Paying it Forward with Yourgene Health CEO, Lyn Rees
By Bruntwood SciTech
Lyn Rees joined Yourgene Health as CEO in 2018 and has since led the group through five years of unprecedented growth, including four strategic business acquisitions and their rapid expansion over the course of the pandemic.
As a seasoned executive in global healthcare and IVD markets, with an impressive background as Group CEO at British Biocell International (now BBI Group), we decided to sit down with Lyn and ask him to share more about the lessons he’s learned throughout his career. He also shares the advice he’d give to other business owners navigating a sudden period of business growth.
How has being a CEO challenged you either professionally or personally?
Everyday is a challenge! I am accountable to everyone in the company. It’s like being a parent of all our employees. The CEO role can be quite isolated as I am the last point of accountability for customers and stakeholders. I have to keep all the team below me motivated, informed, focused and delivering to plan.
What's been your biggest learning from this challenge?
To listen. Without a doubt, listening is the most critical thing for me. CEO’s are often very confident extroverts with large egos. With all their experience, it’s easy to be single minded about the direction of travel. But listening to your team, your employees, your partners, your customers and reacting to the feedback will enable you to drive the business forward successfully.
What advice would you give to a CEO/Founder who is leading a company through a sudden period of business growth?
There’s a tightrope to walk between investing for growth and being conservative. It’s a careful dance to make sure we take advantage of the opportunity to grow, but don’t overextend ourselves amid uncertain market conditions. My advice would be to plan and continue to look to the future growth strategy. Don’t get absorbed in today - true leaders are always planning for tomorrow.
Data suggests that women are less likely to put themselves forward/be promoted to senior leadership positions within the life sciences sector, what's the key to creating an environment that empowers female leadership in order to combat this?
At Yourgene, we back talent, not gender. I’ve been lucky enough to have an organic equally balanced senior leadership team here and throughout my career. Creating a great empowered culture where women (and men) can thrive has been my focus, rather than specifically focusing on the gender aspect. A culture that is open, clear communication channels, transparency and creating an environment where there is no bad idea.
I want to create a culture where it is safe to fail. This is crucial because learning happens through experimentation, and experimentation often results in failure. You can learn more through failure than success.
Now that you've moved to your new Global HQ at Manchester Science Park, what are you most excited about for 2023?
We are so excited to be back under one roof working together and where we began our growth journey. The business first took up space in the Greenheys building at the Park with just two desks, and has now grown to a 160 strong team taking over 43,000 sq ft. of office and laboratory space. So it’s all about re-engaging with the culture that COVID tried to destroy; collaboration between functions and always striving to improve communication. The facilities at our new HQ are something we are very proud of and it is all part of our goal to make Yourgene a great place to work.