Wellesley Alumna Speaks About Her Path to Entrepreneurial Leadership

November 20, 2018
Alumna Staphanie Hsieh sits with a student in Lulu Campus Center

On National Entrepreneurs’ Day, the Daily Shot spoke with Stephanie Hsieh ’89, president and CEO of Meditope Biosciences Inc., a biotechnology company she founded in Pasadena, Calif.

Hsieh grew up in New York City, but as a teenager she and her family moved around a lot due to her father’s position in the international division of a large bank. “We were living in Australia when it was time for me to apply to school,” said Hsieh.

She had never heard about Wellesley but read a student essay about the College in a college guide that convinced her to apply. “This student wrote about her experience, community, learning and growing in a community where she was valued as an individual, not just a student,” Hsieh recalled. “I said, ‘Wellesley’s for me.’”

Hsieh came to Wellesley with plans to be a doctor. She studied biochemistry and mathematics, and she also learned intangible lessons, the kinds that aren’t measured in grades. “I learned to speak up and raise my hand in class,” Hsieh said. “Somewhere along the way, my professors urged me to chase my fears down and attack anything that gives me that awful pit in my stomach. After four years, I guess it just became habit.”

After one significant conversation with a professor, she redirected her career pursuit. “He gently asked me what I liked to do and what I didn’t like, and what I thought I was good at and what I thought I’d enjoy,” said Hsieh. “I began to appreciate my true strengths and discover my ‘builder’ nature. As a biochemistry major, I loved learning the science, but I also loved writing and crafting stories, collaborating on projects, and building cross-disciplinary solutions to challenges posed to us.”

Upon graduation, Hsieh decided not to pursue a medical degree. Instead, she attended law school to study patent law. In 2013, Hsieh founded Meditope, which develops antibody-based cancer therapeutics.

She is also a member of Wellesley’s Business Leadership Council, and came to campus earlier this month to attend the 29th annual plenary for its 200-plus alumnae members, who are senior leaders in business and nonprofits around the world.

“From my liberal arts education, I learned to collect, digest, and communicate often complicated  technical concepts and diverse perspectives to investors and clients,” she said. “It was the right path for me.”

Photo: While on campus for Wellesley's Business Leadership Council meeting earlier this month, Stephanie Hsieh (right) caught up with her student mentee, Abby Yuhan Wu '19, in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center.