Leen Kawas is the Director of Product Development at BioTech Industries, leading the company’s next generation in drug development. Here, she answers a few questions about her career and what being one of the first women in her field is like.
Leen Kawas is one of just three hundred female engineers working in Biotech globally today, a statistic that has stayed relatively constant for years despite many efforts within the industry to promote gender equality. Despite this, women make up more than 20% of all enrolled students at US engineering schools and programs, with thousands more women pursuing degrees outside America each year. Even those women who do get into Biotech often find themselves lacking mentors and role models in the same way that Leen did.
Leen’s been working for BioTech Industries for over a year as Product Development Director, and she is leading a multi-year project to develop alternative compounds designed to combat addiction. Her team is also leading the development of a family of treatments that regulate cell growth and DNA replication.
For Leen Kawas, it’s not simply about letting women know what opportunities are out there – it’s about making it possible in the first place by changing the culture at her company.
For female students aiming to get into Biotech and other STEM fields, Leen has some advice: the most important thing is to pick a company where you will be happy. Passion and enjoyment matter when trying to build a career that inspires you.
She also recommends that women use local organizations like Girl Develop It or Ladies Learning Code, which offers community-driven programs that teach women how to code. Leen also says that a big part of the issue isn’t strictly about numbers – it’s just that many industries, including Biotech, need to change their corporate culture to make women feel comfortable.