How Daphne Preuss grows Chromatin, Inc. with a ‘culture of intensity’

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Daphne Preuss, president and CEO, Chromatin, Inc.
Daphne Preuss, president and CEO, Chromatin, Inc.

Private Equity/Venture Capital Backed
As the president and CEO of Chromatin, Inc., Daphne Preuss brought with her the leadership mentality of confronting obstacles from her time spent in academia as a researcher. In that field, outcomes are uncertain, questions are numerous and results vary. There, a focused leader who is prepared to execute the plan is an absolute must.
Preuss asserted this leadership when she founded Chromatin in 2000 and secured venture capital funding in 2001. Preuss was an adviser on the science side of the business until 2005 when the board disagreed over plans for the business and was ready to liquidate and move on.
Preuss took the challenge head on, resigned from her tenured position at the University of Chicago and took over as CEO for Chromatin. She knew the company lacked team integration and communication. After gaining employees’ trust and buy-in, she obtained a lucrative deal with Monsanto, one of the biggest players in the agriculture industry, and this served as the cornerstone of Chromatin’s rapid growth and success.
Preuss says her company, Chromatin, has the best leadership team in the sorghum cereal grass industry. She has attracted some of the top talent in the industry from the largest agriculture companies to join Chromatin. For example, Preuss was successful in recruiting to Chromatin a senior executive from Monsanto’s sorghum division.
She attributes talent acquisition to the company’s unique position in sorghum space, and the culture that management has created.
Employees are encouraged to challenge Preuss, and her team thrives on heated discussions to determine which steps are best for Chromatin. Her “culture of intensity” —intensity for a common goal — attracts passionate people who like to be part of something for which the sum is greater than the individual parts. This intensity drives the team to always find a path around barriers and to solve problems with the vigor the culture promotes.
How to reach: Chromatin, Inc.,