Kellan Barfield, the CEO of Source Explorer, is about to launch her business into the global marketplace after accumulating over 3,000 clients.
Source Explorer helps clients in the life science industry avoid unnecessary mistakes and lost time by ensuring they are only hiring the most appropriate, qualified service suppliers for roles. In a nutshell, Source Explorer is an efficient and effective matchmaking platform that allows companies to optimize their resources and achieve operational excellence.
Kellan has an impressive portfolio of clients that includes leading industry players such as Gilead, AstraZeneca, Roche, Mylan, Biogen, and Genentech. We sat down with her to find out more about her experience as a female entrepreneur so far.
Tell us about your work. What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
I came up with the idea for Source Explorer while working for a Top 10 Biotech company in Europe. My team was consistently hiring new suppliers for upcoming projects, but we had challenges finding the right boutique suppliers. Our sourcing department would recommend the large, well-known agencies or vendors. I was always looking for the small to mid-size companies that were truly experts in their field. After trying and failing with Google searches a few too many times, I moved back to the US and built the solution to my problem.
What do you see for your future?
A community where all life science professionals can come together and find resources that suit their needs.
What did you eat for breakfast?
Bullet proof coffee
What’s your workout?
Trail walking 3-4 times per week.
What gets in YOUR WAY? What’s the one thing you’d like other female founders to know about overcoming that?
It is very easy to get caught up in the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship. As soon as one problem is solved, another one emerges – this can be overwhelming. I used to only celebrate the “big” wins. Now I understand how important it is to celebrate every win, regardless of the size.
What’s your favorite tech tool or a must have app, platform or software that helps you run your business?
Hotjar and LinkedIn Sales Navigator
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?”
I have spent much of my career in operational roles that require logistical organization and planning. This has been so helpful in launching my company. It has allowed me to be effective and efficient in managing all of the spinning plates.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you?
Sara Blakely from SPANX. Her business idea was based on a personal need. She bootstrapped the company with only $5,000 and still retains 100% ownership. It is challenging to turn down money when it’s offered in exchange for a share of your company. She had a vision that she never lost sight of.
What is the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
Leadership is taken, not given. I heard this from a senior leader at a former employer. We can wait around for someone to “elect” that our voice be heard, or can speak up and require it.