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Aimmune female senior leaders share how they navigated leadership journey


Most women who enjoy successful business careers have had to face a few challenges along the way. And how they’ve dealt with the obstacles on their path to the top often defines their strength as leaders.

Some have faced more challenges than others, of course. Take Alicia Goodman (right), for example. Aimmune’s Senior Vice President, Human Resources faced discrimination as a young, single mom working her way through college. “What will you do with the kid?” she was asked when applying for a part-time job. As she points out, it wasn’t a question that arose when she was married, and probably wouldn’t have been asked of a man in the same situation.

Or there’s Fabiana Lacerca-Allen, Aimmune’s Senior Vice President, Compliance. As the daughter of an Argentinian politician who opposed the dictatorship that then ruled the country, she survived repeated kidnapping attempts as a child. Later, pursuing her career as a corporate lawyer, she had to travel extensively – “one million miles with United, another million with American… doing the jobs others didn’t want to do”. This meant time away from her young family, trying to balance work with her life as a nursing mom.

So where does the resilience to overcome such challenges come from?

“I’m a risk taker,” Alicia says. “I always push myself, look for new things. I pursued international experience in my career, for example, because I wanted to open my eyes to a world view. I’m someone who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

“My experiences as a young girl made me realize that I had to take my life and my career into my own hands,” Fabiana explains. “My father always advised me to have a plan. Handing the power of your worth to someone else can be very dangerous and a waste of time.”


A critical quality that both women recognize and value in each other is emotional intelligence - the ability to assess a situation fast and accurately, the instinct and intuition to know what the right thing to do is, and the courage to make tough decisions. “I surround myself with people who exhibit these characteristics in my personal life and my professional world,” Fabiana says. “Alicia sometimes has to do unpleasant things in her job and she’ll always tell people exactly what she thinks. But she does so with empathy and compassion. She’s warm and friendly. She cares.”

The admiration is clearly mutual. “I lean towards people I can learn from, and Fabiana is definitely one of those,” Alicia says. “She’s someone I can rely on totally for sound judgment and support – I never feel isolated. But while she’s very serious about work, she’s not as serious about life. Some people might be intimidated by her, but she’s actually the kindest person you could hope to meet.”

Given their respective backgrounds, it’s no surprise that they share a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). It’s not just the right thing to do, they say, it can be good for business – giving everyone a voice, respecting all views and looking at issues with different perspectives can be extraordinarily powerful.

“We’re fortunate to have a diverse team at Aimmune. Our CEO is just one of many great role models,” Alicia says. “There’s always room for improvement, though, and we’re working on that.” Fabiana agrees: “We are pretty solid on DE&I internally, and everyone is willing to do the right thing,” she says. “But I think we can do more to promote women externally, using Aimmune as an example of what they can achieve and the value they can bring to business. That’s a key focus for me.”

“Prove by doing” is Fabiana’s motto. And it pretty much sums up Alicia’s philosophy too. “Take risks!” is the advice from both. Don’t take no for an answer. Trust your gut instincts to do the right thing. And perhaps most importantly of all, stay in control of your own destiny.