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Lunch with Laura Indolfi

Last week I met with Laura Indolfi for lunch and it was a dream come true. Not only is she immensely welcoming and big-hearted, Laura is also very experienced in the field of science research entrepreneurship.

A while back when I attended a Women@Innovation event, Laura was one of the panelists. After hearing her speak and what she accomplished, I told myself I had to meet her.  Laura is a biomedical entrepreneur, CEO, and co-founder of PanTher Therapeutics, an early stage spin-out from MIT and MGH that provides superior technologies for revolutionizing the treatment of locally advanced inoperable solid tumors. Prior to this, she served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the MGH Cancer Center and as a research associate in the Harvard-MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. She was also selected as a TED Fellow in 2016. Check out Laura’s Ted Talk if you haven’t already- the ability to create an effective approach to localized drug delivery (for Pancreatic Cancer) that was once impossible is amazing work.

After the event, I watched her Ted Talk immediately and felt a sudden hit of reality. I began to question what I wanted to accomplish in life, my career decisions, and my “passion.” Laura’s work and her talk inspired me to thrive further in my career in a different aspect but with all of my uncertainty and how-to-approach questions, I had to meet her. So I did and I was so happy she agreed to meet me as well.

Our lunch lasted about 1.5 hours and one of the most memorable parts of our conversation was when I asked, “During your entrepreneur-in-residence at MGH, if the doctor you were working with was someone other than a pancreatic surgeon, do you think you would have created something entirely different?” She simply answered, “Yes.” That scene continued to replay in my head as I try to recognize the big picture.  Laura explained to me that when she graduated from college, she never knew she was going to get a PhD in biomedical engineering and she never planned to one day be the CEO of her own company. But what she did know was that at each stage of her career in whatever she participated in- it was something she was interested in or wanted at that specific time. Therefore, it is important to ask ourselves- what exactly are we interested in right now? And then jump for it.

As I reflect on myself, I realized that I have been (recently) doing the exact opposite. It’s funny because I tell myself to always stay present but when it comes to making the next for my career, I freeze up and I can’t stop but plan and worry about my imaginable fear of loans, limited time with my “future” family, and etc.  In case you are confused, I’m talking about applying to medical schools (haha). I want to be sure that I make a smart career choice, you know?  On the contrary, I won’t know until I try and I definitely don’t want to live life with regret. Moral of the story, “You don’t create life first and then live. You create your life by living it.”

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