2016 Career Summit Series: Q&A with Greentown Lab’s Emily Reichert

Emily Reichert headshotasEmily Reichert is the CEO of Greentown Labs, a cleantech incubator hosting more than 40 startups, and will be one of the keynote speakers at Net Impact Boston’s annual Career Summit next Friday, February 26.  Her career has taken her from the chemistry lab to the boardroom, and she shared her thoughts on some of the things she’s learned during her varied career.  To hear more from Emily Reichert and our other keynote speakers, be sure to reserve your tickets today!
How did you decide to pursue an impact role in your career?
In the beginning of my career I didn’t exactly set out to pursue an impact role. In fact, I actually found my way to my current role through various corporate positions that were not what I was looking for. I suppose you could call it a little trial and error. I earned my PhD in chemistry and after years of isolated work in the lab I was eager to jump into an industry-specific position. I was working with brilliant scientists and impressive business professionals but realized the two cohorts weren’t working well together. I faced this challenge in a few corporations and realized over time that I wanted to build a community where scientists and engineers could thrive alongside their business counterparts.
During this same time period I found clean technology and heard about Greentown Labs. I went to check them out in their South Boston location and I immediately fell in love. Not with the location — they were breaking every laboratory safety rule I had ever known — but with its incredible buzz and passion — it was palpable and drew me in! Here were 15 startups of scientists and engineers who simply wanted to share rent and develop their prototypes. The four founding companies were trying to run Greentown Labs while also managing their own businesses and they needed help. I realized then that I finally found the community I had dreamed of creating and the impact role sort of evolved naturally out of the position.
What is the best career advice you have received?
When I was young my father told me I’d always have a job if I became a scientist or an engineer. I listened and as it turns out, I enjoyed chemistry and was pretty good at it too. Fortunately, I was able to develop a career that combines my science and business knowledge with my passion for cleantech – my dad was right!
Innovation plays a key role in achieving social and environmental impact. How has innovation helped your organization and where do you see the next few years taking us, (particularly in your industry)?
Innovation has played an enormous role in getting Greentown Labs to where it is today. Our members have developed unique, disruptive clean technologies that will positively impact the world; our strategic corporate partners collaborate with our startups to incorporate innovation into their existing, large corporations; and our sponsors support the mission of our community and the innovative companies our entrepreneurs are building – all of which help drive our community’s success.
Moving forward, innovation will continue to play an instrumental role in our development, especially as we look to nearly double our physical footprint in 2017!
Don’t forget to register now for Net Impact Boston’s Career Summit this Friday, February 26!
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