Jonathan Zizzo

Women's Leadership

Eosera’s Elyse Dickerson on Risks and Rewards

She lost her job 13 years in. That's when her career took off.

Elyse Dickerson was 13 years into her big pharma career when she suddenly lost her job. She rebounded by creating a biotech firm called Eosera and securing $1.2 million in funding to launch the company’s first product: an earwax cleaning solution. Eosera now makes a half-dozen products that are sold by Amazon, Target, CVS, and other retailers.

Growing up, Dickerson struggled in school until she was diagnosed with dyslexia and received the help she needed to learn to read. She went on to get an undergrad degree at the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Dickerson is passionate about encouraging young women in their own careers, and even has an all-female staff at her manufacturing facility. She also volunteers as a mentor at Health Wildcatters, and says she gets just as much out of it as her mentees. “Everything comes full circle,” she says.

What was it like losing your job after 13 years?
“It was a low point for me, professionally and emotionally. But it actually ended up being the greatest gift. You don’t see it in the moment, but it was one of those points in life where you have a decision: I could either wallow and let it take over me or I could get right back up and start something new.”

How did you develop Earwax MD?
“We knew it would be much easier to find a hole in the market and try to fill it rather than build a product and go find a place for it. We heard loud and clear that there was an opportunity, as no one was focused on ear care.”

What’s your company’s business philosophy?
“We love capitalism, but we feel that a lot of big companies have lost their way in terms of everything being focused on making money. We believe if we focus on continuing to meet people’s needs, the money will come behind that. It’s just a fundamental way of living.”

What advice do you have for young women in business?
“If you want to have a career, you can also be an awesome parent and have an awesome family. Women need to stop feeling guilty about what we should be or how we should act. There are trade-offs, but my kids are amazing. And when I’m with them, I’m with them. And when I’m at work, I’m at work.”

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