The Growing Role for Female Leadership in MedTech Startups
Nutromics Head of Commercial and IP Rosie Stramandinoli shares her journey and reflects on the growing role and importance of female leadership in MedTech startups.
Here’s a statement you’ve probably heard before: women are underrepresented in MedTech startup leadership roles. Factors such as the underrepresentation of women in entrepreneurship and limited growth opportunities exacerbate the problem.
This is the story of one woman who has dealt with these challenges and overcome the odds to get where she is today. It is a story about courage and tenacity, and an argument for investing in women – as told through the journey of Rosie Stramandinoli, Head of Commercial and IP at Nutromics.
Moving from corporate leadership to startups
Rosie was a part-time STEM student while working full-time at a high-powered IP firm. During this time, she fell in love with the world of patents and intellectual property.
“I realised very quickly that I wanted to be a patent attorney. So, when I graduated from university, I commenced my technical training to become a qualified patent attorney. Once I accomplished that, I worked hard and eventually became a partner,” she said.
Not only did Rosie make partner, she was also ranked amongst the Top 250 Women in IP globally in 2019.
On her move from corporates to startups, Rosie says:
“I really enjoyed the work and being able to help my clients. However, as the years went by, I realised that I needed to create a much bigger impact to feel truly fulfilled. A client suggested Monash University’s Global Executive MBA program. During my MBA, I met Dr Buzz Palmer. He introduced me to MedTech Actuator Accelerator alumni Peter Vranes and Hitesh Mehta, the co-CEOs and co-founders of Nutromics. The rest, as they say, is history.”
The role of a female leader
Rosie brings to the table a wealth of experience gained from years of formulating strategy and leading negotiations. However, she acknowledges that being a female leader often brings a more empathetic and nurturing perspective to decision making.
“Women are really purpose driven and can look at the same situation from completely different perspectives. In my experience, when things are really stressful or busy, women still take all pertinent factors into consideration to offer a more balanced decision. They contribute opinions that make for a more well-rounded outcome,” she says.
Rosie says that, in her experience, good female leaders have been strong mentors, pillars of the community, and have created the most impact.
“You will always have good and bad leaders, regardless of gender. But, if your organisation has a fair representation of good male and female leaders, your outcomes will be more balanced.”
Looking at Australian female MedTech founders like Michelle Gallaher from Opyl, Alice Williams from Ovira and Lauren Barber from NeedleCalm as well as industry innovators like Emily Casey from What The Health, Rosie sees that women are really carving out their own path.
“Female founders and startup operators in Australia are doing a great job of making themselves and their impact heard and seen. They are overcoming biases and hurdles beautifully. We need to have more faith in female founders and leaders in MedTech and continue to support them,” says Rosie.
“If we invest in women, if we offer them a platform to be heard, and if we provide them with opportunity, they will continue to flourish.”
“Women are showing that they can do it all, just as well, if not better,” Rosie says.
Creating a pathway for women to succeed
Rosie’s journey wasn’t an easy one. Early on, she had very limited access to resources, support networks, and mentors.
“I did not come from a privileged background, but that did not deter me from being the best that I can be,” Rosie says.
“I took any opportunity that came my way, with both hands. There were long nights, missed holidays, and sacrifices along the way. However, now that I am a leader, I don’t think that this is the only way to succeed. I really believe in helping women who want to achieve more.”
Rosie acknowledges that often a leadership journey is not a linear path for women and they must deal with obstacles along the way.
“Companies are encouraged to have women in their teams, but this isn’t enough. They need to listen to women or give them a voice. We need to remove those inadvertent biases that limit the definition of what women are capable of,” she says.
What can these companies do to ensure that they’re giving women opportunities to succeed?
“Companies should be actively helping women to grow personally and professionally. Leadership programs and mentoring are a few ways to do this. It is important to make it easy for women to reach out and ask for opportunities to learn and grow,” Rosie suggests.
Ensuring your success as a leader
Rosie also offers two pieces of advice for women, based on her own experiences. The first is don’t be humble.
“Early on in my career, I would shy away from talking about my accomplishments,” says Rosie.
“Now, I am more than willing to let others know about my achievements, as well as my struggles to get there.”
“Women are doing incredible work and we should be confident in our success and talk about it. We should also support each other. If you see a good female leader, tell them! Boost their confidence and boost your own, you deserve it.”
“The more you talk about your journey and your accomplishments, the more you will inspire other women to do the same.”
Rosie’s second piece of advice is to reach out.
“Don’t be afraid to identify women who inspire you and reach out. Send them an email, connect with them on LinkedIn, or ask a mutual contact for an introduction. Good female leaders are always willing to give you their time and guide you to achieve success.”
Rosie’s leadership story started as a young girl with no industry connections or mentors. All she had was a desire to achieve.
Her tenacity and courage helped her get to where she is today, and she believes in making the path easier for women who come after her. She is a champion for women in the industry, and as long as we have leaders like her, the role of women in MedTech startups will continue to grow!
Author: Royina Bakshi, PR & Comms Lead @ Nutromics