How She Got There: Bethany Edwards, Founder & CEO of Lia Diagnostics

Name: Bethany Edwards
Job Title and Description: Co-Founder and CEO, Lia Diagnostics
College Name/Major: Master’s Degree in Integrated Product Design from the University of Pennsylvania/B.A. in Advertising from Temple University
Twitter Handle: @MeetLia and @bethanyaedwards
Instagram Handle: @MeetLia and @bethannedwards

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

BE: Co-founding and running a start-up does not come with a typical day. That's the fun and challenge. It often means continually walking the line between the two. I’ll give you a very timely example. This week, from Sunday afternoon till late Thursday night, we did a pretty intense video shoot. The entire team was involved from start to finish––8 a.m. till 9 p.m. As a start-up, you always have to do more with less. So we wrote the script, we videoed, we directed, we even built several props. It was truly all hands on deck and I'm proud of that. There's something so invigorating, tiring, and satisfying about founding a company. Those three things, that's what makes up a typical day. 

What is the best part of your job?

BE: Problem-solving and building something truly unique alongside our passionate and growing team.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

BE: My first, full-time job out of college was at an advertising agency. I put my portfolio together with a girl who graduated with me. We had scheduled a meeting with someone at the agency simply to get advice on our “book.” We stayed up all-night cranking on our portfolio. I remember going to the meeting looking like I stayed up all night, disheveled hair and I sure didn't dress like I was going to an interview. We just wanted feedback. After flipping through our work, we got our feedback: “You can either make these changes and get a job at a top agency in New York or you can have a job here starting tomorrow.” We got in the elevator, doors barely closed, and we immediately started cheering. Our boss later teased us about hearing us celebrating. 

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable? 

BE: "Entrepreneurship is a journey, not a race." [and], "Always have two deals on the table."

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

BE: Not vetting vendors enough, and not cutting ties sooner when it wasn't working. We now do more traveling to physically go see facilities and meet with people in person. Being more OK with trusting my instincts.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

BE: Being selected as a U.S. delegate and attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Meeting one of my most recent investors in an Uber pitch competition (a.k.a. pitching our company during an Uber ride).

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

BE: A willingness to want to build and a tenacity to do the work required. Someone who is a team player, a hard worker, and is self-motivated. 

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

BE: Don't feel limited by the title of your degree. Seek out opportunities to learn by doing. And don't underestimate the value of networking and meeting with people in person.

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

BE: The designer in me is a sucker for well-designed, geometrically arranged resumes. Those always stand out to me. That level of detail and the challenge involved in arranging complex information in a way that will appeal to the person reading it. 

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