Mentors

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PharmaVOICE Staff

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These champions of diversity and inclusion are dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders and setting an example for others to follow.

An Ally for All

Raising the bar… by bringing people together

Peter Anastasiou
Title: Executive VP & Head of North America
Company: Lundbeck
Industry Awards: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Honorable Mentor, 2019
Company Awards: First-ever Lundbeck Leader of the Year, 2016
Associations: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA); HBA — Global Advisory Board Member; Advisory Council, ChildServ — Building Better Lives
for Children and Families in Chicago for 125 Years

“There are very few things more motivating to people than being heard,” says Peter Anastasiou. This inspirational sentiment is at the heart of who is he as a person and as a leader. “I want to be remembered as a leader who drove high performance, but did it the right way, with integrity and respect,” he says. “We have all seen leaders who achieve their goals, but leave bodies in their wake, displaying a no-holds-barred leadership style, or by cutting corners with ethics and morality. I don’t want to be one of those leaders.”

Peter is highly regarded throughout Lundbeck, where he serves as executive VP, head of North America, as well as across the life-science industry, as he has been instrumental in guiding and nurturing the careers of dozens of today’s leaders. Peter has committed himself to ensuring diversity of his team and his organization, and to truly being a male ally to advance gender parity. In recognition of his considerable efforts, Peter was recognized in 2019 by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) as its Honorable Mentor.

He has inspired many by sharing the story of his early years where his mother was the “CEO” of the quintessential Greek family and his two older sisters, who mentored and molded him.

“I want to be remembered as a leader for accepting people as they are, I don’t want people to feel like they have to put on a façade or fit a certain mold,” he says. “To do that with credibility, I have to make myself vulnerable in order to have the followership needed to drive business results and to meet the needs of patients. I value diversity of all kinds. We work in a complex industry with complex challenges, so we need all perspectives to effectively address challenges.”

At Lundbeck, Peter fiercely advocates for women as he has seen that women bring a unique perspective to business and he fiercely advocates for women. He has seen firsthand how they offer solutions to business issues and push to look at challenges in new ways — a critical skill to rethink how companies address issues to succeed, which is exactly what the industry needs. “I try to be open, honest, and direct,” Peter says. “People just want to know where they stand. I love coaching and giving feedback — it’s intended to be positive and constructive, not critical. I love mentoring. I am motivated to contribute to the professional development of the people I mentor and I love watching them grow. However, I get something out of it as well. I either learn something about the organization, a business challenge, or myself in the process. Mentoring is definitely a two-way street.”

Despite a full calendar and multiple responsibilities to juggle, Peter walks the walk and is always willing to talk the talk when asked to step up. He makes himself available to the HBA as a speaker for events and webinars at both local and global levels, and as an advisor on the HBA advisory board.

Peter has more than two decades of experience helping connect people living with debilitating psychiatric and neurological disorders with breakthrough therapies. He loves solving business challenges and meeting patients’ needs. “Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not, but that pursuit motivates me,” he says. “I like debate, transparency, and challenging each other, including me being challenged. This produces a better outcome.”

Peter’s team-based approach to leadership is felt throughout the organization by bringing people together. “As a leader, I can’t do anything alone, the only way I can get things done is through others,” he says. “In the biopharma industry, innovation starts with developing new products to address unmet patient needs. As a member of executive management and our portfolio management board, I’m fortunate to have a leadership role to help drive the company’s innovation agenda. In addition, there are other forms of innovation in terms of how we run our business. As the co-chair of our global commercial leadership team, I have the opportunity to help drive innovation to meet the needs of our customers.”

Peter is also invested in driving innovation in the Chicagoland community, where Lundbeck has a significant footprint. “I am proud that Lundbeck is a longtime supporter of Perspectives Charter School, a tuition-free school on the south side of Chicago that helps advance STEM education among underrepresented populations,” he says.

Additionally, Peter sits on the President’s Advisory Council for ChildServe, a 125-year-old nonprofit organization in Chicago that helps meet the needs of underprivileged kids and their families. He also just ended his term as a board member for Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which is an organization close to his heart as he is a childhood cancer survivor. A signed baseball by both Pete Rose — his childhood idol — and Hank Aaron that he received while undergoing treatment for cancer sits in his office and serves as a touchstone of encouragement and hope. “It is a reminder for me that I am one of the very lucky ones who survived, and I have to do everything I can to give back through the life I was blessed with,” he says.(PV)


Taking Staffing to New Levels

Raising the bar… to innovate

Steven Matas
Title: Senior VP, Strategic Resourcing
Company: Advanced Clinical
Associations: Staffing Industry Analysts
Twitter: @steve_matas

Steven Matas is a powerhouse in a somewhat obscure line of work in the clinical industry: strategic staffing. But his talents are vitally important to the success of Advanced Clinical. Steve has more than 20 years of strategic staffing experience across the information technology and life-sciences industries.

As senior VP of strategic resourcing at Advanced Clinical, he is responsible for leading the staffing efforts across the company, including recruitment, sales, and operations. Colleagues say in just three years, his leadership and innovative mindset have driven 100% growth in business. At the same time, he is mentoring and sponsoring a new generation of future leaders.

When he joined Advanced Clinical, the strategic resources business performance was flat and needed a new leadership approach to re-invigorate the business. With no background in clinical research, Steve joined the organization bringing a strong sense of servant leadership.

After taking the time to listen and understand his new world, he quickly identified strategic opportunities where sales leadership, technology, and automation could decrease the administrative burden on his team while improving their output and effectiveness.

“When I came to Advanced Clinical, the staffing business was stuck in a position of slow or no growth leaving employees frustrated,” Steve says. “It took some time to get people to believe that we could grow and win in this very competitive industry. And once everyone embraced the same vision and mission, we were able to overcome those frustrations and started seeing a lot of success.”

Steve has improved profitability and revenue, streamlined processes, and built the most collaborative team in the company’s history. Colleagues say some of Steve’s most impressive qualities are his strong sense of accountability and ownership.

Steve thinks outside of the box and works with customers in unique situations to ensure clinical studies are supported by qualified people power.

Steve listens to clients’ needs and creates solutions through a hands-on-leadership approach that fit both organizations in partnership.

In a short amount of time, he has developed a deep knowledge and passion for the industry, driving his teams to produce stellar results. Colleagues say Steve defines what it means to be a servant leader and mentor, while creating an unmatched workplace culture.

Just some of Steve’s achievements in the past three years include developing the first offshore sourcing effort that significantly increased the delivery of prequalified candidates to recruiters.

Steve also implemented a technology designed to engage team members who were deployed at Advanced Clinical’s pharmaceutical company partners, which helped increase retention across the board.

He also reorganized the staffing division into breakout specialty units and developed a new pricing model.

Those who work with him describe him as a leader who makes them better every day; they note he cares about their whole self. Not surprisingly, many people who have worked for Steve over the past 10 to 15 years follow him as he has made selective career moves. His loyal following do so because while he demands excellence in performance, he also understands and respects the need for life balance across his team. He is calm, charismatic, and focused, a roll-up your sleeves kind of leader who is present, highly communicative, coaches, and mentors with an eye tuned to focusing on what matters most, and then, when needed, will demonstrate what success looks like.

“I try and get to know what it is that motivates someone and what goals they have,” he says. “Then work alongside them and do whatever is necessary to help them achieve those goals.”

Steve is known for building strengths, celebrating successes, and sharing lessons learned through failure.

“My biggest career highlight has been hiring people who go on to their greatest success,” Steve says. “This gives me far more joy and fulfillment than hitting budgets or other goals. If the people working around me are successful, so are our customers and consultants, so everyone wins.”

Steve is not only an inspiration at work but also within his community. He leads morning men’s Bible study at church, participates in mission trips, coaches boys’ basketball, and volunteers on county events. (PV)


Going the Extra Mile

Raising the bar… by eliminating silos

Eli Phillips, JR., Pharm.D., J.D.
Title: VP, Regulatory Sciences and Insights and Engagement
Company: Cardinal Health
Company Awards: Cardinal Health’s Values Campaign for Innovation
Associations: American Society for Pharmacy Law (ASPL), member; International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), member; American Bar Association (ABA), member; American Pharmacists’ Association (APhA), member

Eli Phillips, Jr., Pharm.D., JD, VP, Regulatory Sciences and Insights and Engagement, Cardinal Health, is the type of person who is willing to help out in any situation.

Case in point: a few years ago, Eli was traveling home from work and came upon the scene of a car accident that had just occurred. With a first aid kit in tow, he rushed to provide emergency care to the victims of the accident while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

The experience left such a strong impression on Eli that, a few months later, he volunteered to guide the Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions leadership team in first aid training.

Eli’s affinity for healthcare comes naturally. “I started in the healthcare industry as a stock boy with a major pharmacy chain while in high school,” he says. “My father is a pharmacist and my mother was a pharmacy manager for nearly 40 years until her retirement, so I’m pretty sure there could be a genetic trait. Coincidentally, my wife is also a pharmacist.
Immediately after completing pharmacy school, I entered law school and accepted a role in academia after graduating law school. During my time in academia I served as an industry consultant on state and federal regulatory matters for manufacturers, wholesalers, and major pharmacy chains.”

While Eli’s accomplishments are numerous, colleagues say it is his optimism, creativity, and desire to go the extra mile for colleagues that truly set him apart from other leaders. They comment on his willingness to get in the trenches with his people and cite numerous times when he volunteered to fill a staffing gap or step into other roles to ensure a customer event was adequately resourced.

Eli’s desire to help others extends outside the workplace as well. He serves on the board of directors for Adaptive Sports Connection, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower children, adults, and veterans with physical and cognitive challenges through sports and therapeutic outdoor recreation.

“It seems no matter what challenges we are going through in life, people always seem to find relief, if even for a short time, through participation or spectating in sports,” he says.

Eli considers his current role, in which he leads about 300 professionals across two businesses providing life-cycle management solutions to the pharmaceutical industry, as his greatest career achievement to date. He notes that in the past year alone, Cardinal Health has doubled its revenue from real-world evidence (RWE) research and become recognized as a key partner in adapting RWE to support regulatory filings with the FDA.
“We also began increasing our international presence with regard to interactions with global pharmaceutical and medical device regulators,” he says. “This global focus has required me to adapt to new ways of thinking and doing business.”

Eli says his top concerns are always “are we moving at the right pace and are we prioritizing the right areas? “With regard to pace, going too slow or too fast can both have serious consequences, so it’s important to find that proper balance,” he says. “There are so many priorities that will often compete that it’s imperative to communicate with the team where efforts will best be focused to achieve success.”

In his previous position as head of quality and regulatory for Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions, it was important for Eli to build the trust of all internal and external stakeholders, as well as government regulators. “Developing that trust takes time and a demonstration you will do what’s in the best interest of patients, every time,” he says. “I’ve tried to incorporate that lesson as a business leader.”

Eli aspires to be a servant-leader while maintaining a situational leadership style. “As a business leader, I recognize I am a resource for my team, and not the other way around,” he says. “This ties into situational leadership especially as different situations require me to play different roles for the team; sometimes this can be coach, spectator, cheerleader, player, referee, or in other instances all of the above. Understanding the role needed in a given situation and adapting to that role is all part of my leadership style.”

Throughout his career Eli has served as both a mentor and a mentee. “Mentorship is one of the best ways to leave a professional legacy,” he says. “I would not have achieved many of my current successes without a strong network of mentors who believed in me and provided direction where needed. I try to give those experiences to my mentees as well.”

He constantly reminds his teams that while challenges will inevitably arise in every project, the way they respond will define the outcome. “If we stay above the barrier and maintain our composure and optimism, we will achieve the best possible result under those circumstances,” Eli says. (PV)


Ensuring the Success of Future Leaders

Raising the bar… by embracing change

Joyce Suhy, Ph.D.
Title: Senior VP, Medical Imaging
Company: Bioclinica
Industry Awards: Co-principal investigator NIH RO1 Grant; Principal Investigator NIH National Research Service Award; Principal Investigator National MS Society Fellowship; Illinois Merit Recognition Scholarship; Illinois State Scholar; Most Distinguished Dissertation Award
Community Awards: Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California Team Captain Alzheimer’s Walk; Holy Family Hospital Volunteer of the Year; Special Olympics volunteer
Associations: Alzheimer’s Association, American Academy of Neurology, American Heart Association, Association of Women in Science, FNIH Neuroscience Steering Committee, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Drug Information Association

Joyce Suhy, Ph.D., is responsible for the neuroscience and cardiovascular services at Bioclinica. Dr. Suhy leads the design and scientific oversight of the imaging endpoints for these clinical trials and provides training to staff involved in these studies.

As important as her role is to the development of potential new drugs, she views mentoring as one of the most important parts of her job and an element that she greatly enjoys. Being a great leader and mentor for her team is her aspiration, and to hone her abilities she participates in leadership courses and seeks to continually improve her mentoring skills.

“As a Ph.D. scientist, I would have never thought that educating myself in such a way could be so important and rewarding,” Dr. Suhy says. “Today, I pay as much attention to my soft skills as I do my continuing medical education. Focusing on improving my leadership and mentoring qualities has helped me in many ways, I wish I had started down this path 15 years ago. I encourage my colleagues and even my children to pay attention to these softer skills.”

Among the most popular adjectives used by her Bioclinica colleagues to describe her as a leader are: innovative, expert, role model, passionate, encouraging, and inspiring. To her employees, she is the soul of the team and drives Bioclinica to provide world-leading services in the clinical trial industry. She is always enthusiastic and encouraging the development of new investigative methods for indication-specific imaging support and, despite high expectations of clients, she grants her team the autonomy to pursue new, unconventional approaches.

In her 19 years at Bioclinica, she has had an enormous impact on colleagues across the organization. Dr. Suhy cares personally for each of the team members she works with, from the entry-level staff to senior members of the leadership team. She generously dedicates her time to provide support and guidance, actively listens, and strategically uses her individual team member’s strengths while also providing opportunities for development. She encompasses the knowledge and compassion of what it takes to build and manage a successful team.

“I like to keep my eye on the big picture and what comes next to ensure the happiness, growth, and satisfaction of our future leaders,” she says. “A top-notch team, which I have the pleasure of mentoring and growing, performs most of the work today and will ensure its continuity by training tomorrow’s team and that next generation of leaders.”

Outside of Bioclinica, Dr. Suhy is recognized and respected by the pharmaceutical industry as a trusted thought leader who can navigate the challenges associated with neuroscience clinical trials. Because of her expertise and professionalism as a leader, she has built strong relationships with all of the major pharmaceutical companies involved in Alzheimer’s disease drug development and beyond. She has positioned Bioclinica as the market leader in providing imaging core-lab services supporting new study drugs at all study stages, irrespective of trial size. Bioclinica has the great majority of the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) imaging clinical trials market share. Her contributions will hopefully lead to bringing the first successful disease-modifying AD drug on the path to approval after decades of setbacks. She also contributes to uniformizing ARIA-E safety assessments by promoting the use of a simple severity scoring scale, being used in most Phase III studies.

Dr. Suhy measures success by the happiness of her team and the satisfaction of her clients.

“I love my job and there are many aspects of my work that motivate me,” Dr. Suhy says. “It all starts with medical research, but more specifically, commercializing cutting-edge science and bringing this to clinical trials. I am exhilarated by the potential to treat millions of patients globally with a new therapy that we helped bring to market, mentoring a team of scientific experts and guiding them to become our future leaders, and even carefully navigating the nuances of corporate culture and corporate development.” (PV)

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