Janet Walkow is reminded of her motto every time she takes a sip of coffee. The words “ask for want you want” and “make noise” written across the mug are the driving force behind her determination to improve whatever situation she is in and enhance the lives of people around her.
Walkow is a clinical associate professor in the College of Pharmacy and the executive director and chief technological officer of the Drug Dynamics Institute. She is also involved in various outlets outside the University to engage and empower others, particularly young women.
Walkow said trying to guide her three daughters toward their career goals made her realize how young women need to be encouraged to determine what they want out of life and go after it.
“Until you can lead yourself you cannot lead anyone else,” Walkow said. “Everyone should be writing their own script and choose the people you associate with as your cast
Walkow co-founded Leading Women with her former colleague Christine Jacobs, to help women realize and achieve personal goals.
Walkow said the young women on campus are the type of readers she wants to influence. Although Leading Women is currently separate from her work at UT, she said hopes to eventually collaborate with groups on campus and spread her message of self-awareness. She and Jacobs are writing three books on women in leadership, with the first one being focused on younger women.
“There is a lot written about being a teenager and about being a 20-something,” Walkow said. “There is very little to nothing out there about how to transition effectively and gaining a real sense of leadership going from adolescence to being a young woman.”
Walkow earned her undergraduate and doctorate degrees at UT and said she stayed connected to many on campus, which helped her transition to her current position.
Assistant Pharmacy Dean Susan Brown said Walkow is always working on a new project and encouraging collaboration between people with similar interests.
“She is a real champion for women and for women’s rights,” Brown said. “Especially for young girls, she aims to show them that anything is possible and to promote women in science.”
The Drug Dynamic Institute labs Walkow helped create are housed in the Dell Pedriatric Research Institute. Kathy Brooks, facility manager at the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, said Walkow is naturally charismatic and helps those around her network and interact.
“If she thinks there is someone who is good for you to meet, she doesn’t hesitate to make introductions,” Brooks said.
Walkow has visited women in various countries during her travels in efforts to help improve people in impoverished situations through her organization and charitable services.
“A lot of what her work is about not just giving money,” Brooks said, “it is about giving financial resources in a way that people can improve and find their own way from that point.”
Pharmacy Dean M. Lynn Crismon said in the four years Walkow has headed the Drug Dynamic Institute, she has created and implemented initiatives including TherapeUTex, UTech Dorm Room and UT Advance, which allow researchers on campus and entrepreneurs in the community to create, test and ready their products for investors and the market.
Crismon said Walkow’s work has helped improve communication between the University and the private sector.
“She’s one of the most productive, energetic people I’ve ever met,” he said. “When we meet, she has a new idea every time.”
Brown said Walkow’s personality and experience allows her to seamlessly transition between her organizations and UT work.
“Janet is one of the few people who does really well with the science part and also really good at personal interaction and artistic side,” Brown said. “She is always looking at the next area to make a difference in.”
Walkow said through her different pharmaceutical experiences, travels and work with women she continues learning every day and learning more about herself. And she keeps asking for want she wants.
Published on March 8, 2013 as "Leading women".