Throughout March we’re celebrating Women’s History Month, a recognition of the countless contributions women have made here in the U.S. and around the world. This year, the theme is “providing healing, promoting hope” — a concept that really resonates with our team and our push to deliver better healthcare outcomes through the power of genetic information.

At Myriad Genetics, our very first genetic test was designed to help women understand their hereditary risk of developing breast cancer. We continue to put women in the driver’s seat for their own healthcare choices with that and other testing products.

Of course, many of our own breakthroughs have been accomplished by women. We are proud to have so many talented women on our team, including in leadership positions. To celebrate their valuable contributions to our company and to the patients and physicians we serve, we selected several innovative and inspiring women from Myriad Genetics and asked them to tell us about themselves and about great women in general.

Kavita Bhat, vice president of Laboratory Operations, Mental Health

Major contribution: Leading the COVID-19 testing project for Myriad’s mental health business operations. This effort involved coordination across research and development, operations, informatics, quality assurance, regulatory, and project management — plus a diverse group of team members at three Myriad Genetics sites to develop the company’s first infectious disease test in the midst of the pandemic. “We completed validation of SARS-CoV-2 viral assay in record time of 100 days and submitted our very first Emergency Use Authorization filings with the FDA in 2020,” Bhat says.

Innovation inspiration: Myriad Genetics is based on a “lead with science” approach. “Our tests are backed by ongoing literature reviews, in vitro experiments, and collection of patient outcomes data,” she adds.

Why women rock: “Women make up half of the most promising talent out there and embracing this fact is a sure formula for success,” Bhat says. “Including women in all aspects of business will enhance a team’s diversity and skill set in delivering well-rounded products that continue to transform our world.”

Karla Bowles, vice president of Clinical Genomics and senior laboratory director

Major contribution: Classifying genetic variants identified through the Myriad Genetics testing process, a deep dive investigation that requires extensive scientific expertise to make sense of test results for each patient. “Each variant is its own puzzle, and some of these puzzles can become very complex,” Bowles says.

Innovation inspiration: “At Myriad Genetics, innovative products such as RiskScore really set us apart,” she adds. “For the first time, women of all ancestries can benefit from a more accurate breast cancer risk assessment.”

Why women rock: “In the past decades, women have had the experience of being on the outside looking in. As we advance in our careers, our previous experiences encourage us to surround ourselves with a more diverse group of people who bring their own unique and innovative perspectives,” Bowles says.

Stephanie Meredith, senior director, People Team

Major contribution: Launching the employee recognition platform for Myriad Genetics last year, which allow for “in the moment” recognitions personalized to teammates, ease of use, and better insights into utilization through a new software platform. “This program has quickly gained traction and is allowing us to quickly adapt to new trends and business objectives,” Meredith says.

Innovation inspiration: “By continually focusing on the needs of our patients, providers, and teammates, we look for innovative solutions to deliver the best experience, access, and information,” she adds.

Why women rock: “Women who inspire and drive innovation persevere and do so with grace,” Meredith says. “They see the mountain as something to climb or tunnel through, not as a barrier. They support others as they climb to success, thereby building stronger and bolder ideas, taking bigger risks, and understanding the needs of those around them.”

Karen Renner, vice president, Digital Marketing

Major contribution: Project Galileo, a growth initiative that makes genetic insights more accessible to patients and enhances the experience based upon real patient insights. Recently this led to a faster way to qualify patients for testing and guide them into a seamless telemedicine service, for a more affordable price than a $40 co-pay. There is no other service like this one in the market. “It gives me goose bumps thinking about how many lives this service may help save,” Renner says.

Innovation inspiration: “Every day at Myriad Genetics I witness innovation through our digital transformation,” she adds. “Innovation is a constant norm that makes me proud to work here.”

Why women rock: “They are curious. They take the time to learn, ask questions, and then ask more questions! Their learning is never done,” Renner says.

Katie Johansen Taber, vice president, Clinical Product Research and Partnerships

Major contribution: Improved patient access to expanded carrier screening by systematically addressing evidence gaps with data that had already been collected in-house. “It was gratifying and exciting to see that eight of our studies were the foundation for updated guidelines published just last year that supported increased access,” Taber says.

Innovation inspiration: “At Myriad Genetics, new ideas are encouraged, and we don’t turn away good ideas just because they’re hard,” she adds. “Instead, we embrace change and challenge the norm, enabling much more open thinking and collaboration.”

Why women rock: “I’ve found my own inspiration from women who have been important in my life: my mother, who was a full-time scientist while raising twin girls; my PhD advisor, who demanded excellence and provided the support and mentorship needed to achieve it; and my grandmother, who saw people in need in her small community and dedicated herself to taking action to help them,” says Taber.

Kirsten Timms, senior vice president, Biomarker Discovery

Major contribution: Our innovative MyChoice® CDx test for assessing a tumor genome and helping patients and physicians select the most appropriate treatment for their ovarian cancer. “It’s extremely fulfilling to have been involved in the development of myChoice, starting at inception and all the way through to the successful clinical validation and commercialization of the test,” says Timms.

Innovation inspiration: “Innovation happens in an environment that supports risk-taking and thinking outside of the box,” she adds. “Myriad Genetics has a proven track record of developing novel first-in-class diagnostics that have made significant and meaningful changes in patient care.”

Why women rock: “To innovate in science requires a deep understanding of the science coupled with imagination, the willingness to risk failure, and an environment that cultivates those attributes,” Timms says.

These stellar ladies represent just a fraction of the impressive contributions made by women here at Myriad Genetics. We honor all of them — and women doing remarkable work all around the world — during Women’s History Month.

Myriad Genetics at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Paul J. Diaz, president and chief executive officer, Bryan Riggsbee, chief financial officer, and Dale Muzzey, chief scientific officer, presented at the 41st annual J.P. Morgan (JPM) Healthcare Conference.