Hi, I'm Jaye Goldstein, Founder and CEO of Founder to Leader. I used to be self-conscious of my windy journey, but I've come to be proud of the breadth and depth of the experiences I've had to date. In many ways, coaching early-stage biotech founders feels like a culmination of my 20+ years of work at the intersection of education and innovation.
Read about Jaye in Women on Topp Magazine
Science and communication
My personal mission has always been about positive impact. I designed my own undergraduate major at UPENN in Environmental Science and Non-Fiction Writing and became a writer and editor at Backpacker Magazine after graduating. I thought my prose would change the world but, instead, I rated energy bars and hiking boots. As I considered next steps, I thought a lot about the hiking trips I led for kids in the Rockies during my summers and decided to go back to school to become a teacher.
Teaching and managing
After completing my Masters in Education at UPENN's Graduate School of Education, I was drawn to teach at an urban charter school in Philadelphia. Every day I felt like a failure; the students needs were so great and I was limited in how I could help. In retrospect, so many of my management theories and practices stem from teaching urban children. It was one of the most powerful lessons in understanding how to meet every person where he/she /they are in pursuit of a collective goal. That being said: I also realized that scale matter to me. I decided to get out of the classroom and transition into leadership roles. There, too, I found I was frustrated. Too often great missions fell short without the right leadership and management. I wanted to be a different kind of leader and enrolled in the evening MBA program at Boston University to skill up.
Leading an organizational turnaround
Just as I began my MBA, I was recruited to serve as the Chief of Staff at the Longy School of Music. At Longy, the new President and I immediately discovered that we had a 1.5 year runway to pull off a massive turnaround or else the 100 year old institution would have to permanently close. I never finished the MBA as I threw myself into leading this critical change. Within a few months we had to fire the entire senior management team, hire a new team, recruit new members to the board, find new revenue streams, and strategic plan for a range of possible futures. After a grueling stretch, we found a path forward through acquisition. Once set on a clear course, I needed a break from administration and headed back to teaching for a few years. In that time I met my (now former) husband, got married, and had my son.
Launching and scaling the MIT Communication Lab
A really interesting part-time job oped up at MIT while I was on maternity leave: the Department of Biological Engineering discovered that their students were graduating without the communication skills they needed to be successful in their careers. And yet, there were existing resources on campus. My role was to figure out how to fill the gap.
After a few months deep in human-centered design, I launched what later became the MIT Communication Lab - a peer coaching program to help engineers learn to communicate effectively. After rapid iteration, we gained traction. Soon after, the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department wanted a "Comm Lab," too. And then the Broad Institute wanted one, then the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department - and before long, we were "acquired" by the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program with institutional support to continuing scaling across the School of Engineering at MIT - and to other universities as well.
Innovating in education at Harvard University
A colleague at Harvard University saw how I'd scaled rapidly across MIT and, together, we crafted a new role in the Office of the President and Provost in which I would oversee education innovation emerging across all of Harvard's thirteen schools. I managed a fund that helped faculty launch, and scale innovations that were - primarily - working to improve teaching and learning at Harvard. I coached faculty and staff to pilot innovations effectively. I noticed that the students were absent in the innovation ecosystem and did a year-long study to understand why. Ultimately, I ended up raising outside funds to launch Operation Impact, an accelerator that was designed to help Harvard students innovate in education, globally.
Supporting venture-backed bio + climate tech startups at Petri
After a few years at Harvard, a former MIT Comm Lab Fellow, Dr. Tony Kulesa, asked to help him build Petri, a new early stage venture capital firm designed to disrupt the biotech industry. We took on 11 founders working at the intersection of biology and engineering to improve human health and sustainability. We helped founders, along with our teammate, Josh Moser, raise more than $23M in less than a year. Most of these founders were first-time founders, spinning out of academia. I designed all of the resources and support for our portfolio and hosted many large events like The Dish, The Wave Summit (supporting women and underrepresented genders), and Founder-led Biotech Week. My favorite work of all, though, was coaching the founders.
Becoming your coach
My journey has not been a particularly linear path. It has, however, given me the right blend of experiences to coach biotech founders. I'd love to leverage my own experiences to help you build your team and crush your milestones. Hiring the right people and executing well are the key features that separate the good from the great. I'm looking forward to hearing about what you're working on and explore how I might help you build.