Mentors

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PharmaVOICE Staff

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Ramita Tandon

For Being a Powerful Voice

Title: Executive VP, Commercialization and Outcomes Research
Company: ICON Plc.
Education: MD/MPH, Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health
Family: Her parents, who are immigrants from India, shaped her values and beliefs, including: respect, determination, humility, and a strong work ethic
Hobbies: Running, sailing, pilates, yoga, global traveling
Awards/Honors: Life Sciences Leader CRO Leadership Award for Top Phase IV Business, 2018
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Drug Information Association, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council
Social Media:
Personal Brand: First Mover Position

A good mentor is someone who can spot something positive in you that you never knew existed. Those who know Ramita Tandon, say she is such a mentor and more. Those who work with her at ICON say she is a change agent and source of inspiration and advice.

“I want to see more women feel good about who they are, talk about their accomplishments, and lead in that light every day,” Ramita says. “I believe mentorship is critical to the equation. There have been points in my career where I have not had mentors and I can tell you that I was much more successful when I had those mentor-mentee relationships than when I didn’t. Helping strong women realize their potential and take on leadership roles is an opportunity for me to give back.”

Within and outside of ICON she is a staunch supporter and champion in the fight for women and children’s rights. She lends her energy to organizations that offer life-saving care, shelter, and support to traumatized women and children living in poverty. “Providing education to children that can serve as the basis for a foundation to keep their hopes alive is extremely important,” she says. “I am also an advocate for equality for women’s rights to ensure women have the same access to freedoms and rights as men.”

After her days at ICON, she would like to be an international ambassador who serves as a strong progressive female voice in the world and a powerful global advocate for education, health, and women’s rights.

Her focus on having diverse thought leaders at the table has been an asset to her career success as executive VP, commercialization and outcomes research at ICON. Ramita pushes the envelope by keeping the external market and customers in mind. She is always looking for a better way, a better solution or service, and she approaches each challenge with determination and an open mind.

“While thinking outside the box may pose resistance or challenges, it’s important to be receptive knowing that change can be messy and may require mid-course correction,” she says.
“Hopefully, this approach to solving some of healthcare’s biggest problems will continue to serve as an inspiration to my peers and to my teams.”

Ramita says a career highlight has been building a new business unit within a large CRO. She brought together the best of a number of seemingly disconnected clinical and commercial departments to leverage the industry’s latest technology to focus on patient-centricity. This unit was formed to accelerate patient trial enrollment and in parallel digitize collaboration and engagement.

“The unit is focused on educating the industry that patient-centric solutions should not be considered as an afterthought but as part of the DNA of a program early on,” she says. “We need to truly understand patients’ experiences of their condition, what patients value and need, their attitudes and behaviors. The business model pushed the notion for listening to the patient’s voice, which can provide insights to pharma companies from drug-discovery to winning regulatory approval, to post-market disease management. Ultimately, our goal was to get our customers to understand that such an approach can help a company bring more innovative and targeted therapies to patients.”

In her role at ICON, she is leading a business that is focused to bridge the gap between commercial and clinical development. But this has been not without its challenges, Ramita says. A number of businesses and service lines made up the division, which came through various acquisitions.

“The overall division lacked a growth mindset, was very internally focused, lacked a clear and unified vision, there were multiple silos mentality, and a failed business strategy that did not produce strong results,” she says.

Ramita spent the first quarter of her time listening to people across the division and completing almost 150 one-on-one interviews to understand what worked and what was not working to create a new blueprint to transform the business model that would be agile enough to adapt to emerging industry trends. Over the next three quarters, her focus was on transforming the business model to create a single operating model that would support collaboration, innovation, and learning and that would empower every person in her division.

“We rebuilt the business to support both biopharmaceutical and device clients to bring innovative products to market, we brought in new senior leadership who shared my vision, and asked the team to have a growth mindset, which leverages more innovative real-world data-driven approaches,” she says. “We are infusing applications such AI and machine learning in our solutions and in parallel ensure that we maintain a more patient-centric focus as part of our operating model’s DNA. My job is to ensure that each individual in my division is prepared and ready to evolve to meet our customers’ needs and capitalize on the market opportunity to accelerate our growth.”

Job well done, Ramita. (PV)


Kaylie Miller

For Making Marketers Better

Title: Account Director
Company: Relevate Health Group
Education: BS, Marketing, Miami University; MBA, marketing concentration, University of Cincinnati
Family: Husband, Jeremy; parents, Dosie and Rick Rymond; sister, Claire Rymond
Hobbies: Cooking, reading, exercising, traveling, and exploring new places
Social Media:
Personal Brand: How can I help?

Kaylie Miller, account director at Relevate Health Group, is known for her proficiency in marketing but it is her passion for mentoring that sets her apart. In less than five years at Relevate, Kaylie has received three promotions, rising from account executive to account director, and along the way she has been a true advocate for her team members and colleagues.

While personal and business accolades, including distinguished company awards and high client praise, are nice, these kudos are not what motivate her. Kaylie’s driving force is the success of her direct reports, her mentees, and her company. She ensures that her teams are as well-prepared as she is for every interaction with clients and colleagues. They are on top of their game for big meetings, client pitches, as well as informal working sessions. She is flexible, prompt with communications, and she always exhibits an upbeat can-do attitude, even in times of extreme stress. When others feel overwhelmed, she automatically asks, “What can I do to help?” even if helping is outside of her or her team’s scope.

Within Relevate, she is thought of as the perfect mentor and often has multiple individuals who she coaches. She readily takes these opportunities to shepherd junior teammates through their first job out of college and help them build a strong business foundation.

“I measure success based on providing value, which can be defined in many ways,” she says.
“In some situations, success is helping a client reach their goals — financially, strategically, and professionally. In other situations, it’s coaching someone through a difficult situation or simply offering a kind ear. I measure my success based on how I’m helping others.”

In addition to managing direct reports, building client relationships, developing new business, and providing expertise, she finds time to do her own job extremely well. So well, that clients partner with her for years at a time because of her ability to strategically conform to all their needs, while creating great work that results in a strong ROI. Her clients constantly come back to her and her team to continue or expand programs. In addition to current clients, Kaylie regularly brings in new opportunities and expands the agency’s reach by thinking ahead to what’s coming next and how she can accomplish it.

When first meeting a client, Kaylie gets to know their needs and priorities first before recommending or proposing programs. To build an understanding of clients’ business priorities, she invests a lot of time and effort to fully comprehend the development and requirements for what are often stringent and complex medical/legal review process. Her deep understanding of the multiple steps and extensive amount of time involved from start to deployment of a complex program ensures she consistently exceeds all expectations.

“Working in the pharma industry is incredibly rewarding, but it’s tough,” Kaylie says. “It’s a highly regulated space, which means it takes time to get things done.”

One of her most impressive and innovative accomplishments was making significant modifications to one of Relevate’s core programs that shaved weeks off the deployment timeline.

“I’m constantly thinking about how Relevate can evolve capabilities to better meet the needs of our clients,” Kaylie says. “As part of my day-to-day job, I work with pharma clients to deliver regional marketing solutions that are tailored to their brand strategy. None of these clients have the same strategy or needs, so innovation is necessary to ensure that they’re getting the most from their engagement with us.”

Her capacity to do what hasn’t been done before is highly valued. She is persistent in finding a solution, uncovering all necessary factors, and executing in a highly regulated market. Despite the hurdles the industry may throw at her, colleagues admire her confidence, determination, and unconventional thinking that she brings to the table. (PV)


Carolyn Brougham

For Helping Women Secure Their Place in the Boardroom

Title: Senior Contracts Officer
Organization: Northwestern University
Education: BA, Biology; JD, Roger Williams University School of Law
Family: Her husband, also an attorney, who is supportive of all of her efforts to do it all; her two beautiful daughters, Charlotte, 4, and Margaret, 2, who inspire her to change the world; and a family history of women in the workplace: both of her grandmothers, who went to college in the 1940s, a time when not many women worked, went to college, and had kids; and her mother, a math whiz, who was one of a small group of women to work in the early days of the computer industry
Hobbies: Going for long walks; trying new gadgets, and cooking
Awards/Honors: A “commitment to diversity” award from Xconomy in 2017 for creating the Boardroom Ready program she created; Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2016
Associations: Women In Bio (WIB)
Social Media:
Personal Brand: Go for it

When Carolyn Brougham became aware of the alarming need for more women to hold director-level positions in the biotech industry, she saw a chance to create shareholder value by improving diversity on corporate boards. She instinctively took action by spearheading an international program that provides female executives with skills and connections which, alongside their own hard work and innate talent, facilitates placements on boards and supports their positive contributions as board members.

Inspired by the success of Biogen’s Raising The Bar, a program for its internal female executives, she set out to find a way to make this training available to a larger group of women, and thus Women In Bio’s (WIB) Boardroom Ready program was born. Since 2016, 40 women have gone through the Boardroom Ready program and an incredible 15 board seats have been attained by its alumnae.

Carolyn has led a herculean, all-volunteer effort to create this program and turn it into a success. She has secured influential sponsors — Biogen, Theravance, Acorda, LifeSci Advisors, and more — to ensure the program chooses women who are qualified for and will be able to attain board seats. She ensures that participants not only complete the program, but are matched with mentors, have multiple opportunities for networking touchpoints throughout the year, and are introduced to numerous board recruiters. Carolyn puts into practice what she advocates; not only does she connect mentors with mentees in her influential role at WIB, she is a mentor herself.

“I think it’s important to reach back as you climb,” she says, acknowledging in particular her own mentoring by Dimitra Georganopolou, past president of Women In Bio.

Those who know Carolyn say she has a relentless work ethic. She is the backbone of the Boardroom Ready program, engaging sponsors, developing the curriculum, motivating mentors, and actively developing networking relationships with each of the program’s participants and graduates to make sure their experiences are nothing short of extraordinary.

“The idea of ‘networking’ used to make me cringe,” she says. “It felt so forced and fake. I wish someone had told me sooner to look at networking as simply making new friends. I now just go to events and look forward to getting to know interesting people. You never know when those friendships will turn into opportunities.”

Her work with WIB could be considered a full-time job — a full-time job for at least two or three people — and yet Carolyn does it, as a volunteer, on top of her job at Northwestern and having a fulfilling family and social life.

“I could not be prouder of the accomplishments of this program and its participants as more women are placed on boards and the executive landscape of life-sciences companies begins its evolution,” she says.

In her real full-time role, Carolyn negotiates and drafts agreements for industry-sponsored research, drawing on her background as a licensed patent attorney with extensive experience in portfolio management and strategy, patent litigation, and patent procurement. Through her work in the Office for Research at Northwestern University, Carolyn is motivated knowing that the sponsored research projects she negotiates may lead to cutting-edge advances in technology that can revolutionize our world.

Her colleagues say her selfless dedication is leading to the betterment of all women in business. (PV)

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