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Vanaja Ragavan

Member Spotlight

Tell us about your position and company, scope of responsibilities, and career path to this point.  What have been the favorite parts of your career and your current position?

I am a physician who took an unusual path, first as a Medical Officer at the FDA and then as senior management in global pharma companies developing drugs for medicine. Later, I became a consultant and entrepreneur and founded my own company, which I have brought to the status to be taken to market next year. It has been an excellent ride!

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?  What would you like to share about your early family? 

I was born in India, in the southern part of a city called Madras. However, I moved to Mumbai at the age of 7 where I finished high school, college, and 1.5 years of medical school. As a high school student, I came to the U.S. on the American Field Service and spent a year in Tucson as a senior in high school. After the initial period of medical school, I moved with my family to the U.S. where I attended Harvard College, NYU Medical School. I then completed a residency in Internal Medicine (Downstate) and a Fellowship in Endocrinology (Columbia and U Penn). Five years after that I joined the FDA (see above). I have two sons and one granddaughter.

How would you describe yourself?  What would you like to share about your current family, including pets?  How do you spend your free time?

I am still working full-time as CEO of the company I founded. During my free time, I like to meet friends, see concerts, theatre, etc. I am particularly fond of opera, and I like to go to NYC to attend the Metropolitan Opera shows.

What was your proudest moment or greatest accomplishment?  What awards and acknowledgments have you had that were most meaningful to you?

My proudest moment is to take a fledging new company with no assets and grow it to the point where we will be on the market next year.

What was the most important career help or support that anyone has given you?

Many professors and physicians have encouraged me to follow my own path and develop in ways that were not traditional.

What causes or issues stir your passion?  What are the primary nonprofit organizations where you volunteer and support or which are particularly important to you?

I love music and am now involved with a wonderful music organization in Orlando called Timucua.

What are two things people would be surprised to know about you?

I used to be an equestrian and gave it up due to time constraints. I used to sail a lot but have not done that recently.

What attracted you to FEW?  How do you see FEW being of value to you – generally and specifically?

Being among interesting and like-minded women is a thrill.

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