Get to know: Ben Toussant, Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Operations, FidoCure®

Get to know: Ben Toussant, Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Operations, FidoCure®

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio where my life revolved around playing sports and being outdoors – usually with my two brothers and the family dog. For my undergraduate education, I attended the Ohio State University where I played on the varsity baseball team and studied marketing. I think baseball really helped shape my approach to professional life – it instilled in me a high level of self discipline, a love of competition and a healthy understanding of the need for constant improvement.
After graduating, I joined the United States Navy where I served as an intelligence professional in the Special Operations community. An interesting fact about my naval service is that in nearly six years on active duty, I was only on a ship for a total of two weeks! That was because I was focused on countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which were having devastating effects in Iraq and Afghanistan. Consequently, my mission was to help save lives, which was incredibly fulfilling. This took me on a yearlong combat deployment to Afghanistan followed by leadership positions on the west coast.
I was honorably discharged from the Navy to attend law school. It was in law school where I was first introduced to the world of venture capital and technology startups. Particularly appealing to me were the mission-driven startups that sought to improve people’s lives with their innovation. After graduating with a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, I worked in the startup/venture capital space, where I helped companies set up, finance and rapidly scale their businesses to successful exits via IPOs or M&A.

What was your experience or knowledge of FidoCure® prior to joining the team?

I hadn’t come across FidoCure® until I met Christina and the team as part of the interview process. When Christina told me about FidoCure’s mission, I had an immediate connection. Sadly, my brother has lost two dogs far too early from Hemangiosarcoma (HSA). The fact that FidoCure® has an ability to treat that cancer and extend the quality of life of dogs afflicted with it really resonated with me. I know my brother would have given anything to spend more quality time with his dogs.

Why did you join FidoCure®?

In addition to my love for dogs and belief in the mission, I was extremely impressed by everyone on the team that I met. I think the journey of every great company is unique, but they all have one thing in common: extraordinary people. The FidoCure team is full of extraordinary people, and I was excited to be a part of it.

Tell us all about your pets. (Now or in the past)

I’ve been surrounded by dogs my whole life. In fact, after my older brother left for college, my family had more dogs in our house than people!
As a young kid, my family had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named “Chessie.” She was the protector of us kids and had a wonderful personality. To fulfill her retriever instincts (and to my mom’s dismay), she would dig 3-foot deep holes in the garden to uncover large rocks that she would carry in her mouth as she ran around the neighborhood with us.  She was an amazing animal.
In college, I adopted a black lab mix puppy who I named “Rusty.” We were inseparable for nearly 16 years. He attended college parties with me, moved all over the country while I was in the Navy, was my study buddy in law school, and always my steadfast companion. We were truly best friends with that “once in a lifetime” bond.

Do you ever think there will be a cure for cancer?

I believe in the power of science and technology to solve virtually any problem, so my overly simplistic answer is, “yes absolutely.” Excitingly, I think the rate of progress is rapidly accelerating. Yet, despite the progress made, it’s clear there’s a long way to go.
A podcast called Bio Eats the World produced an episode I personally enjoyed called: Revolutions in Cancer – Past, Present, and Future, which summed up the status of the fight against cancer using a baseball analogy (speaking my language!). The American Cancer Society’s CEO estimated we’re in the “top of the fifth inning” – so about halfway. I believe Fidocure has a really valuable role to play as society moves into the middle and later innings.  

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