What technology challenges have you faced over the past few months and what steps have you taken to overcome them?
We’ve had no technical challenges to overcome so far, but it is still early days. We did a lot of homework interviewing experts around the world before we began, that way we could design around anticipated problems. I know that we’ll hit roadblocks eventually, but we have contingency plans in place. It’s the unknown threats that’ll be a hassle — that’s when creativity kicks in.
How do you juggle the business side of things (IP, hiring, governance, etc.) with technology development?
Transitioning from holding the technical reigns to a business development role has been interesting. I didn’t think that it would suit me, but it turns out I love it. I am so passionate about keeping my company healthy and growing. My job is to facilitate each individual’s success, which will ultimately lead to the company’s success. We’re all aligned and working hard towards a common goal.
What were some of the highlights of the past quarter?
One has to be my incredible trip to Antofagasta, Chile. I had meetings with CORFO (the Chilean Clean Technologies Institute) and was able to join in a technology matchmaking event. Connecting directly with SQM, the biggest lithium mine operator in the world, was both overwhelming and gratifying. The plant felt familiar and the people I spoke with confirmed that I am on the right path with my company strategy. The Chilean government and SQM’s desire for clean technology is real and their passion runs deep for supporting a rapid transition to a low carbon future by bringing affordable lithium to market. It was a very successful trip and I am grateful to NRCan and MaRS for making helping me get there.
What will you be focusing on in the next three months?
This quarter is all about building our MVP (minimum viable product). The decision on what our MVP will look like came after a long and arduous process called a critical path assessment. This assessment ensures that we focus on making a lean, mean technology. We are also preparing for our first round of Angel investment. Our first investors are also, fittingly, our MVPs (most valuable players). These are the people who have been following our progress from the beginning and they trust in our vision for the future. They are our biggest supporters and the people who most want us to succeed.
Any words of wisdom for other women in STEM?
Don’t even think about waiting for permission. There is much work to do and there isn’t time for the virtue of patience. The world needs your ideas and your guiding light is that fire that burns inside your belly.