Carol Tometsko's Greatest Discovery

Using our new PEER method for telling peer advantage stories, read Carol Tometsko’s story and consider sharing yours using the same outline and maximum of 500 words.  This story is fewer than 400 words!  To review the guidelines for submitting stories, click here!

Preface

Carol Tometsko is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Litron Laboratories, which she co-founded in 1976 with her late husband Dr. Andrew M. Tometsko.   Starting this company was her husband’s dream.  Fast forward eighteen years, and their company, Litron Laboratories, was still in business, largely because they were extremely successful in obtaining government grants.  Then, in 1994 when Carol was at the airport, she received a call that Andrew had passed away.  She went back to the lab to find two employees who were as grief stricken as she was, and it was in that moment that she decided to continue to run the business. At this point in her life, Carol was still wearing a scientist’s hat and was not necessarily a business person, and while she considered hiring outside leadership to take the helm, she did not.

Expectation

In 1997, Tom Merkel, a personal friend of Carol’s, suggested she join a Vistage CEO peer advisory group. In 1995, Litron began developing and selling genetic toxicology kits, but Carol understood that she couldn’t build a company based on that approach alone.  Carol said, “We had to get involved in new areas, in exploring new genetic toxicology areas.  That’s where we were sort of stumped.”  She was looking for a group of CEOs she could talk to about her business.

Experience

Little did she know the impact the group would have on what would become the re-imagining of her company. Carol said that it was her group members who taught her the word “collaboration.”   Up until that time, her world pitted scientist against scientist in a race for who would arrive at the answer first, so she found the idea expressed by her fellow CEOs of collaborating with other scientists somewhat frightening (because of her prior university experience) but an intriguing idea for scaling the business.   It took CEOs outside of her industry sector to help her see this.

Results

Under Carol’s leadership, Litron has transformed from an organization once dependent on government grants into an international technology company, which as of 2015, provided support to laboratories in 37 countries.  Carol did so by stepping outside her company (and the world of science) to make one of her greatest discoveries – the value of peer advantage.  Carol is still a member of her group today.

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