Earlier this month, UH Technology Bridge hosted a panel of women scientists who have had successful careers beyond their training in science. The panel discussed the challenges, lessons learned and strategies that worked for them as they traipsed through the rough but promising road to success. The esteemed women presented in front of an engaged audience of aspiring career women, encouraging them to think beyond careers in the field.
The panel was moderated by the venerable Tanu Chatterji, the assistant director of licensing at UH Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation.
Here’s a look at the illustrious panel of career women that presented:
-Karthika Perumal: Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson
-Diana Chow: Professor of Pharmaceutics, University of Houston
-Nancy Slatter: Managing Partner, Cabral Energy and Technologies
-Claudia Neuhauser: Associate Vice President/Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Transfer, University of Houston
-Raquel Ybanez Salinas: Assistant Director of Career Development, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
In this session, the women touched on a number of topics including gender disparities, leadership, funding, research, communications, social media and overcoming obstacles to further their careers.
“Meeting in person is far more productive and valuable than communicating through Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn,” said Karthika Perumal, partner at the transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson.
“We tend to get more out of personal interaction and face-to-face meetings. We feel more in our element and it’s much more natural for conducting business,” she continued.
The audience of engaged and aspiring businesswomen, most of them young and just getting started, were curious about gender disparities and expectations in the workplace.
“Women are judged on performance, men are judged on potential,” said Perumal.
“I also find that women are more collaborative. Somehow they don’t want to paint themselves as an inventor. They often attribute credit to another person or they downplay their role. Somehow taking credit for an invention or recognizing their work in an invention is not happening,” Perumal explained.
“You get the projects that don’t get high attention. Fifty percent of students that graduate law school are women, but that just doesn’t translate to leadership positions.”
The panelists also recounted their arduous treks to their careers.
“I grew up very poor,” recounted Diana Chow, professor of pharmaceutics at UH.
“And I still worked a full-time job and paid my way through college and worked very, very hard.”
We learned about their struggles and how they overcame them to reach their levels of success. Levels so high, it’s almost a miracle that they overcame such insurmountable odds and obstacles. But they did. And so can the young women in the audience looking to break into science, law, business, or academia. On this day, they were reminded of that very fact.