eLABorate Topics

Hosted ByLona Small, Stephanie Whitehead, & Tywauna Wilson

Leadership and Technical Strategies for Medical Laboratory Professionals to excel inside and outside of the lab.

Episode 21 – From Medical lab Scientist to Entrepreneur ( Unika Alexander)

 In this episode of the Elaborate Topics Podcast, Lona Small interviews Unika Alexander, a medical lab scientist turned entrepreneur. Unika shares her journey from working in the lab to co-founding Proficient Lab, a SaaS platform coupled with consulting services for laboratory training, competency plans, and compliance management. 

Unika is the co-founder and CEO at The Proficient Lab, a training and competency management software. Her laboratory career has focused on operations and R&D in the IVF and reproductive tissue banking areas. She has a master’s degree in biomedical science, from Eastern Virginia Medical School. She is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist licensed by American Society of Clinical Pathology with 12 years of experience in reproductive medicine.

Unika’s passion for training and competency stemmed from the frustration she experienced in various labs where training was either non-existent or inadequate. Recognizing the crucial role of training and competency in maintaining a quality system and ensuring patient care, Unika embarked on a mission to bridge the gap in the industry.


There are a few points Unika brought out about her journey, and lessons we can get from them. Listen to the full episode to learn more.


·      The importance of having a robust training and competency program

By prioritizing training and competency, you create a culture of quality and patient safety, continuous improvement, enable employees to perform at their best, and position your organization for long-term success.


·      The importance of having a mentor who believed in her potential and pushed her to take on more challenging roles
Finding mentors or coaches who can guide and support you in your journey can be invaluable. They can provide valuable insights, help shape your vision, and offer encouragement along the way.


·      The importance of her being honest, open, and confident about her goals as an entrepreneur.
 Clearly defining your objectives and being confident in your abilities can help you navigate new paths with purpose and determination.


·      Making the most of her time: Transitioning into new paths often requires balancing various responsibilities. Unika mentions utilizing her subway commutes for strategic thinking. 
Finding pockets of time throughout the day and making the most of them for productive activities can help you move forward on your entrepreneurial endeavors.


·      Success is not a linear journey. It often involves overcoming roadblocks and facing challenges. 
Embrace the ups and downs, learn from failures, and stay focused on moving forward, one step at a time. Persistence, adaptability, and a growth mindset are key in navigating the entrepreneurial path.


Unika left 3 other tips for the audience:

1.     Prioritize training and competency. This not only helps with regulatory requirements, but saves money, saves time and saves lives.

2.     Believe in yourself. Never think that you don’t have the power to speak up. 

3.     You belong!

Listen to the full episode for  great insights you can apply, to improve yourself and your lab’s training and competency goals.


You can connect with Unika on LinkedIn at   Unika Alexander, MSc, MLS (ASCP)

Contact The Proficient Lab at theproficientlab.com


Call to Action

You can reach Lona Small directly at lonasmall@lonasmall.com 
 You can also catch Lona on LinkedIn under Lona Gordon Small and follow hashtag #YouAreAnEqualPartOfTheWhole.


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