But being alone is like having a single child. I think I have four kids, but I have my husband. I mean, I couldn't do it without him. No way. So I think that it's it's a matter of, you know, not being on your own and if not get mentors get help out there. Because it's a lonely road.

Laura Indolfi  41:03  
And to me, like, I founded the company, out of my postdoc, like, some of the comments that some of the VC has, I was fundraising. So you never had a job before. You know, you come out of academia and decided to follow this. And the way I did it, I had an offer from Abbott. So I was I was finishing the postdoc, I started interviewing for a job. And I've talked to everybody in every single role. Because I didn't know what those role works like I knew the title, but what the day to day job of that role means so it's very interesting to see people really like to talk about their job if they're passionate. And if you ask for 10 minutes, can you can we grab coffee, and you tell me what your job is? I got 100% Yes. And they talk for hours. And then you figure it out who you like, who doesn't you put doesn't fit your personality, what job you will not want it to do. I really thought they knew what they wanted. And they started interviewing. And the more I interview, they realize that that's not really what energizes me. And when Abbott called me for it with a job offer. I say I don't want to do that, like it was a realization. And then I decided to run the company. And eventually I hired the person that wanted to hire me at Abbott to help me on certain projects. So you never know where your journey will go. But you need to do what, what you like, and you will find a way to make it go. But that's a bit of my advice.

Lisa Carmel  42:39  
You know what one second California Life Sciences FAST program, an advisor to it, it seeds, early early stage startups, and those founders that once they took away the requirement that you had to be a serial entrepreneur or a second time entrepreneur, the number of female founders went up. And so as a result, then they started putting other women to support those female founders, and they have almost a 50% female founder ratio. So look for accelerators like California Life Sciences FAST program.

Maria Shepard  43:18  
Thank you. And that is a wrap. Ladies, thank you so much. Thank you all

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