Women in Bioscience

Leanne Taylor


Leanne Taylor, a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a background in microbiology and immunology, was employed by Medicure as a Hospital Account Associate. Relocating from Ontario to Winnipeg, she gained valuable knowledge and experience during her initial years at Medicure, eventually climbing the ranks to become a Regional Sales Manager. However, her career took an unexpected turn in 2018 when she was involved in a cycling accident that resulted in paralysis from the waist down.

Despite this setback, Leanne was fortunate enough to find a new role within Medicure as a Compliance Officer, allowing her to continue contributing to the company. Throughout her personal and professional journey, Leanne has formed a deep connection with the Medicure team, who have shown unwavering support for her aspirations to qualify for the Paris Paralympic Games. Leanne is determined to represent not only Medicure but also Manitoba and Canada in Paratriathlon, an achievement that would make her immensely proud.


Q: What is it like to be a woman in bioscience? 

A: During the early years of my career, I found myself changing my behavior to better blend in with the environment that I worked in. As I gained experience in the workforce, I became proud of the unique perspective that I, as a disabled women, have to offer. This confidence I found in myself allowed others to have confidence in me. I would never have found this confidence if it were not for female role models within the community. I am thankful to those women for blazing the trail.  


Q: Who or what inspired you to work in the bioscience industry? 

A: The pharmaceutical industry can be heavily criticized by the public, as stories of cost gauging and unethical conduct gain a lot of attention in main stream media. While there are some bad apples in every industry, I know that there are organizations, like Medicure, who can achieve great success in the pharmaceutical industry while holding themselves to the highest ethical and legals standards. This is why I love to work in Compliance- so that I can help to create more positive stories and re-build trust in the industry. 


Q: Who are your women role models and not necessarily in science? 

A: Kristine Cowley is a professor at the University of Manitoba. Her research is focused on developing strategies to reduced secondary consequences and improve life quality after spinal cord injury. Researching strategies to improve quality of life is perhaps not the most glamorous work, but it creates tremendous, rapid benefits for people such as myself living with spinal cord injuries. In addition, to being a scientist, para-athlete, and a mother, Kristine took the time to mentor me following the accident that resulted in my paralysis. She served as the role model that I so desperately needed to show me that becoming paraplegic did not mean that I had to lower my expectations for my career or my life. 


Q: Do you think there are particular structural roadblocks that impede the progress of women in science?

A: For many women, their careers are significantly impacted by the choice to have children. Lack of access to resources such as maternity leave, affordable child-care or flexible work schedules leave many women having to choose whether to prioritize their family or their work. Investing more in these resources will allow organizations to benefit from their team members of all genders, reaching their full potential. 


Q: Would you say that through your career, things have become better for women working in the bioscience industry?

A: I believe that through the efforts of women and their supporters, the bioscience industry has become a better place for people of all genders. 


Q: How did you reach your level of success, given the sector’s gender gap, especially among leadership?

A: I believe in letting my work speak for itself. Demonstrating my capabilities has allowed me to gain the respect of the leadership team in my organization. At the end of the day, employers need team members that they can reply on, regardless of gender or any other personal factors.


Q:What are the biggest obstacles you had to overcome?

A: I am a female wheelchair user, and while the world is becoming a more welcoming place, when a person thinks of a strong leader, individuals like myself do not necessarily come to mind. Being unique often means that the road map to success it not as clear. To overcome this, I have learned to be myself, trust myself, and understand that not everyone will understand what I have to offer but I can partner with those that do to accomplish great things. 


Q: If you had the option to give advice to a younger version of yourself, what would that be?

A: Don't hide who you are, don't change who you are, find the people who value you, and work with them to accomplish great things. 


"Success in life comes to those who simply refuse to give up; individuals with vision so strong that obstacles, failure and loss only act as teachings"

-Silken Laumann


LinkedIn: Leanne Taylor











Subscribe to the BAM Newsletter

Sign up for one of BAM's newsletter to learn more about bioscience, happenings in Manitoba's bioeconomy, industry conferences, and BAM training events.