The Influentials
Gail Page

Austin's healthcare visionary on tenacity and the importance of balance

Austin healthcare visionary Gail Page on tenacity and balance

Influentials Gail Page
Gail Page joins the MD Anderson Cancer Center Office of Innovation and Technology as entrepreneur in residence this summer. Photo by Jessica Pages

Healthcare visionary Gail Page understands the importance of the convergence in the health and technology sectors — in Austin and beyond. Fueled by a passion for emerging technologies, Page’s career has been focused on leading-edge healthcare, and for that she has been recognized by the likes of Forbes Woman and Business Week. 

In 2004, she joined Vermillion Inc., an Austin-based company focused on novel diagnostic blood tests. With Page’s passion for women’s health as a driving force, Vermillion became the first company to develop and launch an FDA-approved, blood-screening test to diagnose ovarian cancer, OVA1.

"A lot of people said, 'You’ll never be able to do it,'" Page says. But Vermillion was successful, and its test "created a new class of products with the FDA."

Page attributes her success to "tenacity and the ability to keep your head down and not give up." Of utmost importance, she says, is "surrounding yourself with a team who shares the vision."

After successfully building Vermillion — and raising $100 million for the company in just six years  — Page stepped down from her position as president and CEO at the end of 2012 to pursue other community and healthcare opportunities. One question she hopes to explore in this new chapter: "How does biotech becomes its own mecca in Austin?"

Later this summer, she joins the MD Anderson Cancer Center Office of Innovation and Technology as an entrepreneur in residence. Though the position requires commuting to Houston, Page will remain connected to Austin's burgeoning healthcare landscape. She is actively involved with several Austin-based tech, finance and healthcare organizations, including the Austin Technology Council, Austin Chamber of Commerce and BBVA Compass Bank.

"What I’m very focused on is giving back to the community and working on the next generation of healthcare products and services," she says.

Below, just a few things that keep this innovator's wheels turning.

What is your chief characteristic?

Determination!

Your idea of happiness?

Sunny day, on a boat, great music, surrounded by my friends and family. I just described my most memorable Mother’s Day!

Your idea of misery?

Being in the cold weather. Seriously, watching our healthcare system being challenged and innovation being stifled causes me serious misery. Our health is everything.

Your favorite pastime?

Boating, sailing — I love the water. I also derive great personal satisfaction by supporting many of the causes in Austin, like Spirit Reins, Center for Child Protection, and St. David’s Foundation.

Your favorite food and drink?

I love a good Mexican martini or an excellent French red wine. Both go extremely well with a great steak.

Your favorite restaurant — in your hometown and in the world?

The town I grew up in was very small, but I have fond memories of the Dixie Grill, which served the best fried chicken ever. In Austin, I cannot choose! Too many great places. And I loved the food in Istanbul. It's a wonderful city full of many dining experiences.

Your favorite motto?

"Note to self." I learned that from someone who is very close to me, and it reminds me to stop and think about the things that are really important. We must create balance and work to live, not live to work!

Your favorite heroes in real life?

My father and mother. Both came from humble beginnings, but they never let anything stand in the way of their dreams. They are a real inspiration. Outside the family, there are so many individuals I admire. We don’t have enough space to include them, but they know who they are!

If not yourself, who would you be?

My dog, Jasmine. She has the best life ever! She hangs out all day by the pool, gets fed and bathed. Sleeps in her princess bed. On a serious note, I would not want to be anyone else, because I would not be Madison’s mother, and that has been the best gift in my life: my daughter.

What is the best advice you ever received?

To trust my own instincts and to believe in my business acumen. To not change who I am but embrace it and make it work for me!

Something people would be surprised to know about you?

I was a majorette in high school. Yes, I twirled a baton and wore a sequin outfit!