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Hans Keirstead, CEO of AIVITA

‘’You've got to value people, I guarantee you that every major thing that's ever happened to you is because of a person. You got to realize that you have to open yourself to them. You have to be vulnerable to them. You've got to help and reach out to them. And you will see a wellspring of productivity and change in your life.’’
- Hans Keirstead

Hans Keirstead, is a serial entrepreneur and currently the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Aivita Biomedical, a biotechnology company developing personalized vaccines for the prevention of infectious disease and treatment of cancer. He has now founded four biotechnology companies with successful exits in his previous three companies. Dr. Keirstead also holds Board positions in several prominent biotechnology companies.

Key Takeaways:

1. Hire people for their personality and potential to learn, not just for their skill set or education. Hans believes that hiring people based on their personality is more important than their skill set or education, as education only indicates the capacity to learn. He prefers to hire on an individual basis and fire based on personality, with no tolerance for sexism, racism, or arrogance. He believes that creating a stimulating and supportive environment for employees is essential, with ongoing training and opportunities for career advancement. 2. Curiosity, lateral thinking & boldness is key in solving complex problems. Hans believes in the importance of nurturing innocence intrigue or curiosity, and lateral thinking in approaching complex problems, such as cancer research. He believes that thinking outside of the mainstream and taking bold, lateral approaches to problem-solving is essential to making significant progress in fields like medicine and science. By combining lateral thinking with intelligence and knowledge, they were able to develop a cheaper and more personalized cancer drug. 3. Achieve Your Vision by Breaking it Down. Your vision can be broken down into goals, and those goals can be broken down into very small steps/tasks that the team can tackle each day to drive them toward the ultimate vision.

Topics Covered:

  • Serial Entrepreneur: Hans Keirstead, Founder & CEO of Aivita 0:00

  • The founding story of Aivita 0:46

  • Revolutionizing Cancer Treatment: Targeting Tumor Initiating Cells with Personalized Immunotherapy 2:38

  • The Origin Story of a Passionate Neuroscientist Turned Drug Developer: How a Childhood Dream Led to a Lifelong Career 6:44

  • Treating Employees Well and Creating a Successful Company Culture 8:48

  • Finding great people 10:45

  • The Power of Innocent Intrigue in Business Success 14:21

  • Taking a Vision and Turning it into Small Actionable Steps 19:35

  • Investor Value Creation 21:47

  • Aivita Long-term vision 23:41

  • Advice to other Biotech Executives 26:27

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