There is a well-known saying that says, “behind every great man, there is a great woman.”
This quote has never been more relevant than it is today in the biotech industry. Despite making up half of the population, women are severely underrepresented in leadership positions throughout the biotech sector.
However, as we continue to battle against diseases and strive for innovation, it is becoming increasingly clear that women need to be at the forefront of this movement. In order to make real progress in biotech, we must break down barriers and empower women leaders to drive change. Only then can we achieve our ultimate goal: saving lives.
Recently, we asked our VP of Finance, Cristina Pons, to share her insight on the importance of women holding leadership positions in biotech.
Why is it important that more women are represented in biotech leadership positions?
Women are generally champions of diversity, equality and inclusion. It is important for more women to be represented in biotech leadership positions, or in any industry for that matter, because women leaders effectively seek to further economic and social advancement for the greater good of everyone involved, improve outcomes, and deliver results.
What are some of the greatest challenges you have faces as a woman in the industry and/or in a leadership position?
In the business world, women leaders remain to be underrepresented in corporate leadership and is still considered a “minority.” It is common knowledge that men outpace women in leadership roles across every corporate, government, religion, military and educational sector. Institutional and individual mindsets are the most significant, if not the greatest, challenges that women leaders face in the corporate world. People make assumptions about women as leaders based on their stereotypical roles in society. Other critical barriers that women face in the workplace are having fewer leadership opportunities available, limited access to established networks and meaningful professional alliances, and the ability to advocate for themselves and others.
What advice would you give to women interested in a finance position?
I always follow a philosophy on growth, learning and progression when it comes to my career, but one’s brilliance, experience and energy are only secondary to integrity. If you don’t have the latter, the former qualities become irrelevant. Stand your ground even if everyone else disagrees with you and do not be intimidated by title, position or money. You know what you bring to the table, so never compromise your values over promotion or advancement, over a raise or a bonus.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve the success they want in male-dominated industries and/or roles?
Women can overcome structural barriers with mentors who can guide and advise them to grow professionally in their current positions, and advocate to help them advance/move up the next level. In breaking institutional mindsets, women need to consistently express and communicate their desire to advance or take on new projects, be confident and promote themselves and let their voices be heard. In order to overcome individual mindsets, women should stop volunteering to do tasks behind-the-scenes, such as planning the next company party.
What is something you wish you had known earlier on in your career?
Always know your value and never settle for less, even in the beginning. Everybody can benefit from a mentor. We can draw on the life lessons of others to enhance our growth or simply help us manage our day-to-day tasks. Find her (or him) early on.
At Halo Labs, we are committed to empowering women through opportunities for mentorship and growth. We believe that when women hold leadership positions, organizations benefit from their unique perspectives and insights. We encourage you to join us in this effort by sharing your own stories of success, supporting organizations that champion gender diversity, and advocating for policies that promote equality. Together, we can create a more inclusive future for all.