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News Beat April 2018 Feature Story
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Back to April 2018 issue

Life Science Washington (LSW) Spotlight: A conversation with LSW’s new Board Chair, Caitlin Cameron

In December, Life Science Washington (LSW) elected Caitlin Cameron, Chair and CEO of OtoNexus Medical Technologies, as its Board Chair. A highly-accomplished senior executive who specializes in building high-performing start-up companies, she has been an active LSW member for 10+ years, first as new entrepreneur seeking connections and , and most recently as a member of LSW’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. We recently sat down with her to get her perspective on Seattle’s life science ecosystem, LSW’s role in it, and her vision for the industry’s future.

 


 

How did you get involved in LSW and why?

I came to LSW as many of us do - new to this life science community and energized with big ideas. I was running a new company at the time and knew networking was key to successfully ushering it forward. LSW’s benefits (networking, mentoring, discount programs, etc.) helped me make the connections I needed to bring my big ideas to fruition, which in turn made a positive impact on our industry and our world. Over the years, LSW has been where I found peers, mentors, investors, and employees, via the networking events and via LSW’s many programs. In short, it’s where I find my ecosystem.

 

 

What's your view on the state of Washington's life sciences? How can LSW address challenges in our ecosystem?

Washington’s life science industry has a history of strong, steady growth. We have a healthy mix of up-and-coming companies and large, well-established organizations. Our industry has consistently outstripped other industries in growth and creation of good, supplying a steady source of jobs and income to the region. Nowhere else in the world has the potential to do as much widespread, far-reaching good as the life science community in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

 

Unfortunately, the current climate in Olympia is not supporting that potential. Reduced state support constricts the industry, preventing it from competing effectively with other life science industry hubs, such as Boston and San Francisco. Eliminating the Life Science Discovery Fund, the Washington Global Health fund, and R&D tax incentives were huge blows to the industry’s ability to fully assume its place on the national and international stage. Successfully navigating through these obstacles will require collaboration, creative thinking and definitive action.

 

LSW’s role in this journey is threefold. First, it provides a platform from which we can construct and tell the life science industry story in a more engaging and consistent manner, thus creating the ability to have a greater impact. Second, it gives us a place to come together, support each other, and harness our collective power. Lastly, it’s a hub for good. Good people, good ideas, and good work flow through the organization from top to bottom. These three elements will help make the industry an irrefutable powerhouse long term.

 

Why should life science companies join LSW?

There are the obvious reasons including networking opportunities, mentoring connections, the LSW Business Solutions money saving program, investor networks, etc. More importantly, LSW is where we can support our economic vitality and vibrancy. It’s where we can bolster common goals and themes, thereby making them more effective. There is strength in numbers. LSW is where such strength can be harnessed.

 

What's gratifying about Chairing the LSW Board?

Chairing the LSW Board is a tremendous opportunity. There is so much positive change we can bring about in the world, both as individuals and as the industry. Being in this position allows me to support and drive that change as well as apply my passion for spreading good throughout the world via life science innovation. It’s a challenging position,  yet I look forward to moving the organization forward and helping it grow.

 

 

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