Deborah Theobold's Entrepreneurial Journey and Tips for Board Leadership

Erin Horiuchi

September 20, 2020

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Deborah Theobold, CEO of Vecna Technologies was featured on WITI's Fireside Chat, hosted by Parna Sarkar-Basu, founder of Brand and Buzz Marketing. This thought-provoking dialogue explored Deborah's entrepreneurial journey - beginning with her aerospace engineering and space robotics studies, combined with her desire to create a better health care system led her to co-found Vecna Technologies over 20 years ago.

Deborah's journey, however, was not without challenges. Early in her career, while applying for Vecna to be recognized as a women-owned business, she was initially denied and faced criticism about the language she used in the application. They thought it was too communal, despite there being a clear distinction in her responsibilities vs. her husband's who was Vecna's co-founder.

"As women, we tend to use language such as 'we did this' or 'our goals are' instead of saying 'I did this or my goal is." This experience taught her the valuable lesson of speaking confidently and taking ownership of her accomplishments. After a few tweaks to her application, Deborah applied again, and was approved!

Over the years, Deborah has held various board positions, from serving on the Board of Vecna Cares, that extends Vecna's technology to developing countries and under-served areas, to serving as a board member on MassTLC (Massachusetts Tech Leadership Council) and GRIT (Global Research or Innovation and Technology). While boards have different goals - whether you serve on a corporate board or a non-profit board - Deborah offers a few tips for those seeking to serve on boards:

- Have confidence in yourself, your skills, your career, and your abilities.
- Mutual benefit is key. Be recognized as an expert and be rewarded.
- Ask for coffee; ask for a phone call. Put yourself out there and ask for what you want.

You can view their complete conversation here.

Erin Horiuchi is a marketing specialist for Brand and Buzz Marketing and WITI Boston volunteer.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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