FORTUNE -- For the first time since the FDA came down hard on 23andMe for marketing its DNA tests without proper approvals, founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki spoke about "the big challenge," as she called the firestorm, in an exclusive interview with Fortune.
"We failed to communicate proactively," Anne Wojcicki told the Fortune audience of 100 women leaders. Now scrambling to comply with the FDA's demands, Wojcicki has stopped advertising 23andMe's $99 DNA test kits. Meanwhile, she's facing a class-action lawsuit that claims that her company's ads are misleading and the results of its genetic tests aren't supported by scientific evidence.
23andMe has plenty of financial backing to weather this storm: $126 million in funding from Google, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, among others. Nonetheless, this is a seriously tough period for one of Silicon Valley's rising star entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, Wojcicki separated from her husband, Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The couple has two children.
Elder sister Susan and their mother, Esther, who was in the audience Tuesday evening, are offering helpful advice. To solve any problems, Esther told her daughters, you need to break them down: "Big challenges are an accumulation of small challenges," Anne said she learned from her mother.
Susan Wojcicki sympathetically noted that the genetics industry is a lot like the Internet was 15 years ago—a Wild West where the rules are newly forming and pioneers are constantly scrutinized. "In some ways, both companies [Google and 23andMe] are doing things that have never been done before," Susan said.
For more on 23andMe's FDA challenge and my exclusive interview with the Wojcicki sisters, read my colleague Michal Lev-ram's post here.
The boardroom is the last glass ceiling--where women are not making decent gains. Fortune 500 directors weigh in on what to do about it.
At a time when colleges are graduating significantly more women than men, barely 17% of Fortune 500 company directors are female, and progress has stalled for the past seven years. This doesn't make much sense.
One well-known corporate director stirred the pot last week, playing provocateur as I MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 26, 2013 11:20 AM ET
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and six other star powerful women make Fortune's Businessperson of the Year list.
Elon Musk, one of the greatest disruptors in tech since Steve Jobs, is Fortune's 2013 Businessperson of the Year, announced this morning. Musk is the innovator behind three major startups: Tesla Motors (TSLA), SpaceEx and SolarCity (SCTY). An audacious, tenacious triple threat. But another technology exec scores a trifecta that no one else in MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 21, 2013 12:16 PM ET
The Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Starbucks (SBUX) board member shares the leadership lessons she learned at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit.
By Clara Shih, founder and CEO of Hearsay Social
This October, I attended the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C., and spoke on a panel with three other women under age 40: Warren Buffett's financial assistant Tracy Britt Cool, Cinnabon President Kat Cole, and SunRun founder and CEO MOREColleen Leahey, Reporter - Nov 7, 2013 12:42 PM ET
The world's greatest investing duo talk about how they've helped each other exceed at investing--and life.
Warren Buffett and his lifelong investing partner Charlie Munger are rarely interviewed together except in front of 30,000-plus shareholders at the Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) annual meeting in Omaha each spring.
So, my recent sit-down with the two investing legends was a special event.
The new issue of Fortune features Buffett, 83, and Munger, 89 and other super-successful MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 31, 2013 11:50 AM ET
Besides acquiring 24 startups and reformulating her team at the top, Marissa Mayer has done something else key to doubling Yahoo's stock price. She has fixed a load of little problems to transform the corporate culture.
FORTUNE -- When Marissa Mayer landed at Yahoo (YHOO) as its new CEO 15 months ago, some employees told her, "There are 1,000 things you need to fix."
"It's really overwhelming when people come up and MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 22, 2013 10:33 AM ET
Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing about ideas shared and lessons learned at last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit.
First up, tomorrow: Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer, who talked about how she's turning around Yahoo—and so far more than doubled the stock price.
You'll find Fortune's 2013 MPW list and stories from the current issue here, MPW Summit coverage at fortune.com/women and the video playlist of main-stage MPW Summit MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 21, 2013 3:02 PM ET
Warren Buffett and Glenn Close brought down the house at the opening of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit.
After Senator Susan Collins and IMF chief Christine Lagarde kicked off the 2013 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C. Tuesday night with grim views of the dangers of the U.S. government shutdown, actress Glenn Close lightened the mood in high style. Taking the MPW Summit stage to disclose that she's venturing into a new phase of MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 16, 2013 6:23 AM ET
Angela Ahrendts' new job as head of Apple retail is her first gig outside of fashion. Given the Burberry CEO's digital knowhow and Apple's move toward wearable technology, it's a natural fit.
In recruiting Burberry (BURBY) CEO Angela Ahrendts to head its retail and online unit, Apple (AAPL) is acquiring a design fanatic, a digital evangelist, and a master of millennial marketing.
The move looks to be a win for Apple and MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 15, 2013 11:36 AM ET
The definitive guide to Fortune's 2013 Most Powerful Women lists, magazine stories and online extras.
Since we released Fortune's 2013 Most Powerful Women list Thursday morning, it's been hard to keep up with the many lists, charts and stories about the world's preeminent women leaders. Here's where you can find all our MPW content:
Click here to visit the homepage for Fortune Most Powerful Women. You'll see the U.S. MPW list, the MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 11, 2013 4:52 PM ET
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