Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 649–657 | Cite as

Genetic Counselors in Startup Companies: Redefining the Genetic Counselor Role

  • Marina M. RabideauEmail author
  • Kenny Wong
  • Erynn S. Gordon
  • Lauren Ryan
Genetic Counselor Development


Genetic counselors (GCs) have recently begun moving into non-clinic based roles in increasing numbers. A relatively new role for GCs is working for startup companies. Startups are newly established companies in the phase of developing and researching new scalable businesses. This article explores the experiences of four GCs working at different startup companies and aims to provide resources for GCs interested in learning more about these types of roles. The article describes startup culture, including a relatively flat organizational structure, quick product iterations, and flexibility, among other unique cultural characteristics. Financial considerations are described, including how to understand and evaluate a company’s financial status, along with a brief explanation of alternate forms of compensation including stock options and equity. Specifically, the article details the uncertainties and rewards of working in a fast-paced startup environment that affords opportunities to try new roles and use the genetic counseling skill set in new ways. This article aims to aid GCs in determining whether a startup environment would be a good fit, learning how to evaluate a specific startup, and understanding how to market themselves for positions at startups.


Startup Professional development Industry Career Genetic counselors 



We thank all of our colleagues for their support in putting together this publication.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

This article was prepared by authors in their personal capacity, reflect the views of the authors only and do not reflect the view of any employers.

Marina Rabideau is employed by the commercial publically traded company Invitae and owns stock.

Kenny Wong is employed by the commercial privately held company Counsyl and owns stock.

Erynn Gordon is employed by the commercial privately held company 23andMe and owns stock. She was previously employed by Invitae and owns stock in Invitae.

Lauren Ryan is employed by the commercial privately held company Color Genomics and owns stock.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

No human studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

Animal Studies

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina M. Rabideau
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kenny Wong
    • 2
  • Erynn S. Gordon
    • 3
  • Lauren Ryan
    • 4
  1. 1.Invitae CorporationSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Counsyl Inc.South San FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.23andMe Inc.Mountain ViewUSA
  4. 4.Color Genomics Inc.BurlingameUSA

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