Robin Farmanfarmaian

What are you most trying to accomplish in your work? 

I am trying to make a major impact on the lives of patients - improve outcomes across the board for hundreds of millions of people.

What do you think sets your work apart from the work of others in your field?

I’m a chronic disease patient who has dedicated my life to improving the lives of other patients, and assuring that other people don’t have to go through what I’ve been through. I’ve chosen to work on start up companies as I believe that is the best way to be innovative and make an impact. I partner with large corporations, medical centers, big pharma, universities and more to get my message out and create communities of people to further my cause of helping improve outcomes.

What or who inspired you to get into your field? Do you have any individuals or groups of people that you credit with helping you achieve the goals you set out to accomplish?

I was misdiagnosed with an autoimmune disease as a teenager, which led to 43 hospitalizations and 6 major surgeries. That inspired me to make an impact in consumer facing medicine. Singularity University helped me accomplish some of my goals. My inner drive accomplished the rest.

What role has serendipity played in the turning points in your career? 

A lot – I’ve been able to create and come in on the ground floor of some start up companies purely because I was in the right place at the right time to meet someone.

What have been the greatest challenges that you have encountered in your career?

Being a female in Silicon Valley – it is difficult. Women have to work considerably harder and still don’t get the same respect or recognition for their work as men.

Do you believe leaders and innovators have certain qualities that they all share? If so, what?

Leaders and innovators can have different qualities – innovators are creative and enjoy the beginning stages of things, but aren’t necessarily leaders, and vice versa. The qualities they do share is passion and the ability to get people excited about things.

How would you most like to change the world through your work?

I’d like to make a major difference in people’s health and medical outcomes.

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