Two months ago, the world watched as California Senator Kamala Harris swore an oath to serve the United States of America as the first-ever female Vice President. As she walked up to the revered podium she donned a pair of socks that iconically read, “The Future is Female.” Here is Kendall, this concept and embracing this moment for redefining inclusion in industry and history, is one we celebrate daily.
Kendall knows that equity is the future of innovation. We engage with this theme in our work everyday.
In celebration of Women’s History month, KSA connected with several women across our ecosystem to talk about what brought them to Kendall, and learn more about the critical underpinnings of their creativity and attributes that drive their industrial and interpersonal impact.
“Life is not linear and neither is your career,” said Celina Chang, Vice President, Science Operations and Strategic Relationships at LabCentral. “Everyone is different in what set of strengths and weaknesses we have and in what life can throw at us…My first job was working in a viral vaccine development group with American Cyanamid (now Pfizer) in Pearl River, NY. After a few years, I transitioned from large pharma to an R&D position at a biotech company in New York City working on engineered skin focused on the rare disease indication of Epidermolysis Bullosa. From there I moved up to Massachusetts to work at Stryker Biotech in the Quality group, then back to an R&D position in Kendall Square with Pervasis Therapeutics, then InVivo Therapeutics, and finally to LabCentral in an Operations role.”
Embracing work you’re passionate about yields the greatest success. “I am proud of contributions I made that have touched the lives of patients through new therapies that I helped identify and advance,” said Michal Preminger, Ph. D, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, East North America, Johnson & Johnson Innovation. “I’m even more proud of the people I touched in my day to day work through guidance, mentorship, and sometimes a push or a hug at the right moment that supported their decision to embrace risk, to try new things, push the boundaries of science, develop their ideas into new ventures, and achieve great impact in their own right.”
Mentors matter. “The people who’ve had the most impact on me are those colleagues who balance the “what” with the “how”. The best leaders are able to clearly identify where we need to go and help their team to get there,” said Karla MacDonald, Vice President, Communications and Patient Advocacy at Ipsen. “And doing that while embracing the value, ethics, and spirit with which we deliver our important work is also critical.”
Innovation opens doors everywhere. “During the course of my work on TB diagnostics (and now on genetic variation in underrepresented populations), I’ve been privileged to forge collaborations across academic disciplines, level of expertise and even across continents!” said Mireille Kamariza, Postdoctoral Fellow at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “It truly takes a village to have an impact and I feel proud to be part of my professional network.”
Real leaders dream big – and follow them to fruition! “It’s good to dream big and think about problems that don’t seem possible now, “ said Alyssa Pierson, Chief Scientist at Ava Robotics. “Getting involved in working on the impossible things is how we make these impossible things reality. It’s okay to not know what you want to do and be curious about a lot of things – following your interests is what matters most.”
Goals without plans are wishes. “I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, but never really imagined that I would run my own company,” said Felicia Jadczak, Co-Founder, She+ Geeks Out. “I am extremely proud that I was able to found a company, build a brand, and grow something from an idea into a thriving small business that will be turning 6 years old at the end of this month. I am also extremely proud of the fact that my business partner Rachel Murray and I were able to do this without ever putting one dollar of our own money into the business, without any outside investment. It’s a very non-typical startup story.”
The talent nurtured here changes the world. “I am most proud of the work I have done incorporating restorative justice practices into learning environments, ‘ said Noelani Gabriel Director of Family and Community Engagement at Community Charter School of Cambridge. “I am grateful to work with colleagues, families, and students who are interested in changing the way we relate to each other, address conflict and harm, and build a stronger community.”
Leave your mark. “To be able to drive around and point out complex buildings where the smartest scientists are within the walls, making the most important discoveries to share with the world is pretty spectacular,” said Nicole LaBossiere, a Senior Development Manager at DivcoWest. “Now to be a part of developing an entire neighborhood [Cambridge Crossing] where those researchers will collaborate, work and play, has been nothing short of exciting.”
Teams deliver wins. “I take pride in the fact that a lot that we’ve accomplished at Alnylam has been because of our team,” said Christine Lindenboom, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. “We have an amazing, accountable, supportive team with no hierarchy – and we’ve accomplished a ton because of that model. I, as many, have worked on both good and bad teams, and those experiences reinforce an important focus for me on team development and what elements are necessary to achieve our collective goals every time.”
This moment in history has created an opportunity for us all to scale our ambitions for what an equitable and just society looks like. The essential lessons we’ve all learned throughout this past year have reinforced that now, more than ever, we must celebrate diversity, create access for all, and empower everyone to claim their seat at the proverbial table. We all play a vital role in advancing our collective future. This March, KSA welcomes you to share your stories and celebrate the trailblazing women in your lives who are pushing the needle forward to advance innovation and the world.