The questionnaire answered by the Women of Tech is a variant of the Proust questionnaire, named not because Marcel Proust got lost in the Paris metro, but in memory of Emilie du Chatelet, a woman of letters, mathematician and physicist, renowned for her translation of Newton's Principia Mathematica and the dissemination of Leibniz's physics work. She was a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Bologna Institute. Emilie du Chatelet led a free and fulfilled life during the era of the Enlightenment and published a speech on happiness.
Why a career in tech?
Tech is a great playground, at the crossroads of innovation and impact. It gives a constant motivation to push the boundaries of science by carrying out projects that make sense.
Your professional experience?
With a scientific baccalaureate, I prepare for the entrance exams to engineering schools and join the Institute of Optics Graduate School with a specialization in entrepreneurship in innovation. I embark on creating a business with a classmate and a teacher-researcher who gives us the idea of promoting one of his inventions. This is a microscopy technology that can be used directly on living organisms, which we decide to integrate in an equipment dedicated to dermatologists for better detection of skin cancer, the elimination of unnecessary biopsies and the monitoring of the effectiveness of treatment. At the same time, I complete my training, in particular in marketing and finance, with an MBA at HEC.
Your first experience with technology?
My first engineering school internship. I participated in the development of a visualization tool for all the feedback from EDF agents in the field. This first experience gave me a first vision of teamwork and an assessment of the technical level expected in the industrial world.
What do you do today, and why?
Today, I am the CEO of the start-up DAMAE Medical which develops the deepLive ™ device. It is an ergonomic device with a manual probe that allows the dermatologist, within his own practice, to acquire images of the skin anomaly directly on the patient, by simply contact with the skin. The dermatologist then has access to a large number of cellular and architectural criteria specific to each type of skin cancer. We are now about twenty employees sharing a vision of revolutionizing the management of skin cancer.
Your strengths in this role?
Passion, perseverance and vision. Passion is a personality trait and above all a chance. I work every day on subjects that fascinate me because of their technicality, their ambition and their medical impact. I am one of the lucky ones who love their job! Perseverance is a trait I have had since I was little. When I encounter a difficulty or a refusal, I first give myself time to digest the failure before starting to naturally turn it into an opportunity. I also look back to appreciate how far we've come and regain the energy to aim even higher. Finally, vision is a necessity for my job. It is important to be able to build a vision around a simple story and then share it with all stakeholders: collaborators around the project, partners, investors, users, etc.
Past challenges, failures, and disappointments?
We encountered difficulties for the constitution of the team, for the technical validation (more than 15 versions of prototypes over 5 years before reaching a market ready product) but also for the financing of our activity. I find it hard to recall a particular failure, maybe because there are too many of them or maybe because I prefer to remember only big wins! In retrospect, these failures are often at the root of key decisions in the history of the start-up.
Best moments, successes you're proud of?
To see the first validation of the clinical interest of our technological approach and then the medical impact on the first patients. Then, to notice the growing visibility of our technology and our device. Last, to have succeeded in creating a team of experts at the frontier of several technical areas: optics, mechanics, industrialization, IT, artificial intelligence.
People who helped, influenced -or made your life difficult?
When I entered the entrepreneurial world, I thought I would find myself alone in the face of all the difficulties of creating a company. In practice, I quickly joined a community of entrepreneurs keen to share their experience, in particular by joining a start-up incubator. There have been and always will be great moments of solitude. But I know that I can count on a close and qualified network of entrepreneurs who are available to give me their critical opinion and bring me actionable first thoughts.
Your hopes and future challenges?
We have several challenges to take up within DAMAE Medical, such as the development of diagnostic assistance tools based on artificial intelligence or the internationalization of the offer. What stimulates me the most is probably the growth of our team, which will further push our ambition to revolutionize the management of skin cancer.
What do you do when you don’t work?
Travel when possible. Spend time with my friends and family.
Your heroes -from History or fiction?
A saying or proverb you like in particular?
When we want, we can and when we can, we must.
A book to take with you on a desert island?
The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
A message to young female professionals?
There has never been a better time to embark on an adventure you are passionate about. Do not doubt and go for it!