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Paving a Path to Success and Bringing Family Along for the Ride

Rasheedah — Senior Manager, Assay Development

 

Twenty years ago, I attended a biomedical certificate program that changed the trajectory of my career. As my first introduction to the biotech industry, it inspired me to combine my passion for helping others with my love of math and science, and to pursue a meaningful career in the life sciences industry. At the time, I was a single mother of four, unsure if I would be able to complete college at all, but I went on to get a job right after graduation. The program showed me that a career I love was within my reach and gave me the foundation I needed to succeed.  

I find a familiar resonance with MassBio’s Bioversity program; an opportunity similar to the one that gave me my start in biotech. The first of its kind in Boston, this program was created to give underrepresented communities access to training and employer connections in the life sciences industry. The training will be at no cost to students and a stipend will be provided to support them. It’s wonderful to know that this door to the life sciences industry has been opened to people in my community who are curious and full of potential. This program will be a pivotal experience for those who discover their passion for biotech, like I did, and leave them with the skills they need to succeed. It was a pleasure to be interviewed for the Bioversity blog where I expanded on my connection to their mission.  I’m proud that our company is partnering with MassBio to support this initiative that is so close to my heart. 

My career at Foundation Medicine began in accessioning in 2018. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I went on to become a technologist in the molecular lab in 2020. A year after that, I accepted an opportunity at a different company but found my way back to Foundation Medicine less than a year later — a decision that was driven by a long list of things that brought me back to this special company. For me, Foundation Medicine is more than just a workplace. It’s a diverse community where everyone’s unique strengths are embraced, voices are heard and perspectives are appreciated. I’ve been at companies where I was the only woman or person of color on my team; a sad reality for the year 2023. Those experiences stand in stark contrast to my time here. This is an inclusive space where I feel comfortable bringing my whole self to work, knowing I’ll be respected and accepted. No matter who you are, you’ll be able to find your place and grow in this incredible community we’ve created. 

Along with the culture, I’m proud of the work we do here — it’s personal. Having lost loved ones to cancer, I approach every sample with a sense of urgency and compassion, treating each one as if it belongs to my own family or friend. In my current role as the Senior Manager of Assay Development, my team and I share a dedication to ensuring timely results. We support each other in meeting tight deadlines — a testament to our teamwork and determination to execute with patients in mind. My team gives me many reasons to feel proud of them, and I can’t tell them enough how much I appreciate their hard work.  

 

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I would encourage anyone to consider pursuing a career at Foundation Medicine because I can personally attest to the positive experience they will have and the impact that they can make. I even try to rally my own family to come work with us because I know they would love it. In fact, I did successfully recruit my cousin! He is now a Senior Experience Executive in the client services department and he really loves his job. As a deeply caring person with over 20 years of management experience, I knew he would be a perfect fit, not only for this role, but for Foundation Medicine. He is constantly thanking me for encouraging him to make that career change. I feel very strongly about our company; inclusivity, passion and respect amongst my colleagues are things I don’t take for granted. 

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As we gear up for our move to the new HQ, planning our transition has become central to my day-to-day responsibilities. Over the coming months, I will be collaborating with various teams to ensure a seamless relocation of our assay development team. To guarantee that our work in the lab is uninterrupted, we’ve strategically structured the move in three phases. It’s an intricate process of orchestrating the move of equipment, ordering supplies and meticulously filing lots of paperwork. My colleagues’ eagerness to pitch in along the way has been incredibly helpful and shows our collective commitment to executing this move. The opportunities that await us in our new lab, including advanced automation and updated systems, will be a great reward when the move is complete. It’s a challenging task, but I’m proud to be a part of this coordinated effort that will propel us towards the future of cancer care in our next chapter in Boston’s Seaport District. 

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