BIV is proud to recognize Benjamin Thiede, senior director of business development and licensing at STEMCELL Technologies, and 39 exceptional business leaders with 2022 Forty under 40 Awards.
Each recipient is featured in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine, and will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 22. Profiles of each award recipient – originally published in the magazine – will be available at biv.com in the days ahead.
Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?
My parents and grandparents. Somehow my parents managed to raise three children and work full-time while my mom studied for her PhD part-time.
What drives you?
I’m passionate about playing a role in transforming scientific discoveries into real-world solutions that make the planet a better place.
A favourite book you would recommend?
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss; Scaling Up by Verne Harnish; and Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas.
Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?
I want to keep learning, grow professionally and continuously seek – not run from – challenges. Further, I would like to be a positive role model for my sons.
What was your childhood career dream?
In third grade, I read an obscure book that led me to want to be a geneticist at a biotech cloning dinosaurs. As I got older, I focused on the practical part of this dream and have always strived to stay close to scientific discovery.
What was your toughest business or professional decision?
When I was making my career transition from academia to industry, I thought I needed a law degree to get to where I wanted to be. Right before enrolling, I decided instead to move to Vancouver and take a chance both on myself and on an exciting up-and-coming biotech.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
I suppose if I was the gambling sort I would say to put some money on the 2021 Milwaukee Bucks. But really, I’d say keep learning, keep exploring your creative pursuits, never be afraid to try something new and embrace change.
What is your best habit?
Active listening and interjecting humour into the right situations.
Tell us one improbable fact about yourself
The first date I had with my wife was a blacksmithing lesson. We were terrible but had the time of our lives. When it was time to propose I thought it’d be cute to forge a ring. The resulting slag was so hideous I went the traditional route.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Never underestimate the value of seeking out and cultivating relationships with experienced mentors.
What career highlight are you most proud of?
Being senior director of the business development and licensing group at STEMCELL Technologies, where I work with a fantastic team focused on bringing cutting-edge technologies into the company and partnering with biopharma companies that will use our products in the clinic.