In a series of Snapshot blog posts, we are spotlighting some of our fascinating team members to give you a better sense of who we are.
This month we sat down with Lee Bendekgey, Vice President of Business Operations here at DNAnexus. Lee joined the company in June 2011, coming from Nuvelo, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company where he served as Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel. Lee earned his BA from Kalamazoo College and his JD from Stanford Law School.
Q: What do you do at DNAnexus?
A: I manage the company’s financial and legal functions.
Q: Where did you work before?
A: I’ve worked at lots of places. Probably most relevant to DNAnexus are the six years I spent at Incyte, which was one of the first-generation genomics companies. The thing that’s exciting right now is that we’re seeing the results of work that was started in the mid ’90s. Everyone expected that when the genome was sequenced, there would be all of these immediate changes to how illness was treated — and when that didn’t happen a lot of people dismissed it as hype. It’s happening and we’re seeing it now.
Q: What was it about DNAnexus that attracted you to the company?
A: I have always worked at companies whose goal was to create a new product category that addresses an unmet need.
Q: What have you learned since joining the company?
A: When I joined DNAnexus about 18 months ago, it was an earlier-stage company than any of the others for whom I’ve worked. As a result, I’ve learned how rewarding it is to make an impact on a company that is on such a steep growth trajectory.
Q: What would you do if you weren’t VP of business operations?
A: If I could do anything or be anyone, I would be Bruce Springsteen.
Q: What person had the greatest influence on where you are today?
A: My wife. I’ve had a pretty adventurous career in Silicon Valley, where there’s a lot of change and risk. It’s much easier to take career risks when you are able to go home to a person who makes you feel secure.
Q: Fill in the blank; there is probably a genetic link to _____
Q: If you could have anyone in history’s genome sequenced, whose would it be? Why?
A: Leonardo da Vinci. See previous answer.
Q: If you had your genome sequenced, what would you hope to find (or not find)?
A: I would want to find out about any health care risks that I can do something to mitigate.
Q: Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody at DNAnexus knows.
A: When I was in high school I was interested in music and theater, like those kids on Glee.