Job Title: CEO, TeVido BioDevices
Company Website: http://tevidobiodevices.com
Years in the tech industry: 20
On the Tevido BioDevices mission:
There is power in self-confidence. TeVido’s mission is to help people who feel stressed, sad and even ashamed by changes in their appearance due to loss of skin color. This absence of color can be caused by disease or trauma to the skin, including surgery scars and burns. We are specifically working on vitiligo, a disease that results in white patches on the skin; also scars, and we are working on recreating the nipple areola for breast cancer survivors. We do this by using a patient’s own living cells combined with advances in cellular therapy and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to create custom skin grafts that restore lost pigment.
On primary female role models:
My mom, who never set limits and gave me the confidence to think that I could do anything I wanted.
On male mentors:
Ultimately, men have been the ones willing to take a chance on me, actively advocate on my behalf and provide meaningful, long term mentorship. I was a young engineer in an engineering organization and there were very few women to look up to. Fortunately, there are many men who want to make a difference and help people with potential — women and minorities. I have always been comfortable hanging out with guys and I think this is quite common with women in engineering. It wasn’t until I was out of college and working professionally that I met a number of like-minded female engineers and started to develop deep friendships with them. I am still very close to them today.
On fundraising as a female CEO:
I see two sides to this coin. First, I think I have been the beneficiary of the recent awareness of how few women receive funding. I get invited to give a lot of presentations and I think one of the reasons is that people notice they have a gap in participation and they want to try and change that. Sort of voluntary affirmative action. But — once I am done pitching I don’t know if there is a more overt gender bias. I hear people describe that women get different types of questions or critiques than the men. Some research shows this. But since I don’t get to listen to that, it isn’t obvious.
On the current work climate for women, and the change — or lack thereof — in opportunities for women:
I am not sure it really has changed over the course of my career. I never felt much bias myself and I don’t see much difference today. I also know that the rate that women opt for engineering as a career has not changed for decades, and the attrition rate for these women is just as high as it has always been.
On young men and family as an engine of change:
We keep chipping away at the cultural issues. It seems that young men are more involved in family life, and they will want their daughters to have the same opportunities they have had, and so they will be part of changing the culture. This allows us to push from multiple angles.
On how women can contribute to lasting change in industry sexual politics:
Keep pushing. Women need to be in positions of power and be successful. But men are our allies. We need to find the ones that will be part of the movement and work together.
On the project title, Women Who Tech Are Dangerous:
I think it is edgey and risky. It makes you think. Given the current political climate of #metoo, I am worried that men will get nervous about having women on their “power” teams. We don’t want to get cut out of opportunities because men are afraid that women will misinterpret what they say. This is such a fine line. Most of what is coming out is clearly NOT mere misinterpretation — but will it cause generally well-meaning men to shy away? We don’t want to be that dangerous. But we must stand up for ourselves.