By Bethany Good
Joan Wicks is a veterinary pathologist. In this line of work, she spends a lot of time researching what causes disease. “Veterinary pathologists play a key role in getting drugs, biologics, and medical devices to market,” she explains. Veterinary pathologists assist with determining if these items are safe and effective for consumers.
Currently, she works for Spark Therapeutics in Philadelphia, a company that is involved in gene therapy for a number of ocular, neurologic, and systemic diseases. Spark is invested in the treatment of diseases like Huntington’s Disease, Epilepsy, Fabry disease, Hemophilia, Batton’s disease, and Alzheimer’s, as well as several diseases that cause blindness.
Joan is proud of all that she’s accomplished over her career. “I’ve worked on approaches for treating wounds, new approaches for knee cruciate repair, stem cell therapy for spinal cord trauma, immunotherapy for cancer, and gene therapy to stop the progression of Huntington’s disease, to name just a few. I wouldn’t trade my career path and would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Joan lives in Frederick, where she enjoys spending time with friends and indulging her passions which include road cycling, flying, doing glasswork, and spending time with her dog, Zorra. Joan has 2 grown sons, Theo and Liam. Joan is also on the board of trustees for the Student Homelessness Initiative Program (SHIP).
Currently, she is working on her private pilot license at Frederick Flight Center. “At the age of 64, I figured it was about time I pursue this passion that I’ve had for years. Better late than never!” Her passion for road cycling has taken her on multi-day rides in the western US, Europe (including some climbs up a few of the classic Tour de France climbs), and Japan. Next up, she’s going to tour Chile with her nephew this fall.
Why we love Joan
We love Joan’s journey to discovering herself and what she is truly capable of. Joan has had to start over and persevere many times in her life, and that is very inspiring to the other members of Cowork Frederick. Joan has been able to face her fears and accomplish things she never thought were possible. “I’ve wanted to learn to fly for a very long time. However, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, particularly at the tender age of 64,” she explains.
Q&A with Joan Wicks
What inspires you and keeps you going?
Continuing to learn and doing good work drive her forward. Doing good work. Quality has always been my biggest driver. Money is necessary, yes, but I want to do a good job. Also, being genuine.
Which of the guiding values defined by Cowork Frederick members speaks to you?
Resilience. I’ve needed resilience multiple times in my career. When I realized I didn’t want to work with horses. When I studied for a year for the pathology board exam and failed 2 parts out of 4 the first time through. When my husband and I sold our business, it was the start of a difficult period in my life. Friends, family and coworkers have all played a critical role in helping me regain confidence and strength to move forward again. Striving for perfection and control is wonderful, but sometimes things don’t work out, and resilience is what makes the next step happen and ultimately makes us stronger.
What is your approach to work/life?
I’ve reached the age where I can relax a bit more in terms of work. Having owned a business, I know what 70-80 hour work weeks look like. I miss having our own business, but I don’t miss the hours! I think taking the time for family and downtime is critical for better performance at work and for better health.
Why Cowork Frederick?
I studied for my pathology board exam 20+ years ago at coffee shops, the year I passed! I love being around people. However, now I need a place to work that is a bit more organized. Cowork provides that place with a way to be around people while I work, something that I’ve missed since I worked locally for our own business.
About the author:
Bethany Good is a prolific poet, creative writer, author, and storyteller. In 2019 she finally found the role she was meant to play, when she became the Founder, CEO, and “Head Wordsmith” of Good Writing Co., which provides copywriting, brand voice consultation, digital marketing, creative storytelling, and other content writing services. Bethany is a dedicated wife and mother of two elementary-aged children. In her limited free time, she enjoys cuddling with her new Boston Terrier puppy, Scout, as well as gardening, hiking, and telling neighborhood kids to get off her lawn.
About Cowork Frederick
Cowork Frederick’s mission is to be a catalyst for the success of freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs by creating ways for them to come together to work, share ideas, and support each other. Our diverse coworking community consists of people from many backgrounds and professions. We provide a work-friendly environment, meeting rooms, and the usual office amenities at an affordable price. More important, members of our coworking community benefit from a support infrastructure, a chance to connect with and help others, and a place to belong. For many, it’s just a better way to work.