Cofounder and CEO, BioTeam
Stan Gloss is the co-founder and CEO of the consulting firm BioTeam. As such, he is in charge of “guiding the vision and direction of the company”, building strategic partnerships, and coaching and mentoring employees. The mission of his company is to transform the way science is done by bridging the gap between science and information technology, as the two inform each other and allow the acceleration of discovery. Stan says he has always worked as the “right-hand guy to doctors”, and is glad to be working in the industry because he is able to make a real impact. It has taken a lot of hard work paired with unique job opportunities to get him where he is, but he says, “all the experiences, when you combine them together, have led me to this position…and I don’t think it would’ve been the same had I not been dyslexic.”
Stan believes that he and others with dyslexia are well suited for general management positions because, “it’s natural for us to build teams, resource teams, achieve goals and delegate. Those things are very important in general management, and those things we learned because we couldn’t read.” Having dyslexia means having to “find ways to innovate our education, and then carry that innovation to adulthood, and it gives us a strategic advantage.”
Growing up with a learning difference was tough for Stan, as “everything was a struggle”. He was diagnosed at a time when nobody really knew what dyslexia was, so in school he was labeled as stupid and lazy. Learning in an environment that doesn’t accommodate for different learning styles is frustrating for students, and damaging to their self-esteem. Stan believes that, if schools want to help students with learning differences, “the first step is to stop labeling kids as disabled.” According to him, people with learning differences such as dyslexia tend to be naturally innovative, and there are five skills that promote innovation: “questioning, observing, networking, experimenting and associating”. If schools would focus on nurturing these skills, students with dyslexia and other learning differences could excel.
Despite the academic challenges, Stan believes there are many advantages to having dyslexia. Even the challenges themselves can be advantages, if one allows oneself to learn from them. Stan says one advantage is getting comfortable in uncomfortable situations, as school is an uncomfortable situation that students must face every day. Being comfortable with failing, too, is an advantage in the long run. Stan says, “by the time I finished 12th grade, I failed more than the average person would fail in a lifetime. So for me, the fear of failure doesn’t stop me from doing anything.” He likes to think of the word “FAIL” as an acronym for “First Attempt In Learning”. Reading with dyslexia also helps teach students how to interpret incomplete data, a skill that can be applied to many different jobs later in life. Stan says that today, he is glad to have learned all these skills from his learning difference. He says, “If there was a pill to get rid of dyslexia, I would never take it because it turns out that adversity has made me a much better CEO and entrepreneur.”
Stan has a lot of advice for younger generations with Learning Differences. Mainly, he says to “focus on your strengths, and accommodate your weaknesses”, and to remember that “accommodations are not cheating. It’s smart”. Stan himself accommodates using assistive technology that can read out loud for him, and with it he says he has read more books this year than in the rest of his life prior. Another big help is to “find mentors and advocates…adults who can see your strengths, and value them.” Finally, he wants younger generations to keep in mind that, “the only limitations you have are the ones you put on yourself.”