John F. Crowley
Another home football game calls for another Innovation Rally hosted by the IDEA Center. Innovation Rally is a networking and lunch event every Friday of home games, with last week’s guest speaker being John F. Crowley, Chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. Crowley’s path to entrepreneurship within biotechnology is very unique. Crowley left his traditional business path with a steady job out of urgency to help his two youngest children, Megan and Patrick, after they were diagnosed with a rare disease, Pompe. The Crowley family story was portrayed in the movie “Extraordinary Measures.”
Both children were diagnosed as infants, and doctors predicted they would only live to be a few years old each, considering Pompe had no cure. Today, Megan is a junior at Notre Dame and Patrick a senior in high school, still dealing with Pompe, but living far beyond what doctors predicted. Crowley credits this to Novazyme, the company that he started with a biotechnology researcher to help cure this rare disease.
Crowley’s speech focused on the challenges of being an entrepreneur, especially when so much is on the line, as well as the characteristics that are essential in the success of an entrepreneur.
Crowley believes that entrepreneurs need to be risk takers, sometimes you just have to go for it, a list of pros and cons is not always the best approach. Entrepreneurs also need to be capable of having a vision, this will be the driving force for not only yourself but for your team and investors. An entrepreneur’s vision should be able to answer the question, “what do we really want out of this?” which was Crowley’s thought process when starting his first venture, Novazyme.
Other traits that make for a successful entrepreneur is being a dreamer and an optimist, having perseverance, and always holding on to hope. Crowley encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to hold on to the little moments of success that are fleeting. For him these moments are spending time with his children.
After Crowley’s talk, the audience was given an opportunity to ask questions, one of which asked what the best qualities of a leader are. Crowley responded with no matter how big your company gets and how important you become, always get to know your employees and relay the values of your company.