Dr. Pamela Marrone
CEO and Founder
Chestnut Bio Advisors
AWIS member since 1990
“My success is due to resilience; overcoming challenges through determination and unwavering belief in the vision to create a more sustainable food system.”
Where do you work as a STEM professional?
I am a serial entrepreneur in agbiotech having created, led, and sold three companies that discover, develop, and market biologicals for pest management and plant health. Now I advise women entrepreneurs and founders on all aspects of their businesses.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
Who you bring into the business is critically important, whether employees, board members, or investors. They can make or break the company. They must share your values and be aligned with your vision and the desired culture.
What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?
Number one is leading the movement to a more sustainable agriculture enterprise through discovery and commercialization of effective, science-based biological products. Second is taking Marrone Bio public on NASDAQ, and becoming one of only about 32 women founders to have listed their companies on public stock exchanges.
What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why? What obstacles will you overcome?
I want to give back to help other women entrepreneurs. I also may have another startup or two in my future!
Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.
Right out of graduate school, when I was 26, I was asked to start up a new unit at Monsanto discovering natural products for pest management. I was given freedom to do just about anything I wanted, as the only entomologist (other than the famous CSO).
How has AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?
It has been a safe place to be during my long career and through all the ups and downs and challenges of being a woman CEO and founder. AWIS provided me expertise I needed as a leader in everything associated with diversity and inclusion to apply within the companies I created.
What is your favorite word?
How do you define it?
The ability to pick yourself up after difficult times and be even better than before
How has this word influenced or inspired your career, or is it a word chosen retrospectively?
Retrospectively. I have had many difficult challenges throughout my long entrepreneurial career. My success is due to resilience; overcoming challenges through determination and unwavering belief in the vision to create a more sustainable food system. A word to inspire my career is “innovation.”
How does AWIS impact your career journey?
AWIS has always been there for me. I meet amazingly talented and accomplished women through AWIS. Now I can give back to the next generation.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I am reading Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas by Jennifer Raff and listening to new music from The Weeknd, Sophie Birch, Avi Kaplan, BANKS, and Bonnie Raitt.
What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take things too personally. It’s not about you. Others think they are doing the right thing, too. Find ways to de-personalize the disagreements and attacks. Doing this helped me save my companies during monstrous challenges.
Dr. Pam Marrone is an experienced entrepreneur and businesswoman skilled at starting and building companies to a high growth stage. In March 2022, she was the first woman to receive the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success from the America, Chemical Society, one of many awards she has received. She has a B.S. in entomology with Honors and Distinction from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University. She is a Fellow of the AAAS.