Leslie Kimerling

Leslie Kimerling - 2018 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Cofounder and CEO
Double Helix LLC., USA

Leslie Kimerling

Country of Birth: USA
Country of Residence: USA
Educational Background: BA in Economics, University of Pennsylvania; MBA, Anderson School of Management, UCLA; MA in Economics, Stanford University


My parents inspired me to think big and without bounds. I became CEO of Double Helix, a 3D imaging company, after three decades of working with innovative and interesting startups. I am excited by the prospects and challenges of bringing new technology to market and by the opportunity to add to scientific know-how.

As cofounder and CEO, I am responsible for many aspects of the business – from development of the company’s vision and overall strategy, to sales and marketing, strategic partnerships, maintaining solid finances and raising capital. While I have all this responsibility, I can only accomplish all of this through a strong, creative and capable team.

A year ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wondered if I would be able to lead a new startup and to take care of my health at the same time. With the support of my co-founder, my team, my family and friends, I found the strength to both treat the cancer and keep the company moving forward. As I continue to heal, it is a lifelong lesson in the power of community, collaboration, and tackling my fears and challenges head-on.

I had the good fortune of having experienced support when I was starting out, and my biggest take away from that early guidance is to think long term. Have a vision for where you want to go and who you want to be, allow for a lot of editing along the way, and you will be surprised how satisfying the journey will be.

To women and girls considering a career in STEM, I say: Go for it! If you like what you do and work hard at learning and mastering your craft, you will do great. Embrace the setbacks and failures that you will inevitably experience along the way. They only create new paths to more opportunity. Seek mentorship and offer it back – building and maintaining a network of female colleagues and friends will serve you well.

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