Twist Bioscience
March 8, 2022
5 min read

Building a Company without a Glass Ceiling

International Women's Day at Twist Bioscience

As a company in science and technology, fields not known for gender diversity, Twist Bioscience is breaking the bias by building a company that does not have a glass ceiling for women.


This International Women’s Day, some of the female leaders of Twist share what they’re doing to #BreakTheBias and how it translates into a supportive and gender-diverse workplace.


Emily Leproust headshot

“It used to be that when kids were asked to draw a CEO, they would draw a man. I’m often asked about my experience as a female CEO. My business card does not say ‘Female CEO’ – it says CEO. I’m happy to see more and more women in executive and Board positions, shifting that dynamic and providing opportunities with no glass ceiling for women.”

Emily Leproust, Ph.D. CEO and Co-founder of Twist


Melissa Starovasnik, PhD Headshot

“I had a fantastic female Ph.D. advisor and the opportunity to collaborate with brilliant women in science throughout my career. Women helping women advance throughout an organization is a powerful force that includes not only promoting those at the top, but also doing the little things each day that support women at all levels to thrive in their careers.”


Melissa Starovasnik, Ph.D. Member of Twist Board of Directors and Former Vice President, Protein Sciences and Head of Large Molecule Drug Discovery at Genentech


To encourage employees to grow in their careers and expand their professional talents, Twist offers leadership and development opportunities. This includes tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 per year as well as an online learning platform where employees can refine or develop professional skills, learn new software, and explore as they plan their career growth.


Paula Green Headshot

“For a company to truly empower a gender diverse workplace, there need to be systems and policies in place that support women while also recognizing that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and offering flexibility for women of varying backgrounds at all stages of their lives and careers.”


Paula Green Senior Vice President of Human Resources


Twist offers a minimum of four months of paid leave for all employees who welcome a new child, whether by birth or adoption, and has made available to employees an expert-built educational platform to assist with fertility and family-building needs. The platform includes information on fertility treatment and fostering or adopting, as well as dedicated resources for egg freezers, egg donation, LGBTQ+ families, and solo parents. Employees at Twist are also able to work flexible and work-from-home hours.


Erin Smith Headshot

“While the life science industry is at the forefront of innovation, it is behind when it comes to gender and racial representation in leadership positions. As a woman with a seat at the executive leadership table, I believe that it’s my responsibility to make space at the broader proverbial table for more women and underrepresented persons.”

Erin Smith Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy


Xiaoying Mai headshot

“I’ve frequently been the only woman in the room where important business decisions are being made. Now that I’ve had the pleasure of serving on a gender-diverse Board for a company that values equity and inclusion, I’ve gotten to experience first-hand how effective a Board can be when it’s made up of a diverse group of people and how that drives corporate culture.”

Xiaoying Mai Member of Twist Board of Directors and Head of Private Equity, GF Investments (Hong Kong) Company Limited


Women are well represented in leadership positions at Twist and makeup 42% of the executive team and 30% of the Board of Directors. 39% of the total workforce at Twist identify as women.


Angela Bitting Headshot

“Gender diversity is a big component of environmental and social governance, but more than that, a diverse workforce makes for a better business with better outcomes. Teams with diverse backgrounds challenge each other and bring different perspectives and experiences, which drives innovation and better business decisions.”

Angela Bitting Chief ESG Officer, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs


While Twist is a leader in diversity, there is still more progress to be made, which is why Twist has committed to increasing female representation by 3% by the end of 2022 and continuing to increase diversity in the long term.


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