Ivana Szady – Marketing Communications Manager, North Shore InnoVentures
Q: How would you describe what InnoVentures does?
Ivana: I try to explain how excellent it is that somebody with a good idea and a business plan can come into a lab situation and be able to share equipment and resources provided by InnoVenutres, whether it’s accounting help, networking, or just be able to get advantages you would not think available without connections. We have people coming from overseas here that we help introduce to the US market. We are able to provide all this at a relatively low rate because a lot of our financing is through the state of Massachusetts. We obviously have competitors, but we’re constantly chasing grants and funding to keep this going. We’ve had a lot of success stories and we’re basically going on our reputation.
Q: What is your role at InnoVentures?
On any given day, it’s a good question what I might be doing. My job description entails running the office space, which could be anything from a light is out to a spot on the carpet and then all the services that we provide our companies – conference rooms, basic stuff you take for granted in an office. That’s another thing we supply for all of our members – basic office support.
I do a lot of accounting. Billing and invoicing are a big part of my job, as is customer service. I sit in the front so people tend to ask me questions, whether it falls under my umbrella or not. The InnoVentures staff isn’t large, so there’s no such thing as ‘I don’t do that.’ I’m not a lab person, but if something’s leaking in the lab, show me. I’m not going to just try to fix it, but I’ll at least get a bucket.
Q: With so many different tasks, what’s one thing that you really enjoy doing?
What’s very interesting with InnoVentures is having companies come and go. They’re all very interesting and it’s all new people. Each new company comes in with different skill sets and needs, and I try to help them along the way. I don’t know where the day goes, which means this is a good job for me because I like to be busy.
Q: What is something you don’t want to spend as much time on?
Sometimes I’m chasing down weird packages that get delivered here. That’s something I don’t want to spend time on, but ultimately it seems like everybody around here is busy. I don’t let things just sit there. Also, I sometimes get involved with something on my computer when I should really just get up and walk around more to see what’s going on around the office.
Q: How do you deal with the stress of having many different responsibilities?
I just try to be very organized. If you ever look at my desk, I’ve got a lot of “post-its” all over the place. I think it’s good for everybody if there’s some sort of prioritization. Also, it’s important to know the people you’re dealing with. After working here for a while, you know when one person asks you something, maybe they expect the answer the next day while other people ask you something every day. Maybe you’ll feel more comfortable, because you know the person, getting back to them in a couple days. The longer you work here, the more you get to know the personalities. I try to put all our incubator members first because they’re trying to do their job and sometimes when something is broken, or something leaking, or they can’t find their samples, it becomes prohibitive.
Q: What’s coming down the road?
Expansion brings many new things. I’ve already been through one expansion, so I know that it brings new clients. We wouldn’t be expanding if we didn’t need the space. I’m getting attuned to what new clients need, but I definitely end up being more of a purchasing agent during an expansion. People forget you need all sorts of things to set up sort of a new mini office. I’m buying blinds, tables, or a microwave depending on what we put in there. We’ve done it before, so I think it’ll be more streamlined this time. We can correct some of our mistakes from last build out. It’s a long process and there’ll be a constant flow of workers in here. That’s a big part of it, making sure that I communicate what’s going on and what they’re supposed to be doing. They come in and some guys know exactly what they’re supposed to do, other guys are looking to me.
Q: What’s your favorite movie or show that you’ve watched in 2022?
I was reading in The New Yorker magazine about this show called The Rehearsal and it intrigued me. It rehearses something you’ve been avoiding doing or it sets you up for success because it goes through every scenario that could happen – whether it’s a physical surrounding thing or what a person could say depending on what you’re rehearsing. I’ve only watched one episode, but I’m sort of intrigued to see another because I thought the first episode was kind of basic. I’m not sure you needed to rehearse it as much as they did, but I would say check that out.