Us­ing chal­lenges as a mo­ti­va­tor to suc­ceed


BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Bio Content -

With over 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the en­ergy sec­tor in­clud­ing a proven track record in the de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of fu­els and chem­i­cals tech­nolo­gies, Dr Jennifer Holmgren joined Lan­za­Tech as Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer in 2010. Lan­za­Tech was es­tab­lished in Auck­land, New Ze­land in 2005, with strong financial back­ing from the Sil­i­con Val­ley­based Ven­ture cap­i­tal group Khosla Ven­tures. Un­der the lead­er­ship of Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, the com­pany closed a $55.8 mil­lion Se­ries C Round in 2012 with led by the Malaysian Life Sciences Cap­i­tal Fund. Dr Holmgren went on to raise $60 mil­lion in a first Se­ries D Round led by Mit­sui with a fur­ther $60M from the NZ Su­per­an­nu­a­tion Fund in 2014.

Prior to join­ing Lan­za­Tech, Dr Holmgren was VP and Gen­eral Man­ager of the Re­new­able En­ergy and Chem­i­cals busi­ness unit at UOP LLC, a Honey­well Com­pany. She was one of the key driv­ers of UOP’s lead­er­ship in avi­a­tion bio­fu­els, and un­der her man­age­ment, UOP tech­nol­ogy be­came in­stru­men­tal in pro­duc­ing nearly all of the ini­tial fu­els used by com­mer­cial airlines and the mil­i­tary for test­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of al­ter­na­tive avi­a­tion fuel. Today, un­der

Dr. Holmgren’s guid­ance, Lan­za­Tech is work­ing to­wards de­vel­op­ing a va­ri­ety of plat­form chem­i­cals and fu­els, in­clud­ing the world’s first al­ter­na­tive jet fuel de­rived from in­dus­trial waste gases.

Her lead­er­ship and in­no­va­tions won her the most pres­ti­gious, 2015 BIO Rosalind Franklin Award. The Rosalind Franklin Award was es­tab­lished to honor pi­o­neer­ing women in the in­dus­trial biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor who have made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the ad­vance­ment of the biobased econ­omy and biotech in­no­va­tion.

Dr Holmgren said, “I have al­ways be­lieved that the tech­nolo­gies that have the most im­pact are those that cre­ate new in­dus­trial plat­forms. When I first heard about Lan­za­Tech, I thought that this tech­nol­ogy could do just that and thanks to an in­cred­i­ble team and a lot of pa­tience, our tech­nol­ogy is help­ing cre­ate a new in­dus­try, re­defin­ing how we treat car­bon, source ma­te­ri­als for fu­els and chem­i­cals pro­duc­tion and how we treat waste. This one ap­pli­ca­tion can meet a va­ri­ety of needs and work across mul­ti­ple sec­tors and it has met all my ex­pec­ta­tions!”

She cur­rently serves on mul­ti­ple ex­ter­nal ad­vi­sory boards. She is the au­thor or co-au­thor of 50 US patents, 20 sci­en­tific pub­li­ca­tions and is the

2003 re­cip­i­ent of the Coun­cil for Chem­i­cal Re­search’s (CCR) Mal­colm E. Pruitt Award. She was named as #1 of the most 100 in­flu­en­tial lead­ers in the Bioe­con­omy by Bio­fu­els Digest for 20162017.

On chal­lenges, she ob­serves, “I think there are chal­lenges in any field that you work in, and yes, some­times you will face chal­lenges that tend to be ex­ac­er­bated by your age, na­tion­al­ity or sex. Through­out my ca­reer and my ed­u­ca­tion, I have been for­tu­nate to have pro­fes­sors, man­agers and peers who have pushed me to be the best I can be which has nat­u­rally helped me over­come any chal­lenges that have arisen. ”

Shar­ing her thoughts on suc­cess mantra, Dr Holmgren says, “Just do your thing. Learn and learn and learn as much as you can, seek role mod­els (both men and women), work at what you love, and re­mem­ber that you are equal and have a seat at the ta­ble. The rest will come. You will suc­ceed.”


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