Ann Van Gysel: CEO at MEDVIA, leading the Way in Healthcare Innovation


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Ann Van Gysel is an accomplished leader currently serving as the CEO at MEDVIA, the Flemish Innovation Cluster Paving the Way to Better Health. Her diverse and rich career spans molecular biology, science communication, and entrepreneurship, bringing a unique blend of scientific acumen and business expertise to the healthcare innovation landscape. Her journey from a molecular biologist passionate about unraveling genetic mysteries to a visionary entrepreneur who founded Turnstone Communications exemplifies her adaptability and forward-thinking approach.

Throughout her career, Ann has demonstrated an exceptional ability to bridge the gap between complex scientific innovations and diverse audiences while navigating the competitive tech industry with empathy as her guiding principle. Ann states, “My current role as CEO at MEDVIA underscores my lifelong commitment to driving innovation and making a lasting impact on the healthcare sector. It is something I have always been passionate about, and have therefore made a focus of my career. I have made sure that no matter what positions I choose, they align with my dedication to continuous learning and growth.” This commitment is what has helped position Ann as a dynamic leader poised to lead MEDVIA to new heights in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

MEDVIA: Inclusive Governance and Collaborative Community

Established in 2021, MEDVIA has rapidly become a prominent entity in the Belgian healthcare innovation landscape. This organization operates as a unique public-private partnership with the regional government of Flanders, with a core mission to expedite the global adoption of healthcare innovations. Its primary focus is on nurturing lasting value for health tech pioneers worldwide.

What distinguishes MEDVIA is its ability to bring together a diverse array of stakeholders within the healthcare and health tech sectors. This inclusivity is embedded in its governance structure, characterized by trust and mutual respect among its 135 dedicated members. Despite the challenges posed by such diversity, MEDVIA has successfully nurtured a close-knit community deeply committed to strategic collaborations. These initiatives originate from member-driven dialogues aimed at addressing international healthcare innovation challenges head-on.

MEDVIA’s significance is further highlighted by its pivotal role in helping health tech innovators secure crucial funding. The organization strategically deploys regional grants earmarked by MEDVIA, serving as stepping stones that facilitate access to additional funding from international sources.

Additionally, MEDVIA serves as a vital platform for further developing the healthcare innovation ecosystem in Belgium. It builds upon the strong foundations laid by the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors while harnessing the innovative potential of startups, scale-ups, hospitals, and research institutes. MEDVIA’s comprehensive approach ensures that it plays a central role in shaping the future of healthcare innovation in the region and beyond.

Catalyst for Global Healthcare Innovation

Ann Van Gysel plays a multifaceted role crucial to the organization’s early growth and development. Her responsibilities include team building, strategic formulation, and establishing strong foundations for the company. At the core of her leadership is a mission to create a sustainable institution that meets the unique needs of its members and promotes the global adoption of healthcare innovations, with a primary focus on fostering enduring value for healthcare pioneers.

Ann’s leadership draws from a diverse skill set she honed in her previous roles as a researcher and entrepreneur. At MEDVIA, she adeptly integrates these skills to drive MEDVIA’s overarching mission forward.

One of the most notable aspects of Ann’s tenure has been the rapid influx of innovator-entrepreneurs into MEDVIA’s community. Under her guidance, membership has doubled in less than a year, now comprising a dedicated cohort of 135 members. Ann finds inspiration in their steadfast commitment to collaboration as they actively participate in think tanks, engage in working groups addressing patient and healthcare institution needs, and collectively strive to pioneer innovations that enhance patient care.

Ann’s role as CEO marks the beginning of an exciting journey to accelerate global healthcare innovation and position Belgium as a leader in HealthTech Innovation, in Europe and internationally. She remains confident that, alongside the passionate members of MEDVIA, the company will consistently push the boundaries of what is achievable in healthcare innovation on a global scale.

Foundational Principles of Team Building at MEDVIA

Ann Van Gysel believes that building a great team at MEDVIA relies on a foundation of shared mission and purpose. She recognizes that every team member is crucial, driven by the potential impact they can have on health tech entrepreneurs and society as a whole. This shared sense of purpose forges a cohesive bond among team members, motivating them to work toward common goals.

Diversity and inclusion are also central to Ann’s team-building philosophy. She values assembling a team with diverse skills, backgrounds, and perspectives, understanding that this diversity fosters creativity and innovation, which are essential qualities in the rapidly evolving field of health tech innovation.

As the team leader, Ann provides clear direction and leadership. She leads by example and ensures that the team comprehends and aligns with the organization’s strategy and vision. Clear leadership is essential for effectively guiding the team’s efforts toward achieving their shared objectives.

In terms of motivation, Ann recognizes that it stems from a shared sense of purpose. When team members believe in the mission and see the positive impact they can make on health tech entrepreneurs and society, they are naturally motivated to excel in their roles. These approaches collectively contribute to a motivated and high-performing team at MEDVIA.

Promoting Gender Equality in Business

Ann Van Gysel advocates for a modern approach to gender equality in business. Over 50% of her team consists of women. She views this as both a moral imperative and a strategic requirement. Understanding that diverse teams, including women, foster innovation and yield better outcomes, Ann is dedicated to establishing an inclusive workplace culture at MEDVIA. Her proactive approach involves launching a comprehensive program that includes mentorship, leadership development, and support networks for women. She recognizes that promoting equal opportunities and empowerment is crucial, aligning with the growing recognition in the business landscape that diversity serves as a catalyst for success.

A Balanced Approach to Work-Life Harmony

Ann Van Gysel’s dedication to achieving a healthy work-life blend is essential for her overall well-being and her ability to excel in her demanding role as CEO at MEDVIA. She employs several key strategies to ensure she remains rested, healthy, and capable of performing at her best.

Physical activity plays a central role in Ann’s well-being routine. Despite a knee injury that necessitated adjustments to her exercise regimen, she has adapted by working with a personal trainer to maintain physical fitness. This not only enhances her physical health but also provides structure and enjoyment to her routine, contributing to her overall vitality.

Connecting with nature is another crucial aspect of Ann’s well-being strategy. Spending time outdoors allows her to find solace and inspiration. These moments in nature serve as a means of recharging her energy and gaining valuable perspective, which can be especially beneficial in a high-pressure role.

Ann places a strong emphasis on quality time spent with loved ones. Prioritizing moments with family and friends is a vital component of her work-life balance. These relationships bring joy and emotional support, reminding her of the importance of maintaining equilibrium between her professional and personal life.

Empowering Women Leaders: Ann’s Guiding Principles 

Ann offers valuable advice to women aspiring to be leaders, drawing from her own leadership journey. She stresses the importance of self-confidence, encouraging women to believe in their abilities and acknowledge the unique perspectives and skills they possess. Ann also highlights the value of setting ambitious goals. She states, “Don’t be afraid to set high aspirations for yourself. Set clear, ambitious goals and work diligently toward achieving them. Ambition is a powerful driving force.”

Continuous learning is another key aspect of Ann’s advice. She acknowledges the ever-evolving nature of the business landscape and urges aspiring leaders to commit to lifelong learning and personal development, advocating for the acquisition of new skills and knowledge.

Additionally, Ann encourages aspiring leaders to advocate for their own advancement, ensuring that their achievements and contributions are recognized and appreciated. She also emphasizes the role leaders can play in promoting diversity and inclusion within organizations, using their influence to champion equal opportunities for all.

Maintaining a work-life balance is a critical aspect of Ann’s advice, highlighting the importance of prioritizing well-being and overall health. Finally, she stresses the significance of leading by example, embodying the qualities and principles that one admires in leaders, including integrity, empathy, and a commitment to ethical leadership.

Ann’s comprehensive guidance serves as a roadmap for aspiring women leaders, offering insights on how to navigate their leadership journeys with confidence, resilience, and a dedication to making a meaningful impact in their respective fields.



Also Read: The 10 Empowering Business Women Leaders of 2023

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