Startup Stories: Diversity and Global Inclusion

Darshana Varia Nadkarni (Ph.D.) - Biotech, Medical Device, Pharma & Entrepreneurship News & Jobs.  Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Training. Love theater, movies, politics.

Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
I provide recruitment & staffing services to biotech and medical device companies.

I have made serial forays into my own business. Having a PhD in Psychology, I began teaching psychology in several bay area colleges. Then I started my business in offering lunch time trainings to bay area companies. I grew my training business and focused on Diversity and Global Inclusion trainings (mostly to fortune 500 companies). However, intense traveling was a severe challenge (more so, after my divorce and while raising my children single-handedly). I then got a chance to do recruitment and I jumped at the idea. I now do some trainings and I focus more on my recruitment business.

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
My foray into this business as accidental. Prior to this I taught psychology at several bay area colleges and I had a business in doing training in the area of Diversity and Global Inclusion (which I continue to do). I enjoyed the independence of having my own business and enjoyed working with people.

At one time, I paired a friend looking for a job, with a friend looking to hire and it clicked. Then I sent another person looking for a job to my friend looking to hire. After he hired two people, he suggested that I do this as a professional recruiter and get paid. I got some tips from him and began my recruiting business, with him signing up as my first client.

Then I began to attend conferences and events to familiarize myself with the industry and cultivate contacts and I simply, completely, totally fell in love with the life science industry.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
Finding excellent candidates who gel with the team and the work environment, is often challenging. However, it is infinitely more challenging in the life science industry, where requirements are stringent, regulatory issues are complex, focus on quality is relentless, multi-functional work environment is the norm. In life science startup, there may be an opening for a Mechanical Engineer, however this person needs to have experience with class III devices (that are implanted inside the body), further they may need to have experience with plastics, catheters, and tubings, further they may need to have experience specifically with cardiac diseases or neurological diseases. Being highly active and relentlessly networking in the industry, enables me to stay in touch with people and make appropriate connections between those looking to fill opportunities and those looking for right opportunities.

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
During economic downturn, no one in life sciences was hiring, leave alone requiring professional recruitment assistance. As things began to pick up, life science industry has been slower and lagging behind in the hiring. It is plagued by FDA issues, stringent requirement, morass of regulatory issues and investors looking for quick returns focused on software and other industries.

During the downturn, while I continued to work (and downsized), I also began writing and covering professional events, workshops, and bio-medical conferences. This enabled me to attend such events and stay in touch, in addition to providing valuable content to the readers to my blog (where I also post job opportunities). As the economy became more stable and the hiring picked up, it greatly benefitted me to have stayed current.

However, the interesting part is that during the down times, I also began to write movie and book and play reviews. Bay area theater companies offer me complementary passes for all their events and I have greatly enjoyed developing an additional avenue for mental stimulation.

I feel that capitalizing on my other interests during the downtime, it helped me to weather the tough times, keep my interest alive, access entertainment at low cost, find effective and fun stress relieving avenue, and keep professionally current for a comeback when things picked up, which now they have.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
Integrity, personable, client satisfaction.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
I love the inspiration articles on Project Eve site and the feeling of community of women successfully dealing with the challenges and sharing their perspectives and learnings. I also enjoy sharing my blog posts here.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
and rewards are infinitely slow in coming. What sustains these people? People who work in this industry are not only extremely bright (an amazingly high concentration of PhDs, MDs, and engineering and science specialties), but people who work in this industry have a strong commitment, dedication, desire, and passion to contribute to improvement in the quality of life.

Company: WinningDifference


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