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*NEWS: OCTANe Works to Help Women Advance in Medtech

Statistics for last year show that only 17% of women were founders of tech companies, according to TechCrunch.

OCTANe, the lifesciences and tech accelerator in Aliso Viejo, wants to increase that statistic and help women advance in the medtech field specifically.

To that end, it’s created an initiative, “Women Leaders in MedTech.”

It plans to accomplish its goal with the support of 12 “prominent” local organizations and corporations, including Allergan, Edwards Lifesciences and UCI, as well as investors, entrepreneurs and strategic advisors to “support the change necessary to optimize our workforce,” said Janelle Brunette, VP of operations for OCTANe.

“Their collective insights and actions will create a powerful movement, driving innovation, investment, opportunity and corporate growth for diverse groups of both women and men in medtech,” she said.

Janelle Brunette, VP of operations, OCTANe

Carol Wells, senior director of commercial training and development at Genentech (she’s based in the SF Bay Area where that company’s HQ is) and Pacific Region Chair of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, said while there has been some progress on women “successfully” fulfilling middle management roles, “we have to do better at the C-Suite and board levels.”

“Research consistently shows that diverse perspectives make for better business outcomes,” she said. “To effectively compete, companies need to not only focus on hiring a mix (diversity), but making the mix work (inclusion). In order to realize the richness and riches of gender parity, leaders must role model a new normal, one that represents their customers, train and hold their management teams accountable and open the door to differences.”

Carol Wells, senior director of commercial training and development, Genentech

Wells was one of the speakers at OCTANe’s recent annual MedTech Innovation Forum. She was on a panel moderated by Julie Hill, a member of the board of directors of Anthem, which also included Dominique Worthington of Medtronic; Katie Szyman of Edwards Lifesciences; Sepideh Varon of Allergan and Carol Wells of Genentech.

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a veteran journalist, who's covered OC startups for two-plus years.

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