Ferolyn Fellowship Graduates Learn that Mentoring Knows No Bounds

by | Dec 2, 2020 | Ferolyn Fellowship

Like everything, the Ferolyn Fellowship looked a little different this year as it went virtual. But in no way did that diminish the benefits to participants or the bonds they formed between each other and with their mentors. 

Recently, the fourth class of Ferolyn Fellows gathered for a virtual “graduation,” a period of reflection and celebration, as well as an opportunity to introduce the fifth class of 2020-2021. 

The Ferolyn Fellowship was established in 2016 by Ferolyn Powell’s sisters, Liz McDermott and Marian Powell, Fogarty Innovation and a group of Ferolyn’s colleagues, including Fogarty Innovation’s vice chairman Fred St Goar, who wanted her legacy to live on as a way to remember her extraordinary leadership style and the mentoring she generously shared with many talented emerging healthcare leaders.

In the spirit of continuous learning, each year the Fellowship evolves to make it the most powerful mentoring opportunity possible. Certainly, this year was no exception as it was modified to adjust for both virtual mentoring and virtual conferences. 

“This is always an exciting time of the year for us, as it’s truly rewarding to see the connection between our Fellows and the successes they have experienced as a result,” Liz said. “We are also very pleased that despite the challenges we faced with COVID, the program continues to thrive and grow. In our upcoming class we will even welcome our first out-of-state Fellow. This virtual model also opens the door to potentially expand our base of host mentors, as these times have shown us, we can work and mentor successfully from anywhere.” 

As Fogarty Innovation director and Ferolyn Fellowship host mentor Angela Macfarlane shared, this format was both effective and rewarding. “We found ourselves connecting more regularly, and in many ways, it created a greater intimacy that highlighted what I believe are the hallmarks of the Fellowship,” she said. “The experience this year really captured what is very powerful about the in-context, high-impact mentoring experience that we’re trying to provide and recognized what it means to support a diverse community of thoughtful, aware leaders.”

New this year as a host mentor will be Claudia Carasso, founder and leader of Elastic Minds and a founding member of the Ferolyn Fellowship. In addition to her mentoring duties this year, Claudia will continue to provide personal branding and communications coaching to these emerging leaders.

Claudia joins Angela and Kate Garrett, a host mentor last year and also a graduate of the inaugural class of fellows. As Angela underscored, mentoring is a two-way street. “Each year I realize how much it enriches my life to be part of this program,” she said.

The fellows shared a few thoughts as they reflected on their experiences. 

Eric Chehab, Ph.D., Novonate Co-Founder and CEO

The unique bond he built with the other fellows and mentors provided a renewed confidence in himself as a CEO and engineer, says Eric, adding that the group discussions presented a key opportunity to drill down on work-related details.

“My mentor Kate quickly became one of the best sounding boards and provided a really valuable perspective on how to distill things down to the most important considerations. She also advised me on how to be a better leader for my immediate team, which in turn helped me become a better business coach for the Biodesign course at Stanford.”

Andy McGibbon, Sonder Capital Partner

Even outside the fellowship, this was one of the most dynamic years he has faced in both his career and life, says Andy, whose company Sonder Capital closed its first fund this year. 

“I couldn’t find the superlatives to describe how impactful the year has been. Angela, my mentor, completely reframed how I view myself, not just in my career, but really in the world,” he says. “The interaction with the mentors and the other fellows, especially during COVID, accelerated my understanding of who I am, how I’m perceived by others and refined my goals for how best to make a positive impact in the world.”

Maria Artunduaga, MD, MPH, MTM, Respira Labs Founder and CEO

Citing strong influences from entrepreneurial women leaders including her mother and grandmother, Maria shared the important but often overlooked role that intersectionality plays in overcoming the gender inequality women face in leadership positions. Having faced many difficult situations throughout her career—often alone—she came to this opportunity to put that isolation behind. 

“I was able to create my brand and hone my communication skills, through my work with Claudia and solve difficult problems by applying strong analytical skills and make unexpected connections between different disciplines and my endless passion to help others,” she says.

Maria was recently selected, along with Ferolyn Fellow graduate Amanda French, to join Springboard, a testament to the value of their leadership and  the clinical needs their companies are addressing. Maria also received a Small Business Technology Transfer grant and is aiming to close a seed round by the end of 2021. 

New class welcomed as “fellows for life”

As the graduates shared their highlights, it was also a time to welcome the new class, whom we will meet in future issues. 

After a very competitive interview process, the new Fellows selected for 2021 are:

As Fred wrapped up the graduation, he shared that once you’re a Ferolyn Fellow, you’re a member of the Ferolyn Fellowship community for life. “That means that you can call another fellow, and for that matter, any of us in the community, and have that same level of vulnerability and trust and same sense of responsibility.” And he added his hope that the new class will continue to build those bonds, recognizing that everyone who comes into the program is open, ready to learn, and appreciates the dedicated community that they have supporting them.

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