Lunch & Learn: Panel of Women Entrepreneurs

Author: Kunigunda Szentes

Lunch & Learn panel 9/22/17Lunch & Learn panel 9/22/17

ESTEEM hosted a unique panel discussion at this week's Lunch & Learn session, with Maria Gibbs - co-founder of Invanti - moderating the session with 4 successful women entrepreneurs. The guests of the panel were three former ESTEEM students and a member from Invanti’s first cohort.

Ashley Kalinauskas

Ashley Kalinauskas is the Founder and CEO of Torigen Pharmaceuticals—a startup that resulted from her graduate thesis project at ESTEEM.Torigen focuses on providing veterinary cancer care solutions for companion animals.

Abbey Santanello

Abbey Santanello​, co-founder of Santanello Surgical, a medical device company commercializing a tool that will enhance the suction capability in minimally invasive surgery. Abbey has been selected to participate in ND Launch, a Silicon Valley-based venture accelerator program, where she will lead company operations and launch their product on the west coast.

Eva Marie Costello

Eva-Marie Costello is the Founder and CEO of MartyHow, an early-stage startup focused on improving people's digital literacy and trust. Before Graduating from the ESTEEM Masters Program, she was founding a nonprofit company connecting university students to skills-based volunteer programs in North-East India, already endorsing digital literacy.

Shanice jada McLean

Shanice Jada McLean is a recent Duke University graduate with a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Beside launching herself into her own entrepreneurial venture, specializing in Black women hair called Grumed, she is part of the first cohort of Invanti’s five entrepreneurs, to identify problems and solutions around the issue of financial inclusion.

The conversation inspired the audience at several levels: the members of the panel spoke on their motivations to become entrepreneurs, the ups and downs of their journey, from the idea to the realization, and the importance of making the best out every phase of the process. These life and entrepreneurial lessons were told from a woman's perspective: how to be confident as a young leader, how to communicate effectively, how to inspire people to believe in your organization’s values, and how to build a team which exemplifies these values.

We learned about their methodologies in creating a balance in their everyday schedules, including prioritizing the most important tasks and finding activities that can recharge us. They shared experiences as women leaders in the industry, including how they overcome the challenges and taking ownership of their status, and leaving behind the fear of being disrespected and unsupported.

All these ladies are passionate and driven about their company's mission, they are confident and goal oriented, ready to make an impact in the healthcare, digital literacy, and beauty industry. We are eager to see them continue to accomplish their goals, and thank them for sharing their stories with and inspiring a group of aspiring entrepreneurs.