It was during this globally recognized crash course on entrepreneurship, points out nominator/adjunct professor Dr. Fred Jacques, PhD’02, that this high-tech superstar landed third place in a pitch competition, attracting a whopping US$100,000 investment offer from the Draper University Ventures Fund.
“Whether it’s meeting potential investors, strategic partners, industry experts or customers, Daria knows how to find a common ground by being well-prepared to develop a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship,” adds CPS founder and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine professor Dr. Jeroen De Buck, PhD. “Her personable attitude has contributed to CPS’s trusted reputation in the biotech and startup communities across Alberta and beyond.”
Venkova is quick to point out that her career path has been anything but linear. As a bioscience undergrad, Venkova’s aspirations were to become a plastic surgeon. “In fact, every day on the train from home from the university, I would watch live streams of surgeries on my phone,” she admits. “That’s how I learned about the new methods and technologies that has helped surgeons evolve their practices.”
Not abandoning that dream, Venkova reckoned a one-year Master of Biomedical Technology degree would be a brief detour, grounding her with a stronger foundation in biotechnological advancements.
“I had no idea that this master’s program would set me up for an entirely different career path,” she laughs, adding that, “despite the obstacles and curveballs, the more I am in this position at CPS, the more I feel that this is exactly what I was meant to do.”
Swerving from original career plans is common for entrepreneurial heavyweights, even those as young as Venkova, a fan of Three Comrades by Erich Maria Remarque, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and O. Henry’s short stories, who maintains she has learned many life lessons due to that directional shift.
When asked for three top lessons she gleaned while being a student, Venkova says lesson No. 1 was, “Teamwork makes the dream work. As students, we often despise in-class team assignments, but those skills are critical in the real world.” The second critical lesson was,