Robin Robinson, Kim Ribbink, and Taren Grom, Editor
NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.
Champion of Customer Engagement
Driven to innovate by Progress
Now more than ever, corporate communications plays a key role in creating a positive and engaging corporate culture that attracts and retains top scientific, managerial, and business operations talent while providing an innovative and collaborative atmosphere where employees are encouraged to participate at all levels of interaction.
Lisa Adler is particularly skilled at juggling all of these tasks and managing communications during times of change.
Ms. Adler seamlessly guided Millennium’s communications efforts through the company’s acquisition by Takeda, and the establishment of Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company and most recently, the full integration of Millennium into Takeda.
In her role, Ms. Adler has overseen a staff of 16 communications professionals, managing the work of an integrated team that includes public relations, patient advocacy, corporate social responsibility, corporate branding and advertising, social media, internal communications, and visual communications.
Under Ms. Adler’s leadership, the internal communications team manages companywide industry news dissemination, organizational updates, and corporate social communications, working cross-functionally with virtually every department within the organization. Additionally, the team works to engage the campus through employee events, such as monthly town halls, annual company meetings, milestone receptions, community service initiatives, and other patient-centric and environmental social activities.
Through both internal and external communications, Ms. Adler ensured that a series of company and scientific milestones received significant news coverage, all the while communicating the company’s entrepreneurial culture and scientific prowess.
Ms. Adler and her team, partnering with other internal groups such as HR, kept a relentless focus on employee engagement and the distinct corporate culture. As a result, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company was recognized as a Best Place to Work by Fortune Magazine (Top 20), The Boston Globe (No. 1 in 2012), Science magazine and the Boston Business Journal.
Millennium has always had a strong patient-centric focus and in recent years that effort has also included the adoption of a patient ambassador program as well as the development of a nonbranded patient website,
MyMultipleMyeloma.com. Both of these programs were managed and implemented under Ms. Adler’s guidance by the corporate communications team and included patient advocacy, PR, and visual communications.
This site has won numerous awards, including: WebHealth Silver Award in Patient Education for MyMultipleMyeloma.com; Web-Award Program Outstanding Website Award for MyMultipleMyeloma.com; W3 Sliver Award for User Experience for MyMultipleMyeloma.com; Gold Davey Award for MyMultipleMyeloma.com; Inhouse Design Award Winner for Materials for MyMultipleMyeloma.com; PM360 Trailblazer Award Finalist for MyMultipleMyeloma.com.
Under Ms. Adler’s direction, Patient Advocacy has worked tirelessly to deepen relationships with dozens of priority patient groups to ensure cancer patients and their caregivers have access to treatment, supportive services, and information. Patient Advocacy serves as the voice of the patient demonstrating the importance of keeping patients at the center of everything Millennium does, a mantra that Ms. Adler ensures remains at the forefront of the organization and its communication .
Ms. Adler’s team constantly looks for new opportunities to help drive the business while remaining true to the core values of the company and its vision.
Their efforts have resulted in Patient Advocacy reaching 17,000 myeloma and lymphoma patients and caregivers by developing live education programs delivered as the result of Millennium’s national partnerships with International Myeloma Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Lymphoma Research Foundation. Millennium has also partnered with field and advocacy groups for MyMultipleMyeloma.
In addition to ensuring her group stays focused on enhancing and maintaining the company’s external business and scientific profile, Ms. Adler ensures that employees are kept current on activities and milestones that impact the business
Ms. Adler inspires with authentic passion and energy, leading by example, recognizing the accomplishments of others, creating an environment for growth and support, taking pride in the work she and her colleagues do, and setting high standards. She says the best advice she ever received was never send an email when there’s emotion involved — let it sit for a few hours.
The next step in Ms. Adler’s career is as senior VP, corporate communications, for Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, a company with an important product in GI, a robust pipeline, and a thriving culture.
While she sits on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, her most satisfying role is with the Big Brother Big Sister program.
“I’ve been a Big Sister for five years — she’s now 13 — and it brings me great joy to know that I’m giving back,” she says. “We have a lot of fun, we learn from each other, and it gives me a different perspective on life.”
Getting to Know…
Title: VP, Corporate Communications*
Company: Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Co.
Education: B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Family: Husband; three kids, 25, 22, 19
Awards/Honors: 2012 PR News Marketing
Communications Professional of the Year; 2010
Healthcare Clio Award. 2012 PM360 Trailblazer Award for Corporate Overview App; PM360 Trailblazer Award Finalist for Social Media Platform (top 4 in industry); 2013 WebHealth Gold Award in Blog category for OncologyVoice.com; Digital PR Award Finalist for Best blog — OncologyVoice.com; and others
Associations: BIO, Mass Biotech Council, Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association
* As this issue was going to press, Ms. Adler joined Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, Mass.) as senior VP, corporate communications
Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook
Placing People First
Driven to innovate by Impermanence
A dynamo with endless energy, Jennie Fischette is constantly driving innovative solutions for Concentric Health Experience and its clients.
As the leader of the agency’s executive management team, Ms. Fischette creates a framework for her colleagues to solve tough problems for the company’s partners, clients, and employees and then drives the change to fruition.
She has the ability to take the science and make it easily accessible for the targeted audience.
In the two years since she joined Concentric, the agency has seen tremendous organic growth.
When she joined the organization the team was looking to build out its strategic service offering, recognizing that with client teams shrinking, there was a need for a true partner who was forward-thinking and supports the brand from preclinical data through strategic execution.
Ms. Fischette had a vision to help her department meet this need and not only be involved in the strategy of today — positioning, branding, messaging, and key brand experience — but to design pull-through strategies into the execution of tomorrow.
“I have always felt that a brand’s success is directly linked to the customer experience and that requires a well-coordinated ecosystem,” she says.
Under her guidance, Concentric has built a strategic service department that can collaborate on that level.
Ms. Fischette inspires everyone around her to stay motivated, focused, and positive.
True tests of leadership are not when times are easy but when tough times require decisions or actions to be made. To this end, she tries to stay focused on doing the right things rather than saying the right things.
She draws inspiration from those around her, from Concentric’s Chief Creative Officer Michael Sanzen to office interns.
Inspiration, she believes, is that germ of an idea that one individual has and the collaboration it takes to build it into an idea that will change the way the company does business.
Ms. Fischette fosters strong relationships with her team. She has weekly one-on-one meetings with every member of her team. She also takes the time to build long-term relationships with clients.
People are the priority for Ms. Fischette. She says many leaders try to balance people, process, price, and product, but like any campaign, focusing on too many things results in saying or achieving nothing.
“If you divide these four issues up equally, you will fail,” she says. “Once you realize the challenge is not to balance but to choose you are closer to the answer. I choose people. If you support your people and give them the road map for success, then process, price, and A-plus product will come.”
While taking an authoritative approach and strong point of view to move the company forward, she underscores everything she does with compassion.
She says the best career advice she ever got, and one she shares with others, is that it’s not about being liked, it’s about doing what’s right for the people and the brands you represent.
Being able to make a difference matters to Ms. Fischette, who began her career in hospital advertising and PR, and says one day she’d like to get back to that point, perhaps through fundraising.
“I liked the direct results of my efforts being seen in the patients we raised funds for and were able to help,” she says.
Outside of work, Ms. Fischette and her family are proud supporters of the Down Syndrome Society.
“Recognizing everyone’s value and understanding how they make the world a better place makes all of us better,” she says.
Getting to Know…
Title: Executive VP Director of Client and Strategic Planning Services
Company: Concentric Health Experience
Education: B.S., University of Buffalo
Family: Husband, Andrew Jones; daughters, Riley and Amelia
Bucket List: Living outside of the United States
Awards/Honors: HBA Rising Star
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest
A Woman on a Mission
Driven to innovate by DNA
A ballerina since the age of 6, Angela Tenuta still executes a mean grand jete down the hallway when there is something to celebrate at Intouch Solutions. Pairing more than 15 years of pharma digital marketing experience with 20 years of classical dance training, Ms. Tenuta is not the typical boardroom executive. She is a woman on a mission to inspire, lead, and positively impact the lives of her clients and all those around her. As executive VP and lead for the company’s Chicago office, she has been a driving force in the sizable and continuous growth of Intouch Solutions.
In 2006, Intouch Solutions was looking for someone who could play multiple parts, which is something Ms. Tenuta had trained for most of her life, dancing nearly every part in The Nutcracker at Chicago’s Arie Crown Theater. She happily accepted the challenge of building the Intouch office in Chicago from the ground up.
“I started at Intouch in 2006 as the first Chicago employee, working from home on one signed $250,000 project,” she says. “Eight years later, the branch has more than 130 employees, contributes more than $40 million of revenue, and delivers approximately 1,500 projects annually across more than 20 brands.”
From inception to execution, Ms. Tenuta has proven she knows how to grow a business. She recognizes that long-term goals don’t often change, but that the journey to get there is ever changing.
She believes laser-sharp focus and flexible adaptability are the means by which to achieve success. Invention is something she strives for daily at Intouch.
“The proudest day of my life was Nov. 26, 2012, when we opened the doors to our new space at 205 N. Michigan Ave.,” she says of her career highlight. “Overnight, we were an agency, and everyone was giddy.”
Since 2006, the teams led by Ms. Tenuta in the Chicago office have won more than 25 industry awards, including awards from the W3, the IAC, and PM360. She was recently featured on Today’s Chicago Woman website sharing her thoughts on the keys to leading quick company growth.
Colleagues credit Ms. Tenuta with always bringing new ideas to the table and sharing her passion to encourage her colleagues to do the same. A hands-on leader, she truly cares about the success and growth of everyone around her, and it shows. An inspiration to all of her colleagues, she will go the extra mile to ensure cutting-edge solutions are being delivered to clients.
Her biggest challenge to date was preparing the company to be ahead of the then emerging trend regarding the opportunity inherent in the launch of the iPad.
“We knew that this technology would revolutionize HCP sales, which was an emerging capability for us,” she says. “We also knew speed was critical; brands first to market would benefit from a lift.”
Within two weeks of the iPad hitting stores, Ms. Tenuta presented a custom sales app to one of the company’s largest clients, who walked the proposal to his C-suite and approved a hardware purchase for his entire salesforce that same week. Within six months, Intouch Solutions had created and released more than 50 custom sales aids on iPad. Today, 5,000 industry sales representatives carry an Intouch-built sales application.
“The things Intouchers endured to get that done still haunt our dreams,” Ms. Tenuta says. “But four years later, we count HCP marketing among one of our strongest core capabilities.”
Ms. Tenuta says she has always prided herself on being able to motivate a roomful of people, but now she has shifted her management strategy a bit to more of a listening role.
“I find more success lately in spending the time to really pay attention,” she says. “I try to show our teams that I notice accomplishments, large and small, and I try to amplify their success. Inspiration is organic. It needs water, air, and sun.”
In the same way, Ms. Tenuta tries to learn something and gain inspiration from everyone she meets: from clients who say they don’t believe in a capability to those who can’t say enough good about the team; from the account person who sells a three-year multi-channel strategy when everyone said she couldn’t; from the planner who presents a new brainstorm strategy utilizing tape and yarn; to the 25-year-old who encourages her to join Pinterest.
“I leave work every day smarter than when I started it,” she says. “My colleagues and clients are my fuel.”
Next to invention, Ms. Tenuta also inspires her colleagues through her high level of enthusiasm for philanthropy.
In 2012, more than 30 charities received support from the team at Intouch, some by financial means and others by more than 2,000 hours of pro bono work.
On a personal level, Ms. Tenuta is committed to sponsoring and volunteering for cancer charities, since her mom recently passed away from Stage 4 breast cancer after a two-year battle.
“For her, I will always donate my time and my money to cancer research and awareness,” she says.
Getting to Know…
Title: Executive VP
Company: Intouch Solutions
Education: B.A., University of Illinois
Family: Husband; two children, 5 and 6
Bucket List: Sleep, work through a few novels about her family history, great stories abound, just waiting to be written
Awards/Honors: Agency of the Year in 2014, 2012, and 2010 by MM&M or Med Ad News
Associations: Cambridge Who’s Who
Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest
Dr. Ann Aerts
Addressing Global Health Needs
Driven to innovate by Health Needs
Driven by a passion to address unmet medical needs, Ann Aerts, M.D., heads the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development with optimism and innovative thinking.
Whether she’s on-the-ground in Tanzania, or providing tactical direction from the foundation’s headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Dr. Aerts’ idealism drives her to search for solutions to major healthcare issues around the world, while her rationality enables her to identify areas in which the foundation will have the most impactful and sustainable effect.
“What really matters is that we build long-lasting solutions to public health issues; for example, in leprosy, the efforts of Novartis and the Novartis Foundation have been instrumental in helping to reduce the number of patients,” she says. “Today, there are only about 250,000 new cases of leprosy reported each year, but the challenge now is how to interrupt disease transmission.”
She also played a key role in devising new policy recommendations and together with Netherlands Leprosy Relief, Erasmus University Medical Centre, and national leprosy programs, the foundation has recently launched an international program with pilot sites in several countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America that aims to introduce post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for people in contact with newly diagnosed patients to decrease their risk of developing leprosy.
“Another potential area of interest for us will be non-communicable diseases, specifically hypertension, as it is the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which has become the No. 1 killer in developing countries,” she says.
Dr. Aerts’ commitment to addressing developing world health challenges was shaped by the more than 10 years she spent early in her career risking her life to train health workers and provide emergency care in active conflict zones such as Angola, Mozambique, Burundi, Sudan, East Timor, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia.
Working as an emergency medical doctor with the Red Cross, there was often the feeling that the problems faced were too big and that the team could never make a substantial change in the communities they were working in.
One experience that left a huge impression on her was when she was working with the Red Cross in Mozambique in the early 1990s. Heavy conflict raged throughout the country, and Mozambique was hit by a severe drought. She was working in the Beira corridor where hundreds of thousands of people had fled to a zone of about 3km wide and 150km long, guarded from the warring parties by a peace-keeping force. There was no housing or sanitation available and a general lack of food. After having walked for several days, entire families arrived in this corridor, completely exhausted by dehydration and malnutrition. Because the health services were completely overwhelmed, the mortality rate was extremely high.
“It was a mammoth task, but by coordinating the delivery of food, water, and sanitation, as well as health services and nutritional rehabilitation programs, we were able to mitigate this human catastrophe within a relatively short period of time,” she says.
In leading the foundation today, her ultimate goal is to make the organization a trailblazer in healthcare programs that can be scaled and provide sustainable impact. Among these are the foundation’s telemedicine program in Ghana, which in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service and Earth Institute at Columbia University provides distance diagnosis and treatment support for health workers in rural areas via mobile phone.
Dr. Aerts is also leading efforts for the foundation to bridge the dialogue on healthcare access issues between the private sector and public health groups. She is an active participant in organizations, such as the United Nations Economic and Social Council, a group that coordinates about 70% of the human and financial resources for the UN’s economic and social initiatives. She is also involved in the Broadband Commission on Gender and the Malaria Elimination Group and is a founding member of the Global Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD), a group of foundations committed to optimizing the impact of philanthropy for development.
Recently, she contributed to a study on Venture Philanthropy, which assessed the experiences of foundations working on development topics in adopting novel approaches toward supporting communities in need.
As Dr. Aerts leads the foundation through a strategic review to refocus efforts, projects, and partnerships, her optimistic yet pragmatic viewpoint is inspiring others to share her passion. She conveys the successes and goals of the foundation in a way that reminds others that impactful change is an achievable goal, thus providing encouragement to teams working in some of the poorest communities in the world.
She has also had an impact on people outside of the foundation: every week dozens of Novartis associates email her offering to help in whatever capacity they can.
She finds personal inspiration from doctors working in developing countries who have persevered despite difficult conditions, and from her mother, now 91 years old, who was a great activist to improve the lives of people who were less fortunate and address social inequity.
Getting to Know…
Ann Aerts, M.D.
Title: Head of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development
Company: Novartis AG
Education: M.D. and Masters, Public Health, University of Leuven; D.T.M., Institute of Tropical Medicine
Family: Husband Beppe; two daughters, Yuan, 11, Jade, 8
Hobbies: Sports, hiking, photography, reading
Associations: United Nations Economic and Social Council; Broadband Commission on Gender and the Malaria Elimination Group; Founding member, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Global Network of Foundations Working for Development; Board of the Global Health Group at University of California San Francisco; Board of the Center for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development at Zurich University
Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube
Creating a Culture of Compliance
Driven to innovate by Culture
Taking a refreshing and effective approach to compliance, Matthew D’Ambrosio has infused collaboration and creativity into a corporate function that is often difficult to appreciate and rarely embraced. His vision to set new standards through a “culture of compliance” has raised the bar at Sunovion, if not throughout the industry.
Mr. D’Ambrosio has a long-term vision to establish Sunovion as the company that always does the right thing. He understands that consistent, successful compliance is a product of a company culture that is guided by principles that must be followed by professionals at all levels of the company and across all functions.
As a result of Mr. D’Ambrosio’s efforts to shift the culture of compliance from a rules-based model to a values-based model, the rest of the company views compliance as a productive adjunct to their functions, and upholding compliance is readily and vocally championed as a shared responsibility.
What sets Mr. D’Ambrosio’s leadership style — and, by extension, the Sunovion compliance function — apart is a focus on integration and collaboration. Mr. D’Ambrosio ensures the compliance team is seen as an integrated function, by its presence at business meetings, training events, physician speaker programs, and by field rides with the sales organization so that the compliance staff can better know and understand what the sales business needs.
Recognizing the importance of staff engagement, Mr. D’Ambrosio brought the serious issues of compliance to Sunovion in a lighter, more memorable manner through the Real Business program of Second City. Sunovion was among the founding companies to work with Second City to develop short videos related to compliance issues. Those videos are reflective of how Mr. D’Ambrosio makes complex information relatable and delivers it in interactive, engaging ways to get attention and ensure understanding and buy in.
In addition, he and his team created a comprehensive aggregate spend tracking and reporting system in preparation for the Sunshine Act. Not only did this system allow Sunovion to meet its obligations for the Sunshine Act, it also served as an analytical tool that has helped the company improve its auditing and monitoring capabilities.
He built his approach to compliance on the belief that people are more likely to make the right decisions if they understand and appreciate the company values and actively apply them to their work.
He implemented a cross-functional team initiative called The Compliance Rotation Program, in which every nine months, a sales representative from commercial is assigned to work in compliance. This inter-departmental program orients future Sunovion leaders on the philosophy of compliance and creates an opportunity for the compliance team to gain insights from sales colleagues.
In fact, the compliance team tapped the marketing expertise of several commercial visitors to create a branded campaign for compliance called Lighting the Way from Integrity to Success. In addition, a new mobile app called the Beacon was developed in collaboration and is now used by everyone in the organization as a centralized digital hub for compliance policies, information, and updates.
“The compliance officer acts as the conscience of the organization and must earn the trust and respect of employees,” he says. “One of my main goals has always been making sure that I am highly visible and that employees feel comfortable approaching me. Employees at my company know that my door is always open for them and I feel like it is a small victory every time that an employee comes to my office with a question or a concern rather than reporting it through our anonymous compliance reporting line.”
Always looking for ways to innovate, Mr. D’Ambrosio had the dean of the Boston College School of Business, Andy Boynton, speak at a recent Sunovion meeting about the difference between innovation and invention.
“This is important in our industry because while so much attention, and rightfully so, is paid to what is coming out of the R&D organization, support functions such as compliance need to support that output and the eventual commercialization of products,” Mr. D’Ambrosio says. “I am constantly challenging my team to keep innovating and to keep our approach to compliance fresh and relevant.”
He motivates his team by ensuring that they are doing work that is engaging and rewarding and that they receive every opportunity to grow professionally. Mr. D’Ambrosio truly loves going to work each day because he enjoys what he does.
“Compliance is the perfect fit for me and I have found the sweet spot for my career because the role matches perfectly with my personality, background, and experience,” he says.
Giving back matters to Mr. D’Ambrosio, who for the last 10 years, has been working with the McGuire Memorial Foundation, a home and school for children who are severely physically and developmentally challenged, based outside of Pittsburgh.
“The work at McGuire inspires me because the kids have had to overcome so much to achieve things in their daily lives that most of us take for granted,” he says.
Getting to Know…
Title: Senior VP, Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer
Company: Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Education: Health Care Compliance Certification Program, Seton Hall University School of Law; JD, Health Law and Policy, Seton Hall University School of Law; MBA, International Business, Rutgers; International Management Exchange Program, École Superieure de Commerce; B.S., Finance, Rider University
Hobbies: Cooking, traveling, running along the Charles River
Bucket List: Take the great American road trip across country; write a book
Associations: Pharmaceutical Compliance Forum; Seton Hall University School of Law
Tweet at: @ sun_compliance
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
Dr. Judy Swilley
Partnering for Success
Driven to innovate by Need
Judy Swilley, Ph.D., looked into the CRO future and saw that the transactional relationship model of yesterday was not going to sustain the needs of today, so she set out to establish a new model in which sponsors and CROs act as true partners, with shared goals and shared risks to form alliance partnerships.
Early on, she recognized that the industry was evolving toward more strategic partnerships and had the vision and foresight to create new roles in the organization that were focused on managing these types of partnerships and making them as successful as possible for both INC Research and its partners.
The executive VP was pivotal in securing INC Research’s functional service provider (FSP) alliance with a key customer. The FSP relationship she created was one of the first of its kind in the industry and it has continued to grow and prosper. This success can be largely attributed to the close collaboration she nurtured with senior leadership at the customer and to the dedicated resource business unit that she built from the ground up for delivery of the FSP services for this partnership.
Today, this unit comprises more than 500 people, which she helped train to specifically manage clinical development activities for the alliance. To ensure success, she also helped set up key metrics to guide decision making and make improvements, and implemented an executive governance structure to help drive the relationship.
“I’d have to say successfully leading and then delivering the largest award in INC’s history back in 2011 was a real highlight and an incredible team effort by many people globally,” Dr. Swilley says.
The business development activities associated with this award were rigorous and took place during the integration period with Kendle International. That alone could have been a challenging situation to navigate, but Dr. Swilley took it all in stride, gelling the two legacy companies together and successfully selling the enhanced value and benefits of the new INC Research to the customer.
The integration was old hat to Dr. Swilley, as she has been through nine mergers and acquisitions in her pharmaceutical career. Even with all that experience, she says she still encountered challenges.
“Leading global teams through mergers and acquisitions, and keeping those teams focused and motivated during times of real change, is a huge challenge,” she says.
Dr. Swilley has also led the strategic alliance management group at INC for some time (in addition to leading global clinical operations management). These groups have been essential to INC Research’s success. The strategic alliance management group has been pioneering customized alliance/partnership models with customers to gain efficiency and ensure optimized performance
As a pioneer in the development of the FSP model, Dr. Swilley must wear many hats, performing multiple roles on the account as needed. She can be observed being involved with the day-to-day management of projects while also retaining overall oversight. Her willingness to do what is needed, regardless of the role typical to perform the task, inspires the team to work with the same level of commitment.
She strives to bring her passion and energy to her team every day.
“This is a very demanding business, so remaining positive and forward-focused are very critical,” she says.
Colleagues say one of the keys to her success is her ability to make connections with people at all levels. She goes the extra mile to engage with people on a professional and personal level. For example, she holds regular calls with new team members to discuss their on-boarding experience and asks for candid feedback. This often gets translated into an action plan to improve the process.
Based on her leadership style, work ethic and dynamic personality, she excels at creating self-managed, high-performing teams that strive for excellence.
A true leader, Dr. Swilley is able to rally her teams much like a sports coach to achieve great things in terms of productivity, predictability, and the ability to foster and manage leadership within her organization.
Getting to Know…
Title: Executive VP, General Manager, Global Clinical Operations and Alliance Management
Company: INC Research
Education: Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Liverpool; B.S., Pharmacology,
Family: Husband, Roger; son, Patrick;
step-daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Brian
Hobbies: Sports, yoga, running, cooking, travel
Bucket List: To attend all four tennis Grand Slams in one calendar year
Associations: AVOCA Quality Consortium
Social Media: LinkedIn, YouTube
Digital Health Innovator
Driven to innovate by Potential
An innovator at the crossroads of technology, patient care and physician dialogue, Joe Doyle exudes passion, professionalism and stealth-like digital director skills.
Under Mr. Doyle’s leadership of the digital strategy, HCB Health has produced cutting- edge mobile applications for a variety of healthcare needs.
For example, PoopMD is an app that was built for Johns Hopkins that can help save the lives of newborns pre-disposed to liver diseases. This was a professional highlight for Mr. Doyle.
With Mr. Doyle at the helm, HCB became a case study by Apple for how to best use iBooks technology. Under his leadership and vision, the agency produced test drive apps for capital pieces of medical equipment, which was and still is on the cutting-edge of mobile applications.
Colleagues say he is an excellent leader and mentor who encourages greatness on his teams and throughout the agency.
He recognizes the value of digital, and indeed uses digital tools to share the latest findings and forecasts to others in the industry, pointing out what’s important, why and what it all means to healthcare.
He has created completely new tools for clients, changing the way information is shared and how physicians practice medicine.
No matter what he is working on, Mr. Doyle has a special way of putting clients into their customers’ shoes and enabling them to see the work from their viewpoint.
On every project, Mr. Doyle encourages his teams to push the limits. By example, he pushes them to innovate, to think about how to make a client’s product or idea come alive across as many digital platforms as possible, and leads them to exceed client expectations.
Mr. Doyle sets the example for his team, encouraging them to innovate, to think about how to make a client’s product or idea come alive.
He encourages those around him to be open, to be obvious, and to think deeper into every challenge. To do so, he asks them open-ended, thought-provoking questions, saying deep inside everyone there are insight-filled ideas waiting to emerge.
And he makes happiness a core part of peer development.
Vibrant, upbeat and warm, Mr. Doyle thrives on troubleshooting. The healthcare business motivates Mr. Doyle because it presents the opportunity to create solutions that will ultimately help a real person down the line — even if they’re aimed at surgeons or other healthcare professionals.
But he also takes to heart good advice from HCB Health Chief Operating Officer Lloyd Sheep, who told him: “It’s just business. At the end of the day, all we’re doing is conducting business, and not to take it to heart.”
Giving back is also important to Mr. Doyle. He was a founding member of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup, an organization that has not only continued to grow after he left for Austin, but one that has had a lasting effect on the cycling community and its missions for engaging youth and women’s cycling. Thanks to his hard work and leadership, it has blossomed and grown to be one of the biggest series in the nation.
He remains a strong supporter of World Bicycle Relief, noting that empowering people in emerging cultures with the noblest form of mobility allows them to live safe and realize education, healthcare, and more.
“Especially for young girls, the bicycle is a game changer for them to live safely,” he says.
Getting to Know…
Title: Director of Digital Strategy
Company: HCB Health
Education: M.A., Communications and Training, Governors State University; B.A., Media Communications, Governors State University
Family: Wife, Stacey; twins, Katherine and Patrick, 7
Hobbies: Racing cyclocross bikes, playing hockey, listening to live music, and teaching his kids new and interesting things
Bucket List: Take a road trip around Europe with his family, have sushi in Japan, ride a bike across Ireland, see his kids realize their dreams
Awards/Honors: 2014 IAC – Best Marketing Mobile App; 2014 IAC – Best Medical Mobile App; 2014 IAC – Best Medical Equipment Marketing App; 2014 IAC – Best Medical Integrated Ad Campaign; 2014 Austin ADDY – Non-traditional/Interactive; 2010 MM&M Award Finalist – Best Branded Website; 2007 SXSW Interactive Awards finalist; 2007 Internet Advertising Competition Awards winner; 2007 Outstanding Website, Web Marketing Association; 2007 Merit winner – HOW Magazine’s 9th Annual Interactive Design Awards; 2003 CADM Tempo Award Winner
Associations: Social Media Breakfast Club – Austin; Austin Marketing Association; IxDA – Austin
Tweet at: @HCB_Joe
Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter
The Story in the Data
Driven to innovate by WOW
Combining psychology and technology, Eugene Lee is helping the world’s leading pharma brands truly engage their target audiences. He brings a fresh perspective to the digital advertising landscape in the industry.
Having started working at Communications Media Inc. (CMI) in 1994, Mr. Lee has helped grow the company into a major media player in the pharmaceutical industry.
Perhaps Mr. Lee’s greatest impact was his involvement in transforming CMI from an agency known for its traditional media prowess to one that today stands apart as a truly channel-agnostic healthcare communications firm. He personally developed and delivered training materials for CMI’s staff, formed key partnerships with technology providers, built entirely new capabilities such as analytics and search engine marketing, and led several new business efforts. Along the way Mr. Lee paved new ways to promote to HCPs, including a first of its kind digital campaign that targeted specific physicians on a brand target file.
Mr. Lee has long been an advocate of channel neutrality in engaging physician audiences, which puts the focus on the physician rather than on the numbers.
He cares deeply about delivering appropriate healthcare messages to both HCPs and consumers that can alter their lives for the better. Although much of his work is in data and analytics, including creating innovative tools for measurement and audience targeting, he always searches for innovative solutions that will allow the man on the street to grasp the concept rather than immersing himself in wonk talk.
The underlying goal to everything that he does at CMI, which he says is true for his colleagues as well, is to be the indispensable partner to his clients.
“Not only would I break bricks for them, but I also want them to know that I and my team live and breathe their business, and succeed only when they do,” he says. “We’ve been able to explore many ways to be that partner, and on my agenda is to continue to be that strategic partner who counsels and guides them through to their holy grail of success.”
Curious by nature and eager to always be learning, Mr. Lee strives for perfection even while knowing that it is unattainable.
He is always connected, not only staying on top of what is happening in the pharma space, but also looking at how outside industries will affect CMI’s clients. He is one of the first people others turn to with a new concept, product, or perspective because they know that his all-encompassing vision will vet the challenges and opportunities that the new concept will face.
Mr. Lee’s extensive knowledge of healthcare media has been leveraged by many organizations through speaking engagements and focus groups.
His knowledge of technology and its interface with healthcare makes him an asset not only to his own organization, but to the medical media industry overall. In 2011 he was voted onto the board of directors of The Association of Medical Media, where he counsels countless medical publishers on how to improve their businesses to better position themselves for a digital future. In this role, Mr. Lee has been instrumental in equipping publishers with the right tools and technologies to do their jobs better — from on-boarding ad server technologies in the early days of digital media selling to readying them for programmatic media buys today. In 2012, he was asked to join the Digital Health Coalition as a digital health scholar.
He stands up for his staff and does what he can to ensure their well-being in their work life. And he continually engages those he works with to become more efficient and think at a higher level. He does not micromanage, but is always willing to give advice to push his colleagues’ analysis of the details further. He is loyal to what is right, to those he services, to those he works with, to those who will take his place, and to those who have helped him.
He inspires by never giving up, knowing that no matter how hard it may seem there is always a way, and by being passionate about what he does. CMI’s mission, the work it does, and the people he leads motivates him every day.
He abides by a simple piece of advice: to be a good listener because you never learn anything with your mouth open.
Getting to Know…
Title: Executive VP, Managing Director
Company: Communications Media Inc.
Education: B.A., Fairfield University
Family: Wife, parents, two older sisters, two brothers-in-law, two nephews, one niece, 32 aunts and uncles, and more than 200 cousins
Hobbies: Martial arts, DIY homeownership, tough mudders, fishing, wine enthusiast, foodie, cooking, technology/general geek-ness
Tweet at: eugene_lee; Klout
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, foursquare, Flickr
Relentless Drive for Ideas
Driven to innovate by Necessity
Imbued with a competitive fire and relentless pursuit of the most powerful and perfect story, Susan Perlbachs is constantly striving to ensure the brands she manages are succeeding in the marketplace.
She is constantly pushing for a more competitive strategy, more competitive creative, and more competitive engagement solutions that will separate her brands from the competition.
As the executive director at GSWNY, Ms. Perlbachs is leading the agency as she and her teams have gone through an impressive streak of new business wins. Under Ms. Perlbachs’ lead, GSWNY has achieved an impressive 85% win rate, amassing eight new agency of record (AOR) assignments in six months: five for professional AOR, two for DTC AOR, and one for digital AOR.
She says a true highlight is working with her creative partner Nick Capanear to cultivate an entrepreneurial, creative culture that currently embodies GSWNY, allowing great work to get produced.
“It’s an environment where ideas are king, and safe thinking gets squashed fast,” she says. “We’re a creatively fueled agency through and through, and innovative thinking is valued above all else.”
It’s also been a huge challenge to get the agency to this point.
“Every client will tell you that it is looking for something new, different, and breakthrough, and agency folks will tell you on interviews that they’re looking to do something that hasn’t been done and it’s difficult to bring truly breakthrough ideas to fruition,” she says. “At any given moment, more variables are out of our control than are in our control. Those days become an exercise in faith. In fact, most days we have to believe — in the absence of any proof or positive reinforcement — that remaining steadfast and conducting yourself in a manner that’s true to your vision will pay off.”
This success is the culmination of a long and successful career for Ms. Perlbachs that started in copy and has resulted in award-winning work and numerous successful U.S. and global product launches.
She is an active leader who never takes a back seat and is always pushing forward and expecting the same of her teams.
Ms. Perlbachs has an amazing array of experience — spanning 18 years — and success with DTP and DTC audiences in areas that range from oncology brands to over-the-counter products, including the supervision of multichannel teams for U.S. and global brands.
While she expects hard work and great thinking, she holds herself to those standards as well.
“I come up with strategic angles, creative campaigns, and I’ll roll up my sleeves to write copy if necessary,” she says. “No one is above anything; we all are in this for the good of the whole.”
What motivates her is building an agency people want to join, contribute to, and feel good about.
“In my experience, if people feel invested in the outcome of something, they’re motivated,” she says. “I’d like to think that at GSWNY, we all believe in what we’re doing, which makes us want to do more of it and do it better.”
She maintains that people who are cocky enough to think they have this business all figured out, will be cut down to size soon enough.
“This is what makes this industry exciting; you can’t get comfortable, which is perfect for me,” she says. “Getting comfortable makes me uncomfortable because you’re bound to miss something. The industry is constantly changing and if you’re not innovating, you probably have an expiration date on you that you haven’t noticed yet.”
Outside of her day-to-day work responsibilities, Ms. Perlbachs is a strong supporter of the Special Olympics as it’s something her sister participated in as a child.
Getting to Know…
Titles: Executive Director, GSWNY; Executive VP, Executive Creative Director
Company: GSW Worldwide
Education: B.A., Occidental College
Hobbies: Wine and food; running to offset the wine and food
Awards/Honors: Agency of the Year, 2014, Med Ad News; MM&M/industry creative honors; 2009 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Rising Star
Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, foursquare
A Passion for Process Improvement
Driven to innovate by Inefficiency
Reimagining better business strategies and processes is part of what Heather Gervais does best, and over the years, it has become a signature of her leadership abilities. According to colleagues, Ms. Gervais has demonstrated a commitment to getting things done and developing talent.
Both strategic and process-minded, she is able to move fluidly between entrepreneurial aspects of a business to process-oriented ones. However, what truly sets Ms. Gervais apart is her commitment to the task at hand and her ability to successfully manage at many levels simultaneously whether coordinating a whole department or a single project or managing client relationships versus overseeing team members. As the head of the Epocrates’ Princeton, N.J., office, the home base for the company’s commercial business and operations, she is a positive presence who inspires trust, loyalty, and dedication among her teams and takes an active role in the development of everyone she works with.
Today, in part due to Ms. Gervais’ efforts, Epocrates remains the No. 1 medical reference app among U.S. physicians, and she was instrumental in the successful merger during the acquisition by athenahealth, a leading provider of cloud-based services for EHR, practice management, and care coordination
The acquisition of Epocrates by athenahealth was a game changer, not only for the two companies but for the healthcare industry as a whole. In what she considers her biggest career highlight to date, Ms. Gervais used her analysis, formulation, and implementation skills to help successfully bring together the two companies into one healthcare powerhouse.
Ms. Gervais stewarded the acquisition from the Epocrates side, laying the groundwork for a seamless integration. Building on her previous experience leading strategic business partnerships, managing multi-disciplinary teams, and re-engineering business processes for organizations, she brought clarity, insight, and precision to the transaction.
Currently, Ms. Gervais is focused on building crucial commercial partnerships and reimagining the role of Epocrates as a complementary service to athenahealth. To this end, she and her athena counterparts, have been tasked with defining the roadmap for core business solutions that support better patient outcomes and build future revenue models.
In a major initiative led by Ms. Gervais, the companies are creating a new multichannel marketing model in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries based on moments of care.
“We’re helping our clients understand the clinical workflows of their target HCPs — the specific moments of care, when treatment decisions are being made,” she says.
Before the acquisition, Ms. Gervais, who joined the company in September 2010, served as senior VP of commercial operations for Epocrates. Never one to underestimate the value of adaptability, she in a mere three years has reinvented the persona of Epocrates as a flexible, client-centered, open-minded marketing channel that can respond to the rapidly evolving needs of clients.
Ms. Gervais may have learned her team-building skills from her very first job at the age of 10. Sharing the job of delivering the local penny newspaper in her hometown with her three siblings, she started developing her work ethic and her passion for process improvement. Inspired by her father, she also learned that she could do anything she put her mind to, as long as she worked hard and treated others with respect. In turn, she tries to inspire those around her by developing positive relationships, being a good listener, and exuding passion.
What she enjoys most about her current position at Epocrates is teaching, learning, building and solving problems with smart, hard-working individuals. She leads by example and with a sense of humor.
“I love going to work because of the people who I am blessed to work with,” she says. “In today’s world, we are all connected 24/7 and we have a hard time separating personal time from professional time, so I think it’s important to have fun while you are working hard.”
In the coming months, as healthcare and pharma markets inevitably shift, Ms. Gervais will undoubtedly continue the hard work of “reimagining” the next step.
Getting to Know…
Title: VP, Commercial Operations
Company: Epocrates, an athenahealth service
Education: B.S., Finance, Marketing & Computer Information Systems, LaSalle University
Hobbies: Golf, decorating
Bucket List: Visit every continent; attend the following major sports events: Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup Championship, and the Masters; and golf at Pebble Beach
Associations: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+
Smoothing the Way
Driven to innovate by Problems
Don’t worry about something if you don’t know it’s going to happen. That’s the profound approach to life and work that Karen Roy takes.
Every day she goes into work and while she has no idea what problems will arise or what she is walking into, she’s always ready to face the day.
“I am very intense about anything that I do,” she says. “I love solving issues. I love solving problems. I love winning deals. I love helping clients. I love making people happy.”
Ms. Roy is helping to lift Phlexglobal to the next level, and through her various initiatives she has helped the company to become the trial master file experts. One of Ms. Roy’s main roles at Phlexglobal is the development of the electronic trial master file solution for the company — its PhlexEview product.
But her involvement in the trial master file field extends far further than that.
Outside of the company, Ms. Roy is co-leading the TMF Reference Model initiative and chairing the steering committee for standardizing TMF contents, naming, structure, and metadata globally. Every time a company runs a trial, it is mandated to have a trial master file for documents that tells the story of the trial.
The objective of the Trial Master File Reference Model is to deliver a method for standardization for the industry.
“Imagine, every company — sponsors and CROs — had a different table of contents for its trial master file, every company included different things in its trial master file, every company had different formats for storing documents; there was zero standardization,” she says. “Through the Trial Master File Reference Model, we have brought a standard structure to a significant proportion of the industry.”
Ms. Roy is working with a friend and colleague, Lisa Mulcahy, to head the initiative, which has also been presented to regulators. To date, there are more than 350 people in the group, including involvement from around 200 companies.
“CROs and pharmaceutical companies can now follow the same process when they’re working on trial master files,” she says. “It’s brought a significant element of consistency, quality, and granularity to clinical trials.”
It has been an enormous challenge and, according to Ms. Roy, the rewards have also been enormous as standardization means improvements for patients.
Another huge challenge was taking Phlexglobal through a private equity-backed management buyout in 2010, which has helped to focus the company’s direction.
Ms. Roy says the company has a very good piece of technology, and good services and despite being a reasonably small company, it punches way above its weight.
With an honest and open approach to management, Ms. Roy seeks to help her employees reach their career goals and she is intent on making them look good.
She inspires those around her by her focus, enthusiasm, and dedication. Ms. Roy draws on her knowledge and ability to understand situations and translate them into solving problems.
Passionate about what she does, Ms. Roy says she is motivated by the company’s success, her colleagues’ success, and her team’s success.
Ms. Roy began her career in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa as a sales representative detailing Prozac, but she quickly transitioned into a hospital job because of her pharmacy background.
Having lost her mother, who was also her best friend, to breast cancer, Ms. Roy is committed to raising money and awareness for breast cancer. She did a Moon Walk, which is a 26-mile (marathon) walk across London in a decorated bra. And earlier this year, she did a 400-kilometer cycle across Vietnam and Cambodia over 10 days in 38 celsius heat, in aid of Plan International’s campaign “Because I am a Girl,” which raises money for underprivileged girls who are forced into marriage young, who are abused, and don’t get an education.
“During the ride, we visited the school that we were raising money for, which was fabulous,” she says.
While in Cambodia, Ms. Roy’s intensity and commitment to be fully immersed in the moment, project, or cause, were just as evident as they are in her business relationships.
“We went to the killing fields in Cambodia, which was very sobering and eye-opening,” she says. “We saw a lot of the two countries and got to do some crazy things. For example, I ate a tarantula, I ate silkworms, and I ate crickets.”
That’s a true commitment to being full present.
Getting to Know…
Karen Jane Roy
Title: Chief Business Development Officer
Company: Phlexglobal Ltd.
Education: B. Pharm., University of the Witwatersrand
Family: Two sons, 11 and 14; parents (mother deceased, father living in South Africa), stepmother, stepfather, brother, two stepbrothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and two Labradors
Hobbies: Street dancing, walking the dogs, gardening, cooking
Bucket List: Go to the Galapagos Islands; go to Machu Picchu; walk across South America; participating in London to Brighton 80-mile overnight cycle ride
Awards/Honors: DIA Recognition team award for the TMF Reference Model — for knowledge exchange that fosters innovation to raise the level of health and well-being worldwide
Associations: Institute of Clinical Research, Drug Information Association, Scientific Archivist Group, Steering committee for the DIA Electronic Document Management Conference, Conference committee for the Pharmaceutical Contract Management Group
Tweet at: @kazzajroy
Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube
Keeping HR Real
Driven to innovate by Hope
Nicolette Sherman puts the human in human resources. Ms. Sherman joined Sanofi in 2008 as the HR commercial lead for U.S. pharmaceutical operations, supporting the generalized therapeutics, specialized therapeutics, and managed markets teams, and she and was promoted after 18 months to VP, human resources, global oncology, where she focused on all aspects of building the division through staffing and selection, talent management and development, and performance rewards and recognition. In 2013, she moved into her current role as VP, people and organizational development, where she leads a team of human resources professionals, to drive individual talent development, team effectiveness, and organizational performance.
Ms. Sherman and her team are responsible for learning and new technologies, talent management, organizational development, strategic workforce planning, and culture and diversity and inclusion across the North American portfolio of businesses.
The personable, bubbly, energetic woman believes that if you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life, and she loves people.
“HR has been a great career for me,” she says. “I really believe people matter most. It’s important to keep it real, and I enjoy bringing the human elements into the workplace and poking fun at some of the mundane dilemmas that we all face every day. My goal is to leverage humor and transparency to let people see there’s always a balance between life and work.”
Ms. Sherman believes one of the biggest challenges for the industry today is hiring, retaining, and developing appropriate talent for the evolving roles that are redefining the pharmaceutical industry. The focus today needs to be on employee engagement in creating relationships and enabling alignment across teams and organizations, and preparing them for what the future will bring.
“The challenge is to prepare today’s leaders to step into new shoes; we are looking at different dynamics and future world of new possibilities,” she says,” she says.
At Sanofi, Ms. Sherman is working to create an end-to-end series of offerings that are available both by way of learning and leadership development and related to talent management so that people can be more directed about their careers and how to engage with their management to gain support to realize their aspirations.
“The industry is going through a significant transformation,” she says. “We must focus on ensuring that our people are developing the broad set of skills and competencies they need to be successful. Also, we need to be rethinking about how to engage with staff in different and meaningful ways, because the workforce is changing there is a trend toward the commoditization of labor.”
One of Ms. Sherman’s toughest assignments to date was building the Sanofi global oncology division as head of HR for the overall business.
“This involved cross-matrix, cross-cultural collaboration; the selection and onboarding of an incredibly talented team; and building an infrastructure and the governance to enable work processes at Sanofi,” she says.
Her current goal is to strengthen the Center of Excellence (COE) to build a culture of inclusion, leadership, learning, and organization effectiveness in alignment with core business objectives, and to continue to deliver programs, tools, consultation, and services to support engagement, growth, and change across the regional portfolio of businesses.
Ms. Sherman believes mentoring is extremely important in her role.
“I get energized working with people to help them maximize both their satisfaction, as well as their impact,” she says. “I also love the networking and connectivity of our industry. It is an honor and privilege to be able to connect people so they can make their own magic happen.”
Ms. Sherman also believes in paying it forward.
“So many people have played a role in helping me grow and develop, supporting me as I reached for broader goals and achieving higher aspirations, that it is wonderful to be able to engage with people, often prior team members, to help provide some outside counsel and play a small part in their journey,” she says.
Supportive at work and out, Ms. Sherman sits on the corporate advisory board of Deirdre’s House, a center for child victims of abuse and/or neglect and for children of domestic violence. Deirdre’s House is the only site in Morris County, N.J., where a child victim can be interviewed and digitally recorded by law enforcement, medically examined, treated by a pediatric abuse specialist, prepared for trial, and clinically counseled in English or Spanish — all under one roof.
She also supports the NJ Battered Women’s Shelter, the American Cancer Society, and Hope Lodge, which provides support programs and lodging to cancer patients and their caregivers.
“These causes are important to me because these associations reach back to provide care and services to those in greatest need — women and children in times of despair, and cancer patients who are fighting the battle of their lives,” she says. “They are our unsung heroes.”
Getting to Know…
Title: VP, North America, People and Organizational Development
Education: Master’s in Human Resource
Management, Rutgers University; M.A., Political
Science, University of Delaware;B.A., Government, Lehigh University
Family: Husband, Steve; son, Justin, 14; daughter, Lauren, 10
Hobbies: Boating, saltwater fishing, reading, running, anything outdoors
Bucket List: Swim with dolphins, visit Hawaii, take a hot air balloon ride, complete a triathlon, write a children’s book
Associations: Boston Chapter, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association; Senior Professional in Human Resource; Center for Creative Leadership; Women Unlimited LEAD; DDI; Hogan Assessment; MBTI; Deidre’s House; Northern NJ Chapter of the Association for Talent Development
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
Outset Determines Outcome
Driven to innovate by Service
A nurse, a powerful manager, and a born leader, Susan Seroskie brings tremendous value to Advanced Clinical’s table.
With her experience as a nurse, she brings first-hand knowledge of care requirements for the drug development industry. Her management experience lends itself to developing effective sourcing models that address the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. As an innovative leader she is admired for her inspirational guidance of motivated and dedicated resources.
According to Ms. Seroskie, her critical care nursing background fuels a real desire to never give up and honed her skills to focus on overall goals while paying close attention to the details.
She is engaged in all levels of the business, and she inspires others by rolling up her sleeves and submerging herself into the day-to-day operations to help move the organization toward success. An excellent communicator and listener, colleagues say her greatest strength is in leading and managing people. She understands that people work harder when they are recognized for doing good work, so she implemented a reward program. She listens to her team and follows through on her actions. She strives to make, and keep, a cohesive team that allows all members to work together.
“It’s all about being personal,” she says. “It’s not just business — it’s always personal to someone. People want to know that they matter, that they are valued, and their contributions acknowledged.”
Ms. Seroskie’s career highlight was building a successful global strategic resourcing business and moving a large, global clinical operations group through several mergers and working with the team to ensure alignment, compliance, efficiency, and solvency.
Earlier in her career, she built the PharmaNet Resourcing Solutions business unit from the ground up. As the first unit of its kind for PharmaNet, the goal was to eliminate the need for an external agency to staff the CRO and its client companies. Ms. Seroskie collaborated with all departments of the organization, including IT, legal, operations, HR, etc. to ensure all areas could come together to develop a service offering that would be seamless to both the CRO and to a client.
At Advanced Clinical, she has enhanced recruitment and retention policies by developing and tracking meaningful metrics that resonate with both client and contractor. In addition to bringing to bear significant research experience, cogent contracting, and pertinent metrics, Ms. Seroskie has infused the whole initiative with an up-to-the-minute alignment process that helps ensure that the right match is arranged at the outset. She has provided guidance and instruction to her clients, her employees, and her consultant base while infusing the entire enterprise with a sense of accomplishment, commitment, and fun.
Her high regard for process and quality and her commitment that extends to each individual with whom she has contact, makes her a continual source of inspiration, support, and true learning.
Her motto — the outset determines the outcome — comes from the best career advice she ever received and resonates through everything she does. The advice was that planning and communication are keys to any successful endeavor.
“There is only one chance to make an impact at the initial implementation of a study, activity, milestone, or relationship,” she says. “Therefore, the outset determines the outcome.”
Ms. Seroskie credits her family and especially her mother with giving her the initiative to pursue her career in nursing and then as a CRO service provider.
“My entire immediate and extended family is dedicated to service and supporting people. My mother has been a registered nurse for more than 50 years and is still going strong,” Ms. Seroskie says. “My mother always said we could be and do anything we wanted. She instilled a great work ethic in all of us, which included caring, kindness, never giving up, and following through.”
Outside of her day-to-day activities, Ms. Seroskie supports Soroptimists International and Habitat for Humanity. Soroptimists supports women and girls globally through programs that lead to social and economic empowerment. Working with Habitat for Humanity is particularly rewarding, especially when meeting the families during the home dedication, she says.
As an avid traveler and photographer, Ms. Seroskie enjoys documenting her experiences through film, print, or travelogues.
“I love talking with people,” she says. “People are fascinating and I believe everyone has a story.”
She hopes to one day have the opportunity to share those stories through writing or photojournalism. Some of Ms. Seroskie’s photography has already been published and has won awards.
Getting to Know…
Susan M. Seroskie
Title: Executive VP, Strategic Resourcing
Company: Advanced Clinical
Family: Parents, brothers, and dog, Annie
Hobbies: Traveling, the arts; fashion, food, music, movies, photography, reading, learning, architecture, coastal exploration, spinning
Bucket List: Learning and adventure through travel
Associations: Pennsylvania Nursing Association, Drug Information Association, Association of Clinical Research Professionals
Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook
Dr. Michelle Rohrer
Driven to innovate by Patients
Over the past 21 years, the career of Michelle Rohrer, Ph.D., has exponentially evolved from a lab bench scientist at Genentech to an influential leader at the biotech powerhouse.
As VP of U.S. regulatory for Genentech Roche, Dr. Rohrer oversees the company’s regulatory development strategies, commercial aspects, and policy efforts in the United States. In addition, she is also the South San Francisco (SSF) Site Head for Roche’s Global Product Development organization.
She started out as a post-doctoral fellow at Genentech. She then spent several years as a clinical scientist and project team leader.
In her roles as a regulatory leader for the last 15 years, she has worked across all therapeutic areas and led teams through events that impact the company’s corporate reputation with the FDA and public at large.
“I am an influencer and policymaker at the national level with ideas that have become legislation,” she says.
For example, she lobbied Congress to reduce the FDA’s Advisory Committee conflict of interest rules; today there are new conflict of interest rules as U.S. law. And she oversaw regulatory policy efforts that led to a breakthrough therapy designation.
Dr. Rohrer is credited with several other major accomplishments: accountable for FDA Advisory Committee preparation; prepared documentation that resulted in unanimous positive votes for Perjeta Neoadjuvant and Lucentis DME; led the Avastin breast cancer indication hearing and all corporate activities before withdrawal; oversaw regulatory policy efforts that became the breakthrough therapy designation; led the U.S. regulatory organization through merger with Roche; created and led Genentech Development Directors Forum, a leadership training program that served about 140 development directors; and led Genentech’s liaison with the Leadership California organization. She was responsible for organizing the selection of Genentech’s women directors for each Leadership California class.
Despite her high achievements, Dr. Rohrer says for a time she was often underestimated.
“It was a kick to prove the skeptics wrong when I surprised them by succeeding,” she says. “A wise mentor pointed out to me that I was wasting a lot of time having to convince others of my abilities. She advised me to strive to be an individual who was respected rather than one who was underestimated. This was a game-changer for me.”
Her purpose as a leader is to inspire others and in her role as SSF product development site head she has created a strong community for the approximately 1,400 product development employees based in South San Francisco.
She writes a weekly inspirational email/blog that reaches more than 2,000 people each week, has a readership extending beyond SSF PD, and is read globally.
Her recently started blog Michelle Rohrer Inspiring Others to Lead — michellerohrer.wordpress.com — touches on such topics as simple methods to facilitate authentic conversations in the workplace between a manager and an employee, a guide to effective meetings, and how to be a better employee. She is a sought-after speaker on career development, leadership, and regulatory issues.
With a career punctuated by significant contributions to improving the clinical regulatory landscape, Dr. Rohrer says when it comes to innovating for the future, despite the challenges there is a need to keep innovation alive and well so that patients benefit more quickly.
“Ten plus years is too long a development time for major new pharmaceutical advances; patients are waiting and need innovation now,” she says.
She hopes that the advances that have been made in science related to understanding disease biology will translate into meaningful benefit to patients.
In terms of the challenges she faces in her role as a regulatory expert and leader, she says there is pressure to constantly keep up with the evolving policy landscape and investing time to build new relationships.
In 2013, Dr. Rohrer was named by the SF Business Times as one of The Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business. And recently, she received Genentech Women Professionals Group’s Leadership Excellence award.
She inspires others by telling her story, and encourages those she leads to stay focused on the science, the people, and the patients.
Getting to Know…
Michelle Rohrer, Ph.D.
Title: VP, U.S. Regulatory
Company: Genentech, Roche
Education: Ph.D., Nutrition Science, University of California, Davis; B.S., ?UC Davis; M.S., Nutrition, Biochem minor, UC Davis
Family: Husband, two daughters
Hobbies: Reading, hiking, running
Awards/Honors: SF Business Times Most Influential Women in Bay Area 2013; Genentech Women Professional, Leadership Excellence Award
Tweet at: @OsterRohrer
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+
The Chess Master of Reinvention
Driven to innovate by Pressure
T odd Skrinar is and always has been a self-described behind the scenes guy who helps others develop the strategic answers when they are under pressure to solve a problem. Keen to avoid the limelight, he puts his clients’ needs front and center, following some great advice he received early in his career.
“A mentor once told me to focus on the little things and big things will happen,” he says. “As long as you stay fundamentally focused on simplifying clients’ life and helping them advance in their careers, you’ll always have a cornerstone to go back to when things get complex or challenging.”
A principal analytics leader in EY’s Life Sciences practice, Mr. Skrinar brings more than 22 years of experience to his role; his expertise is applying technology for competitive advantage with both large and emerging organizations.
At EY, he champions the use of big data and analytics in the health and life-sciences industries.
And in today’s ever-changing and ever-challenging healthcare environment, things do get complex, and clients call on Mr. Skrinar to lead them through the challenges.
“When clients call me and my firm, it’s because they’re under pressure and they are struggling to innovate — whether it’s process innovation or business model innovation or product innovation — and going it alone isn’t getting it done,” he says.
According to colleagues, clients know that they can count on Mr. Skrinar, and they loyally follow him throughout their and his career moves.
Clients know he has their best interests at heart and will give them straight-up answers. When presented with challenges or issues, Mr. Skrinar steps back and thinks about the broader impact to the clients’ business rather than providing a knee-jerk response to the immediate issue at hand.
Mr. Skrinar believes this is the only way to approach a problem and he has witnessed an increasing narrow-mindedness in problem solving throughout the industry.
The external pressures in the industry are causing many leaders to become incredibly short term in their thinking, so he strives to bring a balance between short-term and long-term thinking when coming up with strategies for clients.
“If you’re only focused on what you can see directly in front of you, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself with limited choices,” he says.
Mr. Skrinar brings an uncommon blend of innovative thinking, client-facing relationship-management skills, and talent-development abilities to both clients and colleagues, and is renowned at EY for his quick and creative idea generation, and the unusual paths he often takes to get there.
Colleagues refer to him as the chess master who sees the entire board, in the present as well as several moves ahead. Mr. Skrinar possesses an uncanny ability to connect the dots, see solution possibilities, and devise innovative answers that can convert problems into opportunities.
He has a proven track record of anticipating market changes three to five years out and preparing clients for the change, as well as to look at the full life-sciences life cycle, which encompasses customers, patients, partners, and providers.
In these volatile times for the industry, Mr. Skrinar has helped many companies reinvent themselves to succeed not only financially but in their ability to serve customers.
A career highlight, in fact, for Mr. Skrinar involved helping one client get a new manufacturing operation up and running, which had been brought to its knees by demand. Mr. Skrinar and his team through strategic transformation enabled the company, which was producing oncology therapeutics, to supply vital medicines at the scale necessary to save many lives.
“The organization was in dire straits; our ability to help the company through this transformation program and watching it come to fruition and seeing the results in the marketplace has without a doubt been my most fulfilling work,” he says.
Mr. Skrinar’s ability to see the whole picture paid off for another client that was facing the challenge of adopting a single and consistent set of management standards and business metrics to harmonize its global customer service operation.
“This was culturally a significant challenge because it involved having people from so many different geographies — Europe, South America, and the United States — work together to reach an agreement,” he says.
Like so many people who have been affected by cancer either through friends and family members, Mr. Skrinar supports the American Cancer Society as well as The Alzheimer’s Association.
He also devotes time to Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that strives to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Mr. Skrinar also believes that mentoring is important and provides a two-way advantage for both mentor and mentee.
“People can’t succeed without having a mentor and being a mentor is an excellent way to stay connected with how the younger generations of innovators are thinking about making the world work better,” he says.
Getting to Know…
Todd Stephen Skrinar
Title: Principal, Analytics Leader, Life Sciences Practice
Education: MBA, Emory University; B.S., Business Administration, Boston University
Family: Wife; daughter, 8; son, 5
Hobbies: Exploring the outdoors, snow skiing, boating, reading, movies
Bucket List: Take his children climbing to the top of Mt. Hood in Oregon like he did with his father
Social Media: LinkedIn
Igniting the Conversation
Driven to innovate by Patients
Fueled by a belief that business processes can be made simpler and more effective by empowering decision makers, Mark Cunningham is bringing together science and business planning.
Mr. Cunningham has been instrumental in helping to establish Janssen’s Research Immunology Therapeutic Area organization and the Research Immunology Scientific Council.
Drawing on good career advice that whatever you do, add value, Mr. Cunningham is focused on enhancing systems and processes that support the quality of the company’s nonregulatory data.
He has a unique ability to bring people together to foster different ways of thinking. He facilitates discussions and encourages people to always ask how processes interact in a spirit of overall business and scientific enrichment. This is made possible thanks to his special talent for summarizing complex matters and translating them into comprehensive and appealing verbal images, thus creating a common platform to effectively advance a conversation and come to great solutions.
Through the creation of an integrated unit within immunology research, called Strategy and Business Planning, Mr. Cunningham has helped to deliver a balance of science and business experience to ensure effective strategy execution through planning and operational discipline.
He has influenced corporate leadership by developing management strategies for the functions of research immunology as well as driving effective communication lines with partners across the organizations.
In addition, Mr. Cunningham remains dedicated to seamless strategy implementation by establishing governance for the portfolio and strategy teams of research immunology he is ensuring fast and efficient decision-making with accountability.
For example, he worked closely with healthcare compliance to develop appropriate processes for discovery activities and with finance on establishing the department’s budget and developing a business strategy, all of which have been critical to the continued success.
As part of the integration of a single new molecular entity portfolio, Mr. Cunningham worked with small molecule and large molecule team leaders as well as resource managers to focus on critical paths and issue resolution.
In terms of industry challenges, Mr. Cunningham notes that the shift in pharmaceutical research away from the turn-key process of drug discovery to a more disease-based understanding has brought a change to the industry.
“Managing the transition is a challenge from the perspectives of legacy mindset, adopting new drug discovery models, and incubating ideas in large pharmaceutical organizations,” Mr. Cunningham says. “The advantage is that this approach is a much more strategic way to ultimately impact the lives of patients.”
In his role as leader of the Spring House Campus Governance, Mr. Cunningham has been instrumental in transforming the R&D hub into a culture of collaboration and innovation, resulting in a vibrant scientific community among about 1,500 Janssen employees.
His commitment and success in bringing highly complex programs under control, and to a successful conclusion, has placed him in high demand.
Getting people to value communication as one of the most important drivers for executing strategies has been a challenge, but his enthusiasm and open and candid approach have proven to be effective not only within the organization’s industry-leading biologics space, but across the company’s global discovery arena.
A highlight for Mr. Cunningham has been the ability to create the right environment for teams to develop therapeutic solutions for patients.
“My hope is that we continue to put the patient first, we incentivize risk taking and innovation, and we provide a more secure environment for the thousands of families that rely upon the profession of science,” Mr. Cunningham says.
When working together on sitewide improvement projects, Mr. Cunningham’s voice is valued because he is not afraid to pause the conversation and challenge the project scope for long-term, strategic benefit, rather than accepting the status quo or that something is good enough for now.
Mr. Cunningham is very effective in personally engaging individuals and teams across the multifunctional matrix required for R&D, which is an optimal approach to leading people to overcome challenges.
He has a passion for talent development, and he inspires others to challenge the status quo. Understanding people, he says, is the best way to ensure teamwork. He motivates others by recognizing a job well done and constantly challenging his team to do better.
Mr. Cunningham is enthusiastic about professionals in the pharmaceutical industry taking a role as elders and sharing their wisdom with high school students, who are interested in science as a career.
Getting to Know…
Mark Robert Cunningham
Title: Senior Director, Strategy & Business Planning, Research Immunology and Janssen R&D Spring House Campus
Company: Janssen Research & Development LLC, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
Education: B.S., University of Hertfordshire
Family: Wife, Mandy; son, Elliott, 13
Bucket List: See the Philadelphia Flyers win the Stanley Cup
Awards/Honors: J&J Standards of Leadership Awards
Associations: Bridge to Employment