In partnership with Enterprising Oxford, we celebrated International Women’s Day with the help of four of our incredible female founders & CEOs, each one of them responsible for leading a world-changing company, built on Oxford University’s world-leading science.
These Women represent just a small selection of Women Leaders across Oxford:
The informal fireside chat style event was chaired via Zoom by Kate O’Brien, Head of Legal & Company Secretary, Oxford Sciences Innovation, and reflected on personal journey’s to becoming women leaders.
The showcase of incredible achievements was inspiration alone.
But what made this event was the candour with which our speakers discussed their own personal experiences and their passion for driving change for future generations of women.
Topics discussed included challenges regarding board representation, board exposure, policies, culture and antiquated views on flexible working and maternity / paternity leave.
Challenges that remain still today were summed up frankly as blatant sexism and everyday misogyny.
It was evident from the discussion that an important part of changing the workplace will be allowing people to be a more authentic version of themselves.
This was a sell-out event, and we were delighted to not only see a huge number of women but also men in attendance.
If you didn’t manage to get tickets, you can now watch a recording of the event HERE.
We urge everyone to watch. Gender equality is not just a women’s issue – we all have a responsibility to drive change and there is much work that remains to be done.
At OSI, we are committed to setting a good example; quickly and transparently. Our commitment extends beyond women to creating an inclusive place, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, background or circumstance, for all to thrive.
We hope this event is the first of many designed to break down barriers and challenge the status quo.
Watch this space. The future starts here.
Kate O’Brien, Head of Legal & Company Secretary, Oxford Sciences Innovations
Kate joined OSI in 2017. Previously, Kate practiced at Herbert Smith Freehills in London and Paris. Prior to this, she worked as an attaché to the British Embassy in Paris. Kate holds an MA in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford, and spent a year studying Spanish Law and Catalan Law at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. At OSI, Kate provides guidance to the team on the negotiation and execution of investments, as well as general corporate, commercial and IP matters. She is also OSI’s company secretary and advises the Board on corporate and governance matters. She has a keen interest in regulatory and policy reform in the deep tech and venture space and leads OSI’s engagement in this area.
Ilana Wisby, Founding CEO and Director, Oxford Quantum Circuits
Ilana is the Founding CEO of OQC. In her role she is responsible for setting the strategy and direction of the company, defining and modelling our culture and values, building and leading OQC’s senior team, and for allocating resources to the company’s priorities. Ultimately, Ilana makes sure that OQC remains at the forefront of the quantum revolution. Thanks to her academic background, having gained a PhD in quantum physics from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she spent most of her PhD as a student in industry at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, she’s also providing technical input in the design of our quantum computer. Ilana’s ambitions can be summed up in a single word that comes up a lot in a conversation with her: impact. Not just in the fledging quantum computing industry, but in the world writ. She believes in pushing the boundaries and doing things that have never been done before, thanks to quantum computing. Ilana takes pride in breaking grounds on multiple levels: as a pioneer in quantum physics and as an executive woman in tech.
Caroline Godfrey, SVP Discovery & Academic Founder, PepGen
Caroline Godfrey is Senior Vice President of Discovery. She is a co-founder of PepGen and led the company as CEO from spinout, successfully raising seed funding of $4.5M and a Series A of $45M. Caroline has deep experience with PepGen’s enhanced delivery oligonucleotide therapeutics, having worked as a post-doctoral researcher developing this proprietary technology at the University of Oxford. Prior to this, Dr Godfrey worked in genetics in the private and NHS settings, and received her PhD from University College London following research in the field of neuromuscular diseases.
Danuta Jeziorska, Founder & CEO, Nucleome Therapeutics
Danuta is a Founder and CEO of Nucleome Therapeutics and an Honorary Senior Scientist at the University of Oxford. Previously, she co-founded Innovation Forum Oxford, for which she was recognised as one of the Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness in 2018. Her scientific expertise lies in decrypting how genes are regulated, a field which she has been working on over the last 12 years.
Rosamond Deegan, CEO, Omass Therapeutics
Ros Deegan joined OMass Therapeutics as CEO in May 2019 from Bicycle Therapeutics where she served as President, Chief Business Officer and a Director of the US subsidiary of the Company. Ros established the company’s Boston-based subsidiary and over a three-year period led three major transactions and grew the US organisation to more than 20 employees. Prior to that Ros served as Senior Vice President, Business Development and Operations at Trevena, Inc, where she had previously held the role of Head of Finance and Operations. During Ros’ tenure at Bicycle and Trevena, the companies moved four programmes into the clinic, and raised over $300 million in private and public financings. In her earlier career, Ros was Director of Business Development at GSK in the US and, prior to that, she served as Director of Operations for GSK’s Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEED) and as Marketing Manager for GSK’s UK launch of Bonviva for post-menopausal osteoporosis. Ros is a graduate of Cambridge University and received her MBA with distinction from INSEAD.