I couldn’t care less about looking like a “superwoman”
CEO & CO-FOUNDER OF GATE2BRAIN
By Irene Riart
“My family is from Sant Joan Despí and, when I was little, my father worked at the Montjuïc Amusement Park. He always worked weekends, so to spend time together, my sister and I would not go to school on Mondays. Until I was twelve, I didn’t go to school on a Monday, although we read a lot. As a child, I wasn’t very clear about what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to something that I was really passionate about and that was related to observation. I studied at Escola Súnion, of which I have fond memories. I hesitated between studying Economics or Chemistry, but I ended up entering the chemistry degree at the University of Barcelona, where I graduated in 1997. Before entering the world of research and the PhD, I also did a Master’s degree in organic chemistry. Later, I also did an executive program at La Salle and an MBA at the UOC.”
“I love to travel, and it’s something I’ve always thanked my parents for. As children, with my sister, they took us to see many countries. We even went to Syria by motorhome. I think I’ve been to more than fifty countries: Asia, Africa, Europe… everywhere. And now that I’m a mother, I try to encourage my son to pass on the same philosophy. This past summer we went to Thailand with my partner and their daughters too, and it was a very good experience. I also help my friends organise trips, I have many guides at home.”
“In my free time I devote a lot of time to music. My partner is a musician and I have been singing in a gospel choir for a few years. I really like doing this type of activity, which unites several generations around music. When you share experiences of this type, it helps you put your day-to-day life into perspective and get out of your comfort zone.”
“When I was young I worked in many things, as we all do. But when I finished college I joined a company doing peptide chemistry. I was hoping that they would give me a scholarship to do my doctorate and, after three years, I got it. I did the PhD for a few years and although it didn’t quite pan out, it was a very interesting experience. In 2003, I went to the University of Florida to do research until I returned to Barcelona to set up the city’s Scientific Park. I was involved in the Park creation and I was literally the third employee they hired. Little by little, this developed in IRB Barcelona, where I spent 15 years participating in and leading research projects. In the middle of the pandemic, I decided to leave my position to start with Gate2Brain. It is a company that manufactures peptide launchers to treat paediatric brain cancer”.
“Over the years I have learned that you need to have a very natural and transparent leadership. I believe that a new type of leadership is possible, starting from a base of transparency. We women need to look for these new leaderships to make our teams reconcile better. I couldn’t care less about looking like a superwoman and not showing what we have behind each of us i. I’ve always been like this, and the day it no longer works, I’ll consider whether to change or not. But, in the end, we are all human.”
“As a child, I wondered why I needed to do theatre at school or other creative activities. Over time, I have seen that all these skills are very relevant, from when you to talk to investors, have an interview or need to find a creative solution for your business”.
“That, in two years, the Gate2Brain project has come so far. We have worked hard, we have a good team and we have always gone hand in hand with science”
“I would like to separate even more the hours I dedicate to work and my personal life, although I am already achieving it”