Women in Business: Arlinda Lee, PhD, Senior Healthcare Analyst, MLV & Co

05/02/2015 07:01 am ET | Updated May 02, 2016

Dr. Lee has more than ten years of experience as a senior analyst covering Biotechnology, with expertise in fundamental research and pipeline assessments across therapeutic areas. She holds a Ph.D. in Genetics and conducted her research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory through Stony Brook University and holds a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology with a double-major in Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
As the child of immigrants, I experienced firsthand their strong work ethic, drive, and initiative. There was never really the option that something is impossible. It's important not to allow expectations for yourself, and for your life, to be dictated by convention or others. Focus on where you want to go and make your own path. Along the way, work hard and play fair.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at MLV?
I've been on Wall Street for 10 years now, half of which were at Bear Stearns and Barclays. While there is a lot to be said for stability, I think having worked at multiple places with different cultures and strategies enabled me to diversify my skills and to adapt easily. It also exposed me to a range of best practices, which is especially helpful in light of my responsibilities at MLV.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at MLV?
What drew me to MLV is that it is unusually entrepreneurial, simultaneously making it the biggest highlight and challenge of my work at MLV. It's a unique investment bank that enables a lot of opportunities that just are not present at other firms.

What advice can you offer to women who are seeking a career in finance?
Do take the time to contemplate what exactly you want out of your career and life, make 1, 5, and 10-year plans, periodically re-evaluate, and go for it! It doesn't matter what career you are going into. And I'd give exactly the same advice to men.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Frankly, it's not as balanced as I'd like it to be, but I'm working on it! There's really never enough time for everything, so it forces me to prioritize what's important and what's less so. Take advantage of the breaks you get even if it is just an hour. I'm learning to do that myself.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
There is still not gender equality. It is better than it was, but there is still a long way to go.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Having a boss and a having a mentor are not the same thing, and I consider myself fortunate in having mentors for bosses. I take my role as a mentor, and especially as a female mentor, very seriously as I prepare junior analysts for their own careers. Sadly, there aren't enough of us.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
There aren't any that I can identify. There are so few from whom to choose. That's the problem.

What do you want MLV to accomplish in the next year?
Only four years old, MLV is a fast-growing company, and we plan to grow further. As the head of healthcare research, my goal is for us to expand the number of companies we cover and the depth of our coverage. I also want to help my team become the very best.