Making veterinarians’ jobs easier and alleviating pet owners’ stress are just two of the many ways Dr. Ruth Hall Sedlak is making a positive impact at Zoetis. Her research work as Principal Scientist, VMRD Global Diagnostics, has helped revolutionize in-clinic parasite testing with the launch of Vetscan Imagyst, the first ever cloud-based diagnostics platform that uses artificial intelligence, earlier this year.
Ruth’s strong background in academic research (she holds a Ph.D. from University of Washington-Seattle in Microbiology and Nanotechnology) on topics including Genomics, DNA Sequencing, and Molecular Biology, serves as the foundation as she leads the research for Zoetis to take Vetscan Imagyst to the next level: a topic she said she’s more excited about than anything she’s worked on in the last decade.
Her love of discovery and creative problem solving aren’t limited to healthcare research. Ruth is also passionate about finding new ways to create equity in the workplace by elevating women in leadership roles. She just became President of our newest Colleague Resource Group (CRG), Women Achieving Vision, Excellence, and Success (WAVES), whose mission is to include colleagues of all genders who share the common purpose of elevating women for leadership, an important theme as we celebrate Women’s History Month.
Trailblazing women in science, such as Rosalind Franklin, who helped discover and understand the structure of DNA, have served as beacons of possibility for Ruth along her journey, and she hopes also inspire other women at Zoetis through her research work and leadership of WAVES. One of the topics close to her heart is shifting the persistent gender biases in STEM subjects. She recalled a time in elementary school when a teacher told her it was fine that she wasn’t great at the subject they were covering in math, because “boys were better at these things”. Lucky for us, Ruth didn’t buy that. Even though that teacher’s remarks were years ago, Ruth noted that even presently she sometimes hears gender stereotypes that disappoint her. She wants to continue trying to shift these perceptions by creating a supportive environment for women where they can thrive and feel confident.
“Employers like Zoetis who are committed to family-friendly policies and promoting women to leadership roles are part of closing this gender gap,” said Ruth. “I’m proud to be part of a company that fosters a culture of inclusion. Along with creating gender equality, when we change the perception that men and women both belong at the table, we’ll also attract and retain the best talent and spur innovation.”
Ruth was nominated for her leadership role with WAVES because her motivation is clear. “Ruth has a passion for enabling career development opportunities for colleagues across functions and geographies, for developing ways to engage colleagues and encourage participation, and to help everyone to realize their full potential,” said WAVES Co-Sponsor Jim Freeman, Senior Vice President, Laboratory Sciences, VMRD.
At time of publication, there were already 195 WAVES members – men and women – and it only launched this month. No microscope required to see the big ways Ruth is driving progress – in science and past the glass ceiling. We’re excited to see what Ruth and WAVES will accomplish next.