Tuesdays with T4A: Ashley Gould (09/17/13)

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This week, we interview T4A.org Convening Board member Ashley Gould, who has been with us since early April!

Ashley Gould
SVP, Governmental Affairs and CLO | Hyperion Therapeutics
Ashley is Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Chief Legal Officer at Hyperion Therapeutics, a biotech company developing therapies to address “orphan or underserved patient populations.” Before assuming her role at Hyperion, she served as the Vice President of Corporate Development and the Chief Legal Officer at 23andMe. Prior to joining 23andMe in April 2007, Ashley was Vice President of Legal Affairs at CoTherix, Inc. Previously, she was an associate with the law firms of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Ashley attended UC Berkeley (boo! –Sam) and the University of San Francisco School of Law. She is a native of San Francisco!

Where did you grow up?
I was born in San Francisco and grew up in Marin and San Francisco (grade school in Marin, high school in SF). Very proud to be a third generation San Franciscan!
What was your first job?
Working in retail at the Village in Corte Madera at Laura Ashley (you’ll probably have to Google that to know what it was – think Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie, or do you have to Google that too??)
What is your first political memory?
Discussing that my Mother was a Democrat and my Stepfather was a Republican (still the case) and understanding that individuals can respectfully share divergent views, educate each other and share a roof.
What is your favorite book?
The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky.
What drew you to biopharma and genetics?
My father, Harvey Gould, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia called myelofibrosis in 2000 and was given 3-5 years to live. His diagnosis, how little was (is) known about his disease state and how to treat it led me from big law firm life to biopharma where I had a desire to help be part of healthcare and looking for better solutions for patients. I never thought I would be able to initiate research in the area of my father’s disease, but was able to do that at 23andMe. You can read my blog from 2011 announcing the initiation of that research (it still continues and I am amazed and thrilled that my Father is still with us and doing moderately well).

http://blog.23andme.com/23andme-research/my-father-myelofibrosis-and-me/

As you look at your community, city/state/country, how do you view your role/responsibility as a citizen? Within that context, how do you view your role as citizen in relation to our Government and Democracy?
First and foremost, I view my responsibility as being a productive person and adding to the common good (and tax base). After that baseline, I have a responsibility to support change I believe is important, through voting, and, increasingly, through other means, like T4A.org. I’d love (and hope) to have more time to try to make a difference on important topics like education in this country.
Just about everyone (regardless of political affiliation) sees a large gap between our politics (Washington, DC as well as state capitals) and the reality on the issues we face as a Country. Why do you think that is? I know it's a tough question, but what do you think can be done to close that gap?
I believe the primary culprit is the money in politics, which skews incentives and encourages short term decision making to mollify voters as they enter the next election cycle. 
Are political parties becoming less relevant today, particularly for young adults? Whatever your answer, why do you think that is?
I think it is too early to say if political parties are less relevant for young adults. The power of what you grow up around should not be discounted and while I believe the younger generation is now and will in the future continue to drive major social issues like gay marriage I think unless a new paradigm emerges for political voice the major parties will continue to play a primary role in politics for the foreseeable future. I’d love to be wrong.
Meet me here: 
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