An exceptional leader and contributor to innovation in global companion animal health, Lousie Grubb is a serial life science entrepreneur with a track record for success. Here she shares her best business advice, the accomplishment she’s most proud of and why it’s important to like what you do.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! The thought of being able to bring my ideas to life in a business always appealed to me.
In college, I studied… Nutrition and Dietetics which gave me a great foundation in medical science and from
there, the ideas for businesses started to form.
My most formative work experience was… behind the counter in my dad’s retail shop in Waterford where I learned how to deal with people, money and most significantly, the importance of sales. I probably didn’t appreciate the impact this would have on my career journey until later, as at the time, it was just a family chore!
My first real job was… as a Dietitian in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin. I like sharing that with people as it illustrates that careers are long and varied and you can always switch direction and change if you have a passion for something new.
The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was… you have to like what you do in order to get satisfaction from your work. If you’re not feeling challenged and excited by your work, it’s important to review and seek out a change.
My main responsibility in work is to… first of all, come up with the initial concept and once this is defined, my role is to inspire my team and manage our resources.
Do you have a career mentor or someone you look up to/seek advice from?
I recently joined a peer network which I find really helpful for sounding out issues and I regret not building that support at
an earlier stage of my career.
The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far is… starting my first business where I used a €10,000 personal car loan and guarantees to fund initial research and product development. But once I had the prototype and business plan I was able to bring in outside funding.
I wake at… 7:15am usually.
The first thing I do every morning is… switch on Newstalk.
My morning routine is… try get to the gym as many mornings as possible before opening emails and starting the workday.
I can’t go to work without… my first cup of tea.
I travel to work by… car, which is a 15-minute drive. We work remotely two days a week so the car doesn’t usually get out those days. I really appreciate not having a long commute to work – something that is a real priority for me.
On an average workday I… try check in with all my team and, when in the office, often have back-to-back meetings to keep in touch with all aspects of the business. I use the days I’m working from home to catch up on reviewing documents, writing presentations and research.
I start my working day at… 8:30am.
The first thing I do at work is… sort through urgent emails and make my list of tasks for the day.
I usually spend the first portion of the day… planning my calendar, sorting out travel arrangements and dealing with any urgent issues.
I break for lunch at… if in the office, I generally have a sandwich around 12:30pm and use the opportunity to have casual catch-ups with some of the team. I’m usually not organised enough to bring a lunch, so it’s a takeaway sandwich at the coffee bar.
The most useful business tool I use every day is… my notebook. I keep updated to-do lists and notes from all my meetings in an A5 notebook which I generally have in my hand with my phone wherever I am, and I often refer to old notebooks for contacts and dates.
The best part of my day is… working through projects with my team. I feed off the energy we generate as we try to solve the problems of that particular day and welcome the copious cups of tea or coffee we use to break up the meetings. In fact, one of the best-used tools in the office is the kettle! There are many ad hoc conversations waiting for the kettle to boil that change the dynamic of a challenge as well as the opportunity to have casual conversations not important enough for a zoom call but very important for checking in with team members. This was something I so missed during Covid.
The most challenging part of my day is… keeping my energy levels up as I go from meeting to meeting. Everyone on the team deserves my attention and it can be difficult not to get distracted when there are other major issues on my mind.
I know it’s been a good day if… I have completed most of my daily checklist and spoken with each of the leadership team.
I usually end my day at… 5pm.
I switch off from work by… I try not to work after 6pm so I can focus 100% on my family and don’t read late emails unless I’m expecting something urgent.
Before I go to bed, I… check my schedule for the next day, add anything to my checklist that’s on my mind and then read a fiction thriller to completely take my mind off work.
I often prepare for tomorrow by… laying out my clothes and packing my work bag the night before.
After a long work week, I destress by… playing tennis with my group of friends which always involves coffee afterwards. I’m lucky to live beside a beautiful beach which I walk along as much as possible to clear my head while listening to music or podcasts.
The accomplishment I’m most proud of is… I have a fabulous grown-up family of which I am most proud. Despite the long hours working in start-up businesses, I managed to make time for them as much as I could and now have the privilege of great relationships and their continuous support.
If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is to… just start! If you have a business idea or innovation you should tease it out, work through a business plan, speak to as many contacts in the industry as possible and take a chance. The worst that can happen is you end up back where you started but you have the satisfaction and the learnings from having tried.
I’ve just finished working on… a business Q1 Scientific which I started in 2013 and sold to a US pharma company in June of this year. I am now CEO and co-founder of TriviumVet, a veterinary drug company where we develop new treatments for diseases in dogs and cats. We are excited about our first product launch next year after five years of research and development. I am so proud of my team who has developed novel treatments from our base here in Waterford which will be used to treat animals worldwide.