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 Medical Marvels

Opportunities abound in pharma/biomed for professionals to help heal the world via innovative medical marvels.
The past few years have shown an influx of new pharmaceuticals into the marketplace. The pace continues today, with the discovery, development and manufacture of new medications that are designed to heal the world.
This bodes well for career development for professionals currently in the pharmaceutical industry and those looking to join it to devise the next set of medical marvels for now and in the future.
Read about the career opportunities at one company while discovering the career growth of three professionals who have advanced their careers in the pharmaceutical/biomedical industry.
Taliaferro’s Advocates for Patients at Bristol-Myers Squibb
Adam Taliaferro is the senior manager, state advocacy and alliance development at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in New York, NY whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines to help patients with serious diseases.
A lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in labor and industrial relations and a minor in conflict dispute resolution, Taliaferro graduated with a law degree in 2008. Prior to coming on board at BMS, Taliaferro was a corporate lawyer at a law firm, concentrating on labor and employment law.
“My position serves as an important face of BMS to connect with patient advocacy organizations and professional medical associations at the state level,” notes Taliaferro, who assesses the advocacy landscape, and determines opportunities for developing strong relationships and collaborations around shared goals with state patient advocacy organizations, community groups, and individuals.
He considered BMS as an employer because of its commitment to helping patients fight serious diseases. And, in fact, he himself sustained a spinal cord injury while playing football as a college undergraduate.
“My ability to walk was saved when I was injected with a steroid that stopped the swelling in my spinal cord after my injury,” shares Taliaferro, adding that he’s been able to walk since then, but that he does still have a slight limp.
Since that time, Taliaferro has been passionate about helping others get access to quality care. “I was immediately drawn to BMS due to my personal experience, and thought this was the perfect company for me.”
He adds that his conversations with numerous individuals with spinal cord injuries and hearing their personal stories better prepared him for success in the workplace as a person with a disability.
It was Taliaferro’s involvement as a legislator in the New Jersey General Assembly that led to his coming to BMS in the first place. A woman he knew there, whose husband worked for BMS, told Taliaferro about an available opportunity at the company.
“I interviewed with a number of different people at BMS during the interview process, and I was immediately struck by everyone’s passion for helping patients. Being a former patient myself, that spoke volumes to me, and I was honored to be offered an opportunity to join BMS in September 2012,” he recalls.
He was initially hired into BMS in 2012 as a health alliance liaison, where he led BMS’ patient advocacy efforts in the Mid-Atlantic region. A year later, he became a state government affairs representative.
“I represented BMS before external constituencies, including elected officials, and other state and local government agencies, commissions, and authorities,” he details.
Then, in 2015, Taliaferro served in a state policy role where he analyzed legislation and regulations to support BMS’ state government affairs team. In 2017 he took on his aforementioned current role of senior manager, state advocacy and alliance development.
Taliaferro appreciates how BMS has a culture of learning that provides a variety of professional development opportunities. The company offers leadership and management programs that focus on building manager capabilities. Taliaferro has benefitted from this. His managers have mentored him throughout his career with the company. As a result, this has helped him develop and advance in his career.
He feels certain that if he wanted to move into a management role in the future, then his current manager would support the training he’d need to make the move. He maintains his law license, with its continuing legal education requirements, which also BMS supports.
He doesn’t need an accommodation for his disability, he says, but, if he did, then he knows that he need only ask to receive it. “My manager understands my physical disability and constantly checks in to see how I’m doing,” he shares.
Taliaferro is a member of the BMS Differently Abled Workplace Network (DAWN) people and business resource group (PBRG) whose mission is to foster an environment and culture that promotes the value of differently abled individuals and their impact on BMS business performance worldwide.
“There are eight PBRGs with more than 17,000 members in 45 countries. Employees are encouraged to bring their authentic selves to work and contribute their unique perspectives to support our mission of helping patients,” he points out.
Outside of BMS Taliaferro started his own foundation, the Adam Taliaferro Foundation, which, he explains, provides emotional, financial, and educational support to individuals who experience catastrophic head or spinal injuries.
Information about Bristol-Myers Squibb and its career opportunities is available at bms.com/job-seekers.html. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Curtis Takes On Different Financial Roles at AbbVie
A typical day for Michele Curtis, a senior financial analyst, inventory accounting at AbbVie, includes responding to requests and participating in meetings plus providing technical and/or financial assistance related to inventory, master data support, internal/external audit support, inventory reconciliations and ad hoc analysis.
In this position, she’s responsible for day-to-day inventory support of AbbVie’s U.S. distribution center and of cross-functional teams, costing of new materials/annual standards setting, and monthly close activities.
A 1999 Bachelor of Science in management graduate, Curtis had more than 10 years of experience as an accounting manager and divisional controller prior to joining AbbVie.
“I wanted to work for AbbVie because the work we do and the products we make save lives or help those living with chronic diseases to live a fuller life,” she shares. “I came on board as a contractor and was hired as a full-time employee after two months.”
Since joining AbbVie - a research and development-based global biopharmaceutical company based in North Chicago, IL that’s committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world’s most complex and critical conditions - she’s had financial roles in R&D, commercial, legal, internal reporting and her current role in supply chain operations.
“In each role I’ve had the opportunity to gain knowledge in the different aspects of our business and how we work together to form the bigger picture,” she adds.
Curtis currently has single-sided deafness, but doesn’t require any special accommodations other than strategically positioning herself in the best seat at a meeting to accommodate her hearing disability.
She also has psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and, for this, she says that “AbbVie provided a standing desk and I’ve joined the on-campus fitness facility to engage in physical activity, particularly strength training to help with fatigue, pain, and loss of strength.”
Curtis further points out how AbbVie works closely with external candidates to ensure a positive interview experience. Candidates may request accommodations that are needed throughout the process. Similarly, AbbVie employees can request accommodations via multiple channels within its human resources organization. Its employee relations team works closely with employees, management, local HR representatives, and other resources to assess each request and provide appropriate solutions.
Curtis has joined the company’s Ability at AbbVie employee resource group whose purpose is to bring awareness, support, and inclusion to employees living with disabilities and to caregivers. Outside of AbbVie she’s involved with her church to bring help to those who are currently homeless.
Get more information about AbbVie and its career opportunities at abbvie.com/careers. Connect on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.
Greenbaum Ensures the Flow of Data at Amgen
Amgen is a Thousand Oaks, CA-based biopharmaceutical company that uses cutting-edge science and technologies to find therapies to improve the lives of people dealing with serious diseases.
Andrew Greenbaum, who is the manager of data sciences within Amgen’s commercial data and analytics organization, first considered working at the company because it’s “situated in a beautiful part of Southern California and is arguably the most prestigious in the biotech space.”
He applied online via Amgen’s website, had a phone interview a few weeks later and then traveled to California for an in-person interview.
Greenbaum had a bachelor’s degree in psychology, an MBA in management, and an internship with Novartis Pharmaceuticals, which hired him full-time, before coming aboard Amgen in late Summer 2016. He was hired into an analyst position to process healthcare reimbursement claims for Amgen products.
“Almost from the beginning I’ve been given the opportunity to take on ‘stretch’ assignments and demonstrate what I can do outside of my normal responsibilities, which has given me career mobility and the opportunity to learn,” he notes.
In the three years since Greenbaum joined Amgen, he’s had four positions with different responsibilities in each. They included reimbursement operations, system implementation/decommissions, project management and data management.
In his current position “my responsibilities are primarily to support the business by understanding the flow of internal and external data and systems. This leads to work days that are sometimes predictable from a daily operations perspective, but also challenging as issues arise and strategic system enhancements are requested,” he explains.
Greenbaum manages technical operations and projects, as well as teams of vendors to execute some of his work in his current position, which he describes as a “hybrid” role.
“I’m very blessed to be in a position to continue to grow my technical skills while maturing as a people manager,” he adds.
According to Greenbaum, Amgen’s company culture encourages career development for its employees. To that end, he’s received on-site trainings and attended industry conferences.
“I’ve learned skills in different analytics programs and tools, as well as healthcare industry knowledge,” he points out.
He’s also built relationships with colleagues who are further along in their careers than he is, something which he considers invaluable to his own knowledge and growth. Amgen also provides tuition reimbursement for educational programs aligned with an employee’s current position and future development plan.
He acknowledges that Amgen has been very willing to accommodate his needs from a disability perspective, but adds that he hasn’t had to request much since both the campus and workspaces are very ADA-friendly, and, therefore, accessible. He suggests that candidates who need an accommodation can reach out to HR during the interview process to ask for it, and believes HR will be both “receptive and helpful” to their request.
He describes Amgen as a larger company with a small-company feel. “This means there are daily opportunities to learn, and further your knowledge and skill sets.”
He also feels the work of the company is “meaningful in that the end goal is to provide medicines to real people. Having a disability, I know the difference that having the right conditions and support can make to my overall quality of life.”
Greenbaum is a member of Ability Bettered through Leadership and Education (ABLE), Amgen’s ERG for employees with disabilities and employees with family members who have disabilities. ABLE hosts events to raise awareness around diverse abilities, provides resources to employees and participates in volunteer events.
Visit amgen.com/careers to learn more about Amgen and its career opportunities. Connect on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Glassdoor, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Please treat this profile with 1 interviewee (the second one is no longer with the company per her LinkedIn profile) as a sidebar since it’s HR.
Career Opportunities Abound at Sanofi: Persky
Sanofi US, an affiliate of the Paris, France-headquartered multinational pharmaceutical company, is based in Bridgewater, NJ. It employs more than 12,500 professionals in business units that focus on human vaccines, rare diseases, multiple sclerosis, oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular solutions, consumer healthcare, established prescription, and generics.
Recruiters have been successful in universities such as Rutgers, Lehigh, Villanova, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as Harvard, Tuck, and Questrom Schools of Business, hiring people into entry-level positions across the organization. Some examples of areas where hired candidates have been placed are industrial affairs, finance, research and development, and commercial.
In addition, according to Stuart H. Persky, EEO and HR compliance director, “candidates with bachelor’s degrees are recruited for positions in the biological sales associate program, where they’re responsible for delivering sales calls about the vaccine products.”
All employees have chances for growth and are empowered to manage their careers. They can apply for positions and developmental projects in other functions, locations or specialties. Employees who wish to develop additional skills have access to numerous leadership development opportunities that include in-person classes, webinars and self-paced activities.
“Employees and candidates [with disabilities] can request a reasonable accommodation at any point during the application or interview process or while employed by Sanofi,” Persky explains.
“During the application process, the candidate interfaces primarily with representatives from talent acquisition and the hiring manager. Employees can contact a centralized resource for reasonable accommodation requests, their HR business partner or their manager.”
Sanofi US has employee resource groups, one of which is the Capable and Able Network (CAN), which focuses on developing a culture that fosters acceptance and challenges stigmas around all forms of disability, including physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities.
“CAN is open to employees with disabilities and their allies, with the goal of empowering all employees to give their absolute best, regardless of a disability,” he adds.
Find out more about Sanofi US and its career opportunities at sanofi.us/careers. Connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Vital Growth
The global pharma market is expected to reach $1.12 trillion in 2022.
Source: Evaluate Pharma’s annual World Preview report
Growth in Healthcare
Employment is projected to grow by 8.4 million jobs to 169.4 million jobs through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This expansion reflects an annual growth rate of 0.5%, which is slower than the 2008-18 annual growth rate of 0.8% percent.
An aging population and labor force will contribute to changes expected over the coming decade including a continued decline in the labor force participation rate and continued growth in employment in healthcare and related industries and occupations.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Employment Projections: 2018-2028 Summary
Pharma/Biomed: Evolution to Revolution
Pharma/biomed is experiencing the impact of two major shifts: downward pressure on pricing, and the move toward prevention, diagnosis, and real cures.
As a result, new playing fields are emerging in response to this disruption:
Pharma Tech: An increasing number of pharmaceutical firms - and, indeed, medical device companies - are partnering and integrating with technology businesses.
Genetics: Genetics has moved forward with real pace in recent years, with gene editing fueling a new wave of potential applications to aid both prevention (via early detection) and real cures. The leading genomics firms are essentially biotech players, acting either independently or through collaboration.
Immunotherapy: Technology is also boosting another, more established field of play: immunotherapy. Many companies are focusing on developing immunotherapies, either independently or in collaboration with big pharma players, to treat and, ultimately, to prevent diseases.
Shifts in the business model, and a refocus on new fields of play, can help pharmaceutical firms to adapt to disruption. But even these changes are unlikely to generate the kinds of growth and revenue that shareholders demand.
Only via a complete organizational transformation can today’s leading companies maintain influence and earnings.
This means rethinking how to play, which throws up three types of ‘archetype’ that are believed to be the ones that will prevail in the future industry:
1. Active Portfolio Company: Which is typically active in several therapeutic areas within its portfolio.
2. Virtual Value Chain Orchestrator: Which creates various types of real solutions via the virtual means of data - and lots of it - about therapies, patients, and research.
3. Niche Specialist: Which focuses on a single therapeutic area or disease, and looks at the entire patient pathway from prevention to real cure.
Those pharmaceutical/biomedical companies that manage to embrace the most appropriate archetypes, and master disruption, have the greatest chance to deliver real value to patients, which should, in turn, drive their success.
All of this evolution, disruption, innovation, and refocus will require fresh perspectives in a maturing industry under pressure from regulators, insurers, and patients to demonstrate greater value from their therapies.
This will, in turn, open the door for new entrants from within and outside the industry, and open up opportunities for professionals in all types of roles to help master and stay ahead of the many upcoming changes.
Source: The Pharma 2030: From Evolution to Revolution report by KPMG International’s Global Strategy Group
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