Lessons in Leadership with Technologist Dr. Martine Rothblatt

December 11, 2017

“What drives me is trying to make life better for more people” -Dr. Martine Rothblatt 

On December 7, more than 100 LGW Members, regional leaders, and community members gathered for an extraordinary Lessons in Leadership featuring Fortune 500 CEO and technologist, Dr. Martine Rothblatt. Dr. Rothblatt is the CEO of Silver Spring-based, United Therapeutics Corp, and the founder of Sirius XM Radio. She was recently named one of the “World’s Greatest Living Business Minds” by Forbes Magazine and one of "Washington's Most Influential Newsmakers" in the Washington Business Journal's 2017 Power 100 List.

The conversation, moderated by Richard Bynum of PNC, focused on a variety of topics including, best leadership practices when working with a diverse and talented team, the next frontier of technology and the role of personalized healthcare in the lives of millions of Americans. As a leader in business and technology, Dr. Rothblatt possesses a vision for innovation and an attitude of transparency in all aspects of her work. 

“You have to have an extraordinarily stiff fortitude, when you are breaking a mold and creating something new, the vast majority of people are going to say you’re going to fail. To be able to power through all those objections you have to have fortitude. Guiding principles you bind to your organization to keep that fortitude and keep that honesty. I hope honesty will never go out of style.”

What is unique about the professional legacy of Dr. Rothblatt, is the diversity of her business ventures, spanning from legal advocacy, to entertainment, to healthcare. Throughout all of her pursuits, there is a new lesson to be learned within her method of leadership. Dr. Rothblatt also acknowledges the importance of recruiting diverse team members. Her companies have proven successful as a direct result of her leadership style and establishment of a strong and talented team of employees working towards one clear organizational mission. 

Lessons in Leadership attendees where genuinely engaged in the discussion and a lively Q&A session as Martine shared reflections on lessons learned over time and her favorite digitals trends.

“I look at myself as a work in progress. I’ve found that the more I listen, the more I learn. Every person is a library and has so much insight and knowledge. I stop and ask each and person in the room what their opinion is and what they think before I decide what to do. That’s something that has changed in my leadership style. I would be nervous if I was looking at a leader who talked and didn’t listen to their team. Creating new technologies is difficult, creating new biologies is very difficult every scientist in my lab must be a leader.”

Dr. Rothblatt has a vision of the next frontier of technology, and that idea is linked to the engagement and participation of society. Technology and the human condition are emerging trends.  

“The power of tech is to connect everyone. We need to use tech to bring people together face to face. More face to face caring about more people.”

It is difficult to pinpoint one defining moment in Dr. Rothblatt’s career. The impact of her work has changed the way individuals experience entertainment, explore technology and robotics and strategize for a healthy and sustainable future. 

“You don’t have a to be in medical tech to have an impact on people’s lives. More people thank me for founding Sirius radio. Communication in which education is art is probably the most important medicine of all.” 

Thank you to Dr. Rothblatt for the illuminating and inspirational conversation. Also, a huge thank you PNC, our Lesson in Leadership host and sponsor. Photography by Lenzy Ruffin Photography

Read the Washington Business Journal’s recap of the event. 

Watch the complete interview here. Plus, view photos from the event here
Lessons in Leadership occurred on Thursday, December 7, 2017. 

Lessons in Leadership with Technologist Dr. Martine Rothblatt