With Thanksgiving upon us this week in the United States, and the end of the year fast approaching, I wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on how grateful I am to lead such a passionate and determined team of colleagues at Foundation Medicine.
The transition from chief medical officer into my new role as chief executive officer earlier this year was accompanied by a variety of changes. Suddenly, people wanted to hear my opinion on everything (and they also cared a lot more about what I looked like on a Zoom call). It reminded me of my transition from medical resident to attending physician. I still knew everything that I knew the day before, and I still had my opinions on the best course of action, but now, I was the last person to sign off before we took those actions. The stakes were higher. Now, I am not just leading a team; I am leading a company.
Making sure that our people feel agency and connection to our mission at Foundation Medicine has been one of my top priorities since my first day as CEO. Since taking on this role, I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know many of our employees more deeply. New hire orientation, all employee town halls, Q&A sessions, and CEO meet ups have provided important touchpoints for us to discuss a wide range of topics affecting our work. These interactions have confirmed my belief that we have such smart and inspired employees driving forward our efforts to transform cancer care every day.
I also wanted to prioritize carving out time in my schedule to connect with the people who make Foundation Medicine such a special place to work. Our executives have historically taken turns hosting small meet ups with employees to get a pulse check of how things are going around the company. I wanted to take that a step further by introducing bi-weekly conversations with the CEO to provide an intimate setting where employees can share whatever is on their mind and ask me their questions directly.
These small meet ups have quickly become one of my favorite parts of this job. We have covered a lot of ground together - from employee experiences in the lab, to executive team priorities, to the boredom of Michigan football bye-weeks. These conversations provide meaningful and necessary feedback that inform my vision for how I hope we continue to grow in the year ahead. I’ve heard directly from lab employees about how we can improve their day-to-day experiences, we’ve been able to dive deeper into questions and topics raised at town halls, and we’ve even shared book recommendations. Each conversation has been both humbling and enlightening; allowing me to learn more about what is working, where we can improve, and what is inspiring each employee to continue to put in their best effort every day.
The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged us all in new ways, creating distance between us that sometimes feels insurmountable. The way in which we have continued to collaborate and innovate is a testament to our deep commitment to our mission. As I reflect on all that we have achieved together since April, I cannot overlook the integral role our lab employees have played in enabling our success. This team has worked tirelessly to advance our mission and keep our labs functioning throughout the pandemic, all while keeping patients top of mind. Without our lab heroes, there would be no Foundation Medicine, and I am thankful to have heard from so many of them, and to have taken away such valuable insights from their experiences.
I could not be prouder to lead such a uniquely talented and patient-focused team at Foundation Medicine. I come to work each day hoping that the people around me feel connected to our mission and that the connection feeds the sense of having meaningful work. We are paving the way to making comprehensive genomic profiling indispensable to cancer care together. Who I am and who I want to be is intertwined with Foundation Medicine in many ways, and I wouldn’t want to do this job anywhere else.