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The industry is moving fast, and we asked our community of PharmaVOICE 100 inspired leaders to weigh in on their top priorities for the remainder of 2021 as they prepare for the next normal as well as the leadership skills that got them through the pandemic.
Global Head Multi-TA Project Management, Research & Development
The Janssen Pharmaceutical
Companies of Johnson & Johnson
PharmaVOICE 100 — 2020
Talent is the most important enterprise asset and this past year reminds us of how we need our creativity and emotional energy just as much as we need our team’s unique skills and capabilities.
As we build for the future, we are rethinking how and from where we transition new talent into our organization, and how we help leaders transition into new roles — all while working from anywhere.
We are strengthening our skills around communication and relationships to accelerate collaboration across our global teams.
Additionally, focusing on self-care and managing our energy remain top priorities for our talent. It’s okay to be open and real about when and how you personally will achieve that balance to remain sharp and focused so we can bring our best selves to work.
Vulnerability is a leadership skill that has an important impact: building trust. Showing our true authentic selves is critical to creating a safe environment for our teams, and the space also helps people stretch, grow, take risks, and change. With the business needs changing so rapidly, teams need to know it’s safe to experiment with new ideas, try new innovation, and if failure occurs to use the learnings to improve. Knowing that we cannot be face-to-face to develop those deeper relationships means we need to be even more aware of how we show up as leaders. Often the strength of our relationships can be measured by how we express vulnerability.
Eric Dube, Ph.D.
President and CEO
PharmaVOICE 100 — 2020
2021 is a transformative year for us at Travere Therapeutics. Our top priority is ensuring that we are doing everything we can to urgently deliver on the promises we’ve made to the individuals who inspire us to be in rare for life — the patients we serve. And we’re doing that by focusing on one common goal across the organization: elevating science and service for patients living with rare disease. That means that we are working diligently toward our goal of ultimately bringing a potential new therapy for those living with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and IgA nephropathy, advancing our pipeline in rare liver and metabolic disorders, and strengthening our commercialization capabilities by supporting patients’ access to diagnosis and therapy. But we’re equally focused on working with our advocacy partners to find tangible solutions to help address important issues people living with a rare disease face today. This includes taking tangible steps to address health disparities because of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or socioeconomic status, improving diagnostic tools and data sharing, and championing access to telehealth.
The leadership skill that I relied on the most throughout the pandemic, and will continue to reinforce, is to lead with purpose and to let our core values guide the decisions we make. This was a challenging year for everyone, and in moments of uncertainty — we led with our values: we are stronger together, we are patient-inspired, we are courageous, and we promote community. Our core values helped to guide us and kept us centered on what matters most: our people, the patients we serve, and our communities. Communities support one another. So much of what we did over the last year was listen to the needs of our colleagues and the rare disease community and do what we could to address these needs, particularly in providing resources to support the well-being of our employees.
Chief People Officer
PharmaVOICE 100 — 2020
After a year that redefined how we work and collaborate, 2021 is the fertile moment for change and is the catalyst to unlock how we will reshape work and our workforce to consciously choose our own sustainable future of work.
The top of our agenda is to decide how the last year of changes to our strategies, digital transformation, advancement of our collaboration systems, and enhanced workforce agility, coupled with the particulars of our business, employees, values, and purpose will inform how we shift. We are focused on ensuring self-awareness as an organization and being clear on what our business needs are going forward as foundational to making the decisions that will shape where our work, and where our workforce, are headed.
Though predicting the future is inadequate and predictions are transient in nature, we are ensuring our agenda is equally focused on fostering the last year of building connections and supporting each other on a personal level, that put “care” into the people equation — and keeping it there. We are focused on being thoughtful and thinking about each member of the team as an individual, and figuring out what may be most helpful so that they stay engaged and able to contribute to operating in a sustainable way that continues to drive our business forward and serve more patients waiting for new therapies. This work is inspirational — to be able to define, manage, and implement this future state, and deliver hope for our patients.
Resilience, characterized by complexity and change, will be the key to building stability and longevity and provide a solid foundation for the future of work. Resiliency should be considered as companies plan their growth strategy, evolve learning programs designed to support, develop, and grow people, formulate one’s talent acquisition approach, and build out the composition of teams in 2021.
VP, Clinical Development
PharmaVOICE 100 — 2020, 2011, 2009, 2007
At the top of my agenda for 2021 is a return to global clinical development of the Genlantis TriQuik HIV/HBV/HCV point-of-care diagnostic, our post-COVID vaccination point-of-care antibody tests, and development of several other infectious disease tests.
The most important leadership skills I’ve had to tap into throughout the pandemic are patience and delegation. Everything can get done, but some things just take a bit longer right now. Achieving results requires careful delegation of tasks and responsibilities in a variety of new ways and by leveraging new systems and technologies. It has been a fascinating experience that has profoundly changed how I do what I do.
Chief Operating Officer
Aperio Clinical Outcomes
PharmaVOICE 100 — 2020
Top of my agenda for 2021 is demonstrating the value of risk-based quality management (RBQM) to sponsors and encouraging investment in technology that allows us to do more remotely. When study participants consent electronically, there is real-time visibility into the process and fewer chances for error. Providing sites with tools for eRegulatory binders and eSource eliminates the emailing of thousands of documents and limits the risk of exposing PHI. Providing eTools and apps to patients gives them timely reminders to take their medication and shows us in real time if a patient is not compliant. The more we can do and see remotely, the less we are impacted by events outside of our control, whether it be a resurgence of the pandemic or catastrophic weather events. RBQM allows us to critically assess and implement the processes needed for these technologies, and adapt our monitoring strategy to focus our resources on the sites that need them the most and prevent systemic errors.
The most important leadership skill I tapped into over the past year has been flexibility with a hefty dose of compassion. Our team had to adapt to working remotely, parenting children learning remotely, suffering losses and separation from family members, all while enduring the incredible stress of a pandemic. We focused on delivery, not on clock watching. When your team has the support and encouragement they need, they will deliver. Sometimes this means taking from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. to support family life and getting back on the computer at night to finish up the day’s work. Sometimes it means going to the grocery store at 10 a.m. Wednesday because that’s your best shot at getting eggs and toilet paper. This has been a stressful time for all of us, and we are all in it together. Who knew empathy would become such a valued leadership trait?
Director, Supply Chain
Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc.
PharmaVOICE 100 — 2020
At the top of my agenda for 2021 is providing a continuous supply of therapies to patients globally. As an operations and supply chain leader, I want to ensure that our patients have access to the lifesaving drugs we produce for their conditions. During 2020, those of us in the biopharmaceutical industry realized how vulnerable our supply chains are. For the upcoming year, I want to ensure we establish stronger and more robust supply chains. Having more robust supply chains means having more flexibility, agility, and transparency. To achieve this, strong collaborations and well-coordinated operations need to be in place. Performing more coordinated operations will result in more product delivery for our patients.
Flexibility has been the most crucial leadership skill I have had to tap into the past year. With the rapidly changing economic and social environment we’ve had during COVID-19, I have had to adjust my style and approach to respond to unpredictable circumstances and events. I tossed out the original playbook developed in 2019 for 2020 and created a new direction. I had to be flexible with our plans and strategy to allow the business to continue supplying therapies to patients globally, and change our plans to match the situation’s reality, and learn to embrace change and be open to new ideas.(PV)