Welcome to Season 2!
Robin Toft on the Life Science Industry’s Talent Crisis, Advancement for Women, and Why It’s Critical for CEO’s to Focus on Diversity
In this episode of the Precision Medicine Podcast Robin Toft, author and CEO of the Toft Group (a ZRG company), joins us to discuss her new book, We Can, and share her thoughts on the need for more women and greater diversity in the C-suite and the boardroom.
Before founding the Toft Group, which helps life science companies build game-changing management teams, Robin spent 20 years as a biotech executive. She has experienced the corporate dynamic from many angles, and what she learned is that women “show up differently” to interviews. She says, “…oftentimes when we speak with men, they're overconfident. They apply if they have only 50% of the qualifications met while women need a hundred percent met or they're not even going to play.”
She goes on to say it is confidence that is the true differentiator between who escalates and who doesn’t even play, which is why women need to work on building theirs.
“I've interviewed thousands of executives, and women in general typically lack confidence, often don't participate in the searches, are the first to tell us, even if they take the call, why they're not qualified.” Robin is on a mission to change that, which is why she wrote her book, We Can. Her goal is to help women gain the “confidence, competence, and connections” they need to be successful business leaders. Robin notes that her book is just as important for men to read. She says, “Men will read the book and say, ‘This is not just for women.’ And I'll say, ‘Well, of course not. These career advancement tips work for everyone. But men, having been in our industry longer, are typically a bit better at them.’”
Robin also believes it is important for men to reach down and give women a leg up by either hiring or mentoring them. This isn’t just good for women’s careers, she notes, but for life science companies that need to become and remain innovative and competitive in the years ahead.
As Robin says, “…employers don't need to respond and react, but if they don't, they won't have enough people working for them. It's really that dire.”
Listen to the full podcast to learn more from Robin about why diversity in the life sciences is so critical and how CEOs can choose and implement diversity to give their companies a competitive edge and help them avoid the pitfalls of the growing talent crisis.
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About Our Guest: Robin Toft
Robin Toft is the founder and CEO of Toft Group, a ZRG Company, where she combines a deep inside knowledge of the life science industry with a passion for building game-changing management teams. Robin has placed more than 500 executives at innovation-led companies in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, life science tools, and digital health.
A champion of diverse executive teams, Robin has built a reputation for recruiting women and minorities into top roles and helping the life science industry overcome unconscious bias in hiring. Prior to founding Toft Group in 2010, Robin served 20+ years as a biotech executive. In 2019, Robin authored her first book, “WE CAN: The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement,” available on Amazon.
WE CAN offers practical insight, wisdom and encouragement for women to realize the career of their dreams. Robin serves on multiple non-profit boards, was awarded Woman of the Year in San Diego in 2017, in 2018, and 2019, and she was a finalist in Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year awards. She has been honored as a finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” and “Most Admired CEO” awards in multiple years.
On Twitter at @ToftGroup