Elyse Stoltz Dickerson is CEO and Co-Founder of Eosera, Inc., a female-led biotech company committed to developing innovative products that target under addressed healthcare needs, specifically in the ear care industry. Eosera currently has products in over 28,000 in store and online retailers nationwide, with additional major drugstore chains in the near term pipeline. Their three-year total revenue growth was 657%.
Prior to Eosera, Dickerson served as the Global Director at biotech company Alcon, where she managed portfolios with annual revenues of $1.7 billion and drove product innovation and the commercialization of numerous technologies across the globe.
Dickerson is the recipient of numerous industry awards, as well as for service and leadership, including being named one of the Top Women in Health, Wellness, and Beauty by Drug Store News in 2021; in 2020, PharmaVOICE named her one of their top 100 in entrepreneurship; Dallas Business Journal tapped her as Most Inspiring Leader; and Fort Worth Inc named her Top 400 Most Influential People, among many others. Most recently, she was named an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Central Plains finalist.
With over two decades of experience leading teams in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, Elyse shares her learnings and expertise in pieces she’s authored for outlets such as Women of Influence and Global Connections for Women and as a Forbes contributor on the topic of how women can succeed in business, specifically in STEM. She subscribes to the Conscious Capitalism style of leadership with all of her professional ventures, putting the needs of customers, employees, and retailers first with every business decision.
A resident of Fort Worth, Texas, Dickerson holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Additionally, she completed The Integral Leadership Program and The Advanced Leadership Program at the Stagen Leadership Academy.
Where did the idea for Eosera come from?
I’ve always had a passion for biotech and wanted to create a company that would make a tangible difference to people on the health and wellness front. Before starting Eosera, I talked to countless doctors about the most underserved healthcare issues that they came across, and the answer, surprisingly, was ear care. The at-home ear health industry had been stagnating for years, and there weren’t enough over-the-counter products that people could use to relieve the pain and discomfort that was far too common. Based on my previous experience, I was confident that if I worked with the right people, I could create a company that would change the ear care space for the better.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I always start my day early with a workout. It helps me get mentally and physically prepared for the day, as well as gives me time for myself. I head to the office around 8 and get some emails done before a full day of meetings. I meet with my team to problem-solve issues that need to be worked out, and make sure we’re all in a good place. Lunch is touch and go most days – I often have lunch meetings with other female entrepreneurs, interviews, or working lunches, or I catch up on emails and eat lunch in my office. Once a month, we have lunch as a team and catch up with each other, making announcements, sharing good news, and hanging out. Next, pitching to retail buyers is a big part of what makes Eosera successful, so preparing for those meetings and keeping up with relationships I’ve already established is important. I have a hand in a lot of aspects of the business, from financials, to marketing, to supply chain and purchasing to distribution. My team helps me make sure we’re on track to meet demand and ship out product on time. I head home from the office around 5 or 6 to spend time with my kids and husband. Making and eating dinner together is important to us, and I stay unplugged while I spend time with them. Since I wake up at or before 5 am, I am usually in bed by 8 or 8:30 to get enough sleep to do it all again the next day!
How do you bring ideas to life?
One of the best ways to bring ideas to life is to work with people who come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a range of experiences. For example, when I started Eosera, I made sure to partner with doctors and scientists who had extensive backgrounds in creating the types of products I wanted my company to provide. I had a strong vision and knew what I wanted, and the best way forward was collaborating with people who brought their different strengths and knowledge to the table.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m very excited by the increased emergence of technology in the medical field. It makes it so much easier and more efficient for people to get the care and treatment they need. I also appreciate the fact that there’s more options now than ever before for people to get treatment from home, whether it’s a telehealth doctor’s appointment or therapeutic product that can be shipped to your door.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I make learning about my industry a constant habit. I never want to feel like I’ve reached the pinnacle of knowledge, because I don’t want to miss areas of growth for my company or different directions we can take. Additionally, I made it a habit long ago to practice time blocking. It increases productivity and helps me avoid multitasking, which researchers have proved is less effective than we think.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself that it’s okay to ask for help, you can’t do it alone, and sometimes what seems like the worst thing (getting fired) can actually be an opportunity to reroute yourself to do better things (become an entrepreneur).
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Cycling 100 miles at a time is fun!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I make sure to consistently invest in my relationships, whether that be with investors, customers, retailers, or local doctors. It’s important for me to regularly reach out to people I’ve made connections with in the past, as I want them to know that I value their contribution to Eosera, but also that I see them as a person outside of their association with the company as well. I believe this fosters a strong sense of trust and community, and ultimately makes others more likely to want to continue working together.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Since Eosera began, we’ve been very diligent about analyzing the industry to determine how we could fill the holes in the market. Many of our products are the first of their kind, and they each solve tangible problems that previously didn’t have clear remedies. For example, many earwax removal solutions on the market aren’t appropriate for children, so we crafted a different type of formula that would satisfy their needs. As we’ve grown, we’ve continued to audit our industry and think critically about what key problems need to be addressed.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It’s true that pivoting quickly is easier when you’re small and it’s helpful to do to keep up with demand and market trends. However, pivoting too quickly can lead to unwanted consequences you didn’t think all the way through. There have been times when we’ve made decisions as a team because the pressure was on, when in reality there is strength in pausing, weighing your options, and thinking over the repercussions. Some of the negative consequences from hastily-made decisions, or pivoting too quickly, could have been avoided. But, of course, hindsight is 20/20, right? You overcome these failures by pushing through, accepting reality, and triaging to make sure things don’t get any worse. Dwelling on the past or mistakes doesn’t do anyone any good. Find solutions, find grace for yourself and others, and move forward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An app with a virtual closet with images of all your clothes loaded in. A stylist sends you images of exactly what you should wear for each day or event in the upcoming week – down to the jewelry, shoes, and lipstick color. The closet is accessible on your phone and outfits are styled and re-styled to keep up with the fashion trends. When making so many daily business decisions, simplifying the everyday smaller ones could be a huge help!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently, I spent $100 dollars on a baby gift for one of our manufacturing employees. The reaction on his face gave me chills. He said, “no one has ever done anything like this for me in my life.” The gratitude was palpable and I was speechless.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Canva. It’s magical. I’m able to create anything I can think of in a short amount of time, making it look professional and consistent with our brand.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph is a book I just finished. The Netflix founder’s story exposes the truth of how hard it was to build Netflix into what it is today and how close it came to not happening. It’s a book about perseverance and the vital need for self reflection.
What is your favorite quote?
“This too shall pass.” It reminds me that the bad times never last, and in that same turn, neither do the good times, so soak up every minute and be present because time will pass either way.
- Invest in relationships with the people you’re working with
- Stay curious and never assume you know everything about a business or industry
- Accept that failure will be a necessary part of the process
- Surround yourself with people who know more than you, or at least bring different areas of expertise to the table
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.