Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo Bioworks uses the most advanced technology on the planet — biology — to grow better products. Founded in 2009 by scientists from MIT, the company's cell programming platform enables the growth of biotechnology across diverse markets, from food to materials to therapeutics. Ginkgo learns from the magical properties of nature — self-assembly, self-repair, and more — in order to design with biology. Fairygodboss recently talked with Ginkgo Bioworks about what they do, what they believe as a company, and why it’s a great place for women to work.
We also heard from Ginkgo team members. They shared some of the reasons why they love working there, which include “good leadership; good, thoughtful management of the direction of the company; commitment to diversity,” as well as role models such as the company President and Chief Operating Officer, Reshma Shetty. They also cited Ginkgo’s commitment to career growth through sponsored training workshops, conference and networking event attendance support, and career and leadership coaching. The company’s unlimited PTO policy and flexibility are both highly praised by its team members.
What are its core values?
The mission of Ginkgo Bioworks is to make biology easier to engineer, which is informed by a few key values:
Growth: Guided by the example of our founders, Ginkgo team members are encouraged to be lifelong learners. We strategically hire folks with high ceilings, as we believe that you can grow as fast as the company grows.
Care: Our culture is built on care, transparency, diversity, and a deep, humble respect for biology. We care how our platform is used, strategically considering which programs we pursue and which we do not, and exploring the implications of biotechnologies through many forums, including our magazine: GROW.
Inclusion: The Ginkgo platform has great potential to have an outsized impact on the world. Therefore, we need the people building the technology to be representative of the diverse people our technology will impact.
Whimsy: Biology is weird and whimsical, and we celebrate that. We encourage a company culture infused with the wonder that science can inspire.
Their employees say:
“I love Ginkgo's passion and enthusiasm for the work that we're doing. We have a team of so many talented individuals from all over the world, and their eagerness and drive for making real change in the field of synthetic biology is always present.”
What differentiates the organization from others in this space/industry?
Rather than being limited to a particular product or industry, we want to enable the world to build things with biology. We’re creating a platform for genetic engineering to be utilized by our customers — we are tool builders.
We also know that designing nature and technology requires us to ask complex questions, and investigate how these tools could impact people, places, and systems. We care how we are growing the collective future of biology.
Their employees say:
“I love working at Ginkgo because I am contributing to the development of technology aimed at making biology easier to engineer by working on interesting scientific challenges. I get to work with so many smart, collaborative, and supportive people. Ginkgo leadership continues to be transparent with goals and decisions and to value employee input and suggestions.”
Describe 1-5 employee benefits that positively impact women who work here.
Unlimited PTO: Ginkgo offers unlimited PTO. If a flexible working arrangement or specific schedule is needed, this is something that you can discuss with your manager as well.
Family leave: There are processes in place to help set up caregivers before, during, and after birth or adoption. In addition, Ginkgo provides for 12 weeks paid parental leave for the primary caregiver and 2 weeks paid leave for the secondary caregiver.
Back-up care benefit: Ginkgo partners with services that provide urgent back-up childcare and elder care assistance.
Leadership training and professional coaching: Ginkgo provides opportunities to connect with professional coaching and counseling organizations to enhance leadership and interpersonal skills, in addition to hosting in-house training programs, like our project management series.
Event and conference funding: We encourage team members to host networking and other professional events virtually or onsite, and team members can request funding to help cover conference expenses.
Their employees say:
“Ginkgo's flexibility is always something that I've appreciated. In particular, our unlimited vacation and sick time policy has enabled me to take the time I need for myself and my family. Plus, I'm continuously encouraged by my team to take that time, which is always helpful.”
What career development opportunities can female job seekers expect from this organization? How is career pathing approached?
We believe that if you are growing professionally, Ginkgo is also growing. There are many ways team members grow at Ginkgo, including through cross-disciplinary and team-collaboration initiatives, and by engaging with the suite of training sessions we offer. Our performance review process is centered on professional development, encouraging our team members to discuss skill building with their managers. In addition, we value both technical and managerial contributors equally, and therefore both types of advancement are available in our career paths. With our commitment to transparency, the Talent Growth team provides updates on promotions and compensation multiple times a year. Not to mention, Ginkgo is in the midst of an amazing stage of growth — just this past year, we have worked to double the size of our entire company — and opportunities continue to arise for women to step into new roles as we expand.
What their employees say:
“My manager is dedicated to my professional development, and we spend a component of our weekly one-on-one meetings focusing on this. We cover topics from growth to productivity, to navigating any specific challenges that come up so that I'm able to keep moving forward with my career here at Ginkgo.”
What resources or programs have been put in place in response to COVID-19?
● Onsite COVID testing centers, with free daily testing for team members.
● Reimbursements for commuting expenses and additional child care fees taken on due to COVID-19.
● Work schedule modifications available in consultation with your manager and team.
● Lunch reimbursement for onsite team members, given that typical lunch options may be closed at this time.
● Virtual events calendar with wellness and social options. Examples include yoga, daily coffee hour with company founders, and family cookie decorating.
Why should women want to grow their careers here?
Women have an exceptional opportunity to lead Ginkgo’s mission and our vision to impact the changing world around us. Your voice carries weight here, and is an integral part of creating the systems and processes that make up the day-to-day structure of Ginkgo. Plus, it’s a fun, social place to work, and having a sense of humor is welcomed and encouraged! Our team is composed of brilliant scientists, engineers, and artists, each one of us a stakeholder in one another’s success and in the greater mission to make biology easier to engineer.
Their employees say:
“Ginkgo is a truly collaborative place where people of all genders, races, ethnicities, national origins, sexual orientations, and economic statuses can have a voice and make a difference. In my career thus far, I've never felt more empowered as a member of a team.”
Fairygodboss is proud to partner with Ginkgo Bioworks. Find a job there today!
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