Dr. Leen Kawas Connects Motherhood and Leadership Skills

It’s challenging to juggle parenthood with a profession.

Dr. Leen Kawas, a pharmaceutical biotech developer and mother of two children, can attest to this.

“Becoming a mother is a difficult task.

“It’s not easy to be a parent, and it’s not easy to have a professional life,” Dr. Kawas explains.

Read more: Dr. Leen Kawas on Improving Clinical Trials to Get Quality Data

“However, parenting may improve your capacity to manage your team,” Dr. Kawas adds, “Being a mother has made me a better leader in many respects.”

Who is Dr. Leen Kawas?

Dr. Kawas is a pharmaceutical biotech pioneer who has created a promising therapeutic candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.

She is the first female CEO in Washington state to take a technology or biotech firm public, and she was one of just 22 female founders/CEOs to lead their company to an IPO as of February 2021.

She now resides in Washington with her family and is dedicated to supporting other women in the biotech industry.

Connecting Motherhood with Leadership Skills


Being a mother is a balancing act in many ways.

Great leadership also needs a sense of equilibrium.

Mothers have a greater understanding of how to balance empathy with firmness and support with independence.


When things don’t go as planned, children serve as a constant reminder to never give up.

Parenting can mold mothers into a leader who learns from mistakes and returns to the drawing board until objectives are achieved.

Focus and Productivity

Mothers need to be more focused and productive than ever.

Women often discover that they’re able to better prioritize and manage time, allowing them to return home and be present with their children.

“There are many mothering skills that translate well into the work environment,” Kawas points out.

“But there is no “correct” decision for a woman.”

She believes that women should be able to take any path they desire.

Can Being a Mother Make You a Better Leader?

Dr. Leen Kawas Talks About Her Experience

Being a woman in the biotech industry is laden with challenges as it is.

Add in being an entrepreneur and a mother, and the stakes get even higher.

However, as daunting as it can be, it’s also an opportunity in disguise for people like Dr. Leen Kawas.

As the co-founder of Athira Pharma, she was the first woman to take a company in her sector public in Washington state.

She talks more about how her time at home has made her better at work.

Staying Calm and Powering On

In a typical situation at home, Dr. Kawas must be present for her children regardless of what they’re going through.

If her three-year-old cuts off a chunk of her five-year-old’s hair, she must be prepared to calm one child and discipline another.

She must take into account their understanding of the matter before trying to impose her own justice.

If she’s not calm herself, it will be difficult to do any of these tasks with any kind of efficiency.

Thankfully, she’s noticed that the more she works to deescalate the crisis at home, the easier it is to do at work.

Resiliency at Its Finest 

Being gritty comes with the territory for mothers.

They must be persistent enough to get through tantrums and motivated enough to finish a slew of chores after even the most difficult of days.

Leaders must be gritty enough to make presentations, resolve conflict, and unruffle feathers when the chips are down.

Dr. Leen Kawas found that she can do this best when she’s in the habit of rushing from one task to another — something that she does regularly no matter where she is.

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Learn more about Leen Kawas: https://leenkawas.medium.com/