We set out to change the way things are made with the curiosity, freedom and ingenuity that our founding team honed as artists and makers.
At MycoWorks, we constantly question and challenge the perspectives and narratives that limit us. So behind our innovative technology, there’s an equally groundbreaking team: an amazing group of people who are thinking, leading and creating in new ways.
Co-founded by a woman, MycoWorks has always recognized the paramount role of women on this journey. From scientists, engineers, product and manufacturing experts, to storytellers and sales gurus, women have been core to our mission, all the way: creating, transforming and bringing our novel technology to the world.
This month, Entrepreneur magazine recognized Sophia Wang, our co-founder, as one of their Top 100 Women of Impact 2021.
The highly anticipated annual award celebrates empowering women who are trailblazing leaders in their industries. This year, the list includes actress and entrepreneur Eva Longoria, Siete Family co-founder Veronica Garza, and Alicia Garza, founder of Black Lives Matter, among many other incredible women making world-changing impact.
Inspired by Sophia’s recognition, we are highlighting and sharing the stories of some of the powerful women working at MycoWorks.
When a spotlight shines on one of us, it should illuminate us all—it’s the way Sophia has always approached being in the spotlight: holding space for others, to create opportunities for everyone to feel heard and empowered. Thank you, Sophia!
Four women were interviewed: four women that represent four different areas of the company. We selected these women for their unique backgrounds and impactful work, and because we wanted to hear their stories, their thoughts on feminism, gender equality and how being a woman has influenced their careers.
Here’s what they shared…
Rachel Linzer, Senior Scientist, Mycology & Genomics
Alter ego: gardener or village detective in a 1930s mystery novel
Best advice: “It’s ok to take up space in the world, literally and figuratively.”
Why MycoWorks? “At MycoWorks I can use my skills to contribute to the health of the planet. I’m making an impact with my work.”
Rachel is all about discovery: asking questions and finding solutions to difficult scientific problems is her thing. After deciding on a career in biology as a way to investigate nature’s mysteries and contribute to ecological health, she became fascinated by the potential of fungi during graduate school. Earlier in her career, Rachel recalls having feelings of imposter syndrome; “as I’ve moved forward, I’ve found that making a contribution gets you a seat at the table,” Rachel reflects. Inspired by scientists and creative thinkers, Rachel also loves big books, playing music with her family, gardening and sewing.
“Gender equality must be an ongoing process. It needs to be a conscious, continuous human choice, rather than considered an achieved goal.”
“I was raised by a mother who was single when I was young. She’s my hero—the smartest and strongest woman that I know.”
Marian Farah, Production Line Lead
Alter ego: singer (even though she claims to suffer from the worst stage fright)
Best advice: “Prioritize yourself and your journey.”
Why MycoWorks? “I wanted to have an impact. Being the voice of a commonly unheard group [production workers] and giving them a platform is very appealing to me.”
A rule breaker by nature. Born in Egypt, Marian’s life has always been shaped by culturally-specific gendered biases and expectations of what her role as a woman should be. “Egyptian women don’t move away from home unless they’re married,” Marian shares. Inspired by her mother, Marian broke these cultural stereotypes by moving to another continent and honoring her desire to develop her independence and professional career. Marian’s lifelong challenge in being seen and heard has fueled her mission in life: giving others a platform and an opportunity to be heard is now her daily quest. “Losing double standards,” she says, is the missing piece of gender equality for all. “This has been and still is a struggle. An ongoing progress.” A big foodie, Marian enjoys bar-hopping and feels empowered by teaching others.
“Feminism, in my opinion, is having a voice and being respected.”
Cheryln Read, Art Director
Alter ego: having the superpower to freeze time
Best advice: “Just keep going and doing what you love. You may not get a big recognition, eventually you’ll just feel it, and that’s better than any award.”
Why MycoWorks? “I wanted to do something positive, something that made me feel good. Make an impact in the world.”
A creative eye. Fascinated by art from a young age, Cheryln’s career has been a constant quest for inspiration and creative freedom. Spending almost a decade in the advertising world, which she describes as “a male dominated industry,” Cheryln is a humble fighter for equality: “I think of [gender equality] as treating everyone with the same amount of respect regardless of their gender, background or condition.” She adds, “The things that we see as weaknesses are actually superpowers.” Inspired by her surroundings and the ability to free her mind, Cheryln enjoys nature and is a passionate runner.
“I question myself a lot. Everything I do, I question it. Preparation helps me to overcome my own imposter syndrome.”
“At MycoWorks I feel heard. It’s fun here.”
Dylan Martin, Environmental Health & Safety Manager
Alter ego: farmer
Best advice: “When something feels important to you, do it.”
Why MycoWorks? “At MycoWorks I have the chance to have an impact in the world, to align my personal values and lifestyle choices with my professional career.”
An absolute “misfit.” Challenging stereotypes is Dylan’s thing, having passed through a punk phase (piercings, tattoos, mohawk and all), she believes actions speak louder than words, and enjoys challenging others’ expectations about her. “It shouldn’t be so complicated; it’s simple,” she says, when talking about gender equality, “it is what it is, equality. Consistency.” A lifelong vegetarian, Dylan believes in hard work and enjoys the personal satisfaction that comes with helping others. Inspired by nature, Dylan loves building out things for her house and spending time with her family.
“Having a male name has helped my career, I think. They always think it’s a MAN!”
“Women are amazing, capable beings and I can’t pick one hero alone. But if I had to… I would choose myself (because WHY NOT!?).”
Sophia Wang, Co-founder and Chief of Culture
Alter ego: “I’ve got so many! A writer and an ornithologist! I could watch birds all day.”
Best advice: “More Sophia. The invitation to come forward as an active contributor to share my values, knowledge and expertise, while still listening and receiving others’ ideas.”
Why MycoWorks? “An idea is nothing without the people to make it a reality.”
Social activist and artist, Sophia finds inspiration in challenging established narratives and outdated norms. Raised in NYC, she has always been driven by culture, diversity and art in all forms. Coming from an artistic background into biotech, Sophia struggled with personal fears when starting MycoWorks, “I was always wondering, how much will people really value my input?” Inclusive by nature, Sophia thinks about feminism and gender equality in a very expansive way, “going further to look across social identifications such as ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and relation to disability and trauma—these are ways of more fully understanding people’s experience in the world.” Dancer, writer and entrepreneur, Sophia’s mission in life is “justice and liberation for all.”
“Culture is how we live and work and create together.”
“I feel inspired when I’m encountering a new idea or way of thinking that makes me want to dive deeper.”
“You can free yourself from your own limitations by exploring the core source of your fears.”
Connecting with one another starts with curiosity. Then asking questions, sharing stories and listening deeply. And this is just the beginning! We’ll continue sharing more stories of our inspiring team. Because, after all: “we are nothing if we do not have empowered, passionate people leading the way,” as Sophia says.
We’re on a journey to Grow the Future of Materials and change the way things are made. Join our growing team at MycoWorks.