Over the past 15 years, Dr. Juliana Blum, cofounder of and vice president of business operations for regenerative-medicine company Humacyte, has applied her technical expertise in vascular access product development to advance Humacyte’s novel biotechnology platform through Phase III trials.

Leveraging her Ph.D. in molecular biology from Chicago’s Loyola University, she helps develop better options for patients by addressing significant unmet medical needs through bioengineering and tissue regeneration. Blum says that her greatest professional accomplishment to date has been contributing to the company’s success and working alongside such a dynamic team of leaders.

Blum’s inventions have been granted 14 patents, and she has earned a number of awards, including the Trainee Abstract Award from the American Heart Association. As an advisory board member of Women in Bio, a mentor for W.O.M.E.N. in Advanced Therapies and a member of Young Women in Bio, she provides guidance to other female leaders in the industry.

To Blum, diversity and inclusion means respectful acceptance without boundaries and the ability to work in a productive environment led by unique individuals. “Diversity is critical to businesses because it drives innovation and progress,” she goes on to explain. “It means working as part of a diverse group, where everyone has something unique to contribute, and where the input and contributions of each individual are promoted equally.”

According to Blum, confidence, self-awareness, motivation, respect and a positive approach, attitude and outlook that is shared with the entire team are the hallmarks of a true leader.

She offers this advice to other women who are on the path to leadership, especially in STEM industries: “Stay true and committed to your own beliefs and personal philosophies. Be confident in your abilities as a leader; take risks to explore opportunities in new roles; and embrace the challenges of working in fields that have been traditionally male dominated. Finally, always continue to improve upon both your strengths and your weaknesses – a great leader is always learning.”