Jennifer Palinchik, President of JALEX Medical, is featured in an article by Smart Business, where she provides her insight into gender in the STEM field, and discusses the people who helped to influence her professional career.
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Jennifer Palinchik never had the attitude that she was a female in the male-dominated biomedical industry — and that she should act in a certain way in order to climb the ladder of success.
“I was just constantly trying to improve myself regardless of my gender,” says Palinchik, president of JALEX Medical. “Gender doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to being intelligent or having a good business sense or the scientific background to go into a room, command it and speak to your audience effectively.”
JALEX Medical works with medical device companies, hospitals, surgeon inventors and other industry professionals to offer custom services under one roof — design engineering and regulatory consulting for medical devices — to accelerate the entire path from concept to market clearance.
“We were able to add quite a few people in late 2013 and in 2014. We have grown more than 70 percent in employee count,” Palinchik says. “From a financial standpoint, we will have grown our revenue five times that of last year.”
Men have traditionally dominated the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields since the beginning, and even though there has been great support for women to follow a STEM career path, there is still a wide discrepancy. Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs, according to the Department of Commerce.
“The biggest thing that you can do is just keep moving forward,” she says.
She gives credit to her mother for encouraging her career.
“My mother was always telling me you need to get into a career so you will be able to take care of yourself and always be a strong person within yourself, and not rely on anybody else,” she says. “That always resonated with me as I was trying to decide what I wanted to do, and still does as I make decisions to move forward with my career.”
Palinchik says women hoping to climb the ladder of success should latch on to a mentor they can trust.
“If you can’t trust your mentor, it’s not going to get you very far because you’re not really taking the information or the leadership that they are providing you,” she says. “You’re almost taking it with a grain of salt — is there an alternative motive that they are trying to get across? Or is it more of a selfish thing on their part? Are they really trying to help me or are they trying to better themselves? The trust factor is definitely a priority.”
She says her first mentor while enrolled in an undergraduate co-op program was a female.
“She was a biomedical engineer investigator, and I worked for her two semesters. It was great to be a part of her group. She was very knowledgeable, intelligent, bright and respected by all of the members within that group.”