Jennifer Holmgren is speaks softly, treads gently and has a warm, friendly demeanor. She says she is an introvert. She is also the CEO of an innovative biotech company that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars.
Being an introvert and being a CEO may seem, at first blush, incompatible. But for Holmgren, 58, introversion helps her be a better executive.
"The advantage, I think, of being an introvert is you listen more. You think before you speak, often, which means that you're listening, and I think that's important," says Holmgren, speaking with CNBC Make It in Los Angeles in May.
"Sometimes people won't speak unless called upon, and if you aren't listening or giving people a space to speak by not continuously talking at them, you may miss an important opportunity, an important idea," she says.
"I have found that by listening more you enable more people and more ideas. You get a diversity of input because you aren't just hearing one voice (usually the loudest one!) or worse, just listening to yourself speak," Holmgren tells CNBC Make It.
LanzaTech, which launched in New Zealand in 2005 and has raised more than $250 million, identified a bacteria found in the gut of rabbits that helps turn factory carbon emissions (pollution) into ethanol, an alcohol that is blended with gasoline to reduce the amount of fossil fuel used by cars.