Meet the Co-Chair of Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law: Gael Diane Tisack


Meet Gael Diane Tisack,  co-chair of ACI’s upcoming Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law Summit.  Gael shares with us her career path, a best practice tip and more…

  • Tell us about your background and career path to date. 

I am from Michigan and grew up near Detroit.  I started as an engineer (have a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering) and worked for Ford Motor Company for 11 years.  I had always wanted to go to law school because of Atticus Finch but was talked into engineering by my father and high school math teacher.  As an engineer I received a U.S. Patent and worked with the patent attorneys and decided to go back to law school.  I attended University of Michigan and started in private practice in patent law.  I went in-house after three years as a patent attorney and 10 years later am GC at the same company.

  • Tell us the best advice you have received about achieving success.

Never complain, never explain (Henry Ford II)

  • Tell us about your favorite thing to do outside of work. 

I love visiting my new grandson in Boston.  My husband and I also like to go on car trips and go hiking.

  • Give us one tip/best practice for achieving a happy life and happy career – think of what you would like attendees to walk away from the conference with. 

I think you have to stop comparing yourself to others because it will often make you feel inadequate.  Everyone has a different path and different priorities and too many people seem to focus on what they haven’t achieved that others have and just end up unhappy.  I’ve always said that you can have everything you want if you work hard enough, but you also need to evaluate what you really want and what you are willing to give up.

  • What is the top substantive law issue facing the life sciences industry to watch out for in 2014? (ie FCPA compliance, Sunshine Act, IP issues, preemption and products liability)

What keeps me up at night is whistleblowers.  I’ve been through a few cases where the company is trying to do everything right and to see things get twisted by certain ‘holier than thou’ people (who are often the cause of the problem) makes the job very frustrating and is huge risk.

  • If you had a theme song, what would it be?

“My Ever Changing Moods” by The Style Council