23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki On Owning Your Power

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki On Owning Your Power #PowerWomen

Powerwomen, Anne Wojcicki

12/8/2021 4:28:00 AM

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki On Owning Your Power PowerWomen

It was all about this mindset that the world is super interesting and everyone is good at something, so go find what you’re good at.

My mom (writer/educator Esther Wojcicki) is the type of person who very much had the mentality that laws were meant to change. There is no such thing as a fixed rule to her. We were told, “If you think something is stupid, then change it.”  

I remember when I was little, she wanted a park near my house. There was an empty lot nearby, so my mom just lobbied the city and organized support, and then it became a park. She just gets things done and is a phenomenal problem solver. She never talks about having a long list of things to do. There’s no whining. She’s just incredibly efficient and she looks at the world like it’s totally solvable. 

What I took away from my mother, more than anything, was this belief that all problems can be solved. Our FDA issues felt like a problem that I had to solve. Suddenly, the whole world looked at us like we were the bad people instead of what I see as an activist brand trying to empower people by giving them access to their own genetic information.  I was seeing headlines like “23 and Stupid.”  headtopics.com

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The FDA stuff became a problem to solve. It gave us an opportunity to drive real change and educate people about why this mattered. We showed the world that consumers have the ability of getting complicated genetic information on their own without a healthcare provider. 

Click here for full coverage of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.I believe in giving people power. When I see a woman get railroaded in a meeting, I’m very quick to text her or Slack her to say, “you should speak up. Now.”  The same is true for compensation. There are moments when I say to someone, “you’re not being aggressive enough.” I help them understand the context and what their peers are doing.

Information is powerful. It’s how you build trust and how you give people power. Some people would rather believe a celebrity than an scientist with data. We’re seeing the death of the expert. We need to educate people on what is real science. The way you make discovery is with data. When you pool data and and come together to crowdsource discovery, you drive change. I want to empower people to help them make better decisions. It's a lesson I learned from my own mother, and one that I'd like to pay forward. —

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