Women Entrepreneurs Interviews: Katy Worrilow

By Colin McEvoy on November 4, 2014

Katy Worrilow

Katy Worrilow

After spending more than a decade researching the best environment to support the growth of the human embryo in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) programs, Dr. Katy Worrilow determined the ambient air surrounding the laboratory environment was one of the greatest negative influences in the IVF process. Worse yet: there was nothing commercially available to purify the air to the point needed to protect the human embryo.

That’s why she founded the Upper Macungie Township-based LifeAire Systems, designing and building a comprehensive air purification system to protect the human embryo. It serves not only IVF patients, but also helps protect premature newborn infants, pediatric intensive care patients, surgical patients in the OR and the elderly in assisted living settings from developing illnesses from airborne pathogens.

Katy is one of four panelists the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.’s (LVEDC) Innovation, Talent and Entrepreneurship Council will spotlight on November 19 as part of their panel event “Creating Space: How Women Entrepreneurs Succeed.”

As the event approaches, we will be asking each of the panelists a few questions about their backgrounds and experiences in the business world. Here is what Katy had to say:

LVEDC: What inspired you to go into business for yourself?

Katy Worrilow: Our patients: those couples wanting to fulfill their dream of having a family and our desire to offer them the highest level of patient care. After pulling together the finest team of physicists, chemists and engineers, we designed, built and tested a comprehensive air purification system designed specifically to protect the human embryo. Most begin their business and then collect data. We did this in reverse. As a scientist, I am driven by data and am most comfortable beginning any process with substantial data points. Once we had substantial proof of technology and overwhelming clinical data, we launched our business to share our technology with our colleagues helping those couples hoping to have a family. Starting LifeAire Systems will allow us to offer our technology to patients and staff in the IVF environment as well as in a multitude of healthcare settings. Patient care was the genesis of our technology, of our journey, and remains so to this day.

This article is part of an ongoing series about the participants in an upcoming LVEDC panel event about female entrepreneurs. See below for information about the other stories:

Creating Space: How Women Entrepreneurs Succeed
• Q&A with Kristin Holmes
Q&A with Lindsay Watson
Q&A with Katy Worrilow
Q&A with Corinne Warnshuis

LVEDC: Who has been most influential in your life and why?

Katy Worrilow: Those closest to me – my family, husband, sons, dearest friends, and scientific and business advisors and mentors – have been the most influential in my life as they represent the highest level of ethics, integrity, values and kindness towards others. Although in very different fields with varying interests and daily pursuits, they are each testaments to upholding these values with each step in their day. I feel blessed to have been and continue to be surrounded by those who are both fearless and strong in allowing their values, honor and integrity drive their daily decisions and lives.

LVEDC: What advice would you give to women who are considering starting their own business?

Katy Worrilow: Surround yourself with those whom hold the same values as you and whom can guide you as you enter the business world. Values first, always.

LVEDC: What more should be done to encourage women to pursue business leadership opportunities?

Katy Worrilow: Providing opportunities such as this event and other venues are key to encouraging and providing invaluable information and resources to other women considering business leadership opportunities. The Lehigh Valley is rich in its support of entrepreneurs and provides tremendous opportunities for all considering such a great journey!

LVEDC: What is your goal for your business in 3-5 years?

Katy Worrilow: The genesis of our company remains our #1 goal today: improved patient care. Our goal is to expand our offering of technology to our colleagues in IVF and to those helping patients across a continuum of care in the healthcare and long term care environments. We will also continue to collect as much data as possible and use all data points towards continual improvement of our technology. Continued research and development is of critical importance to our team.

Click here for more information about the upcoming panel, which celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international celebration of innovators and job creators running from November 17 to 23.

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