With this blog, we’re kicking off a new series of blogs centered around “10 Questions For…”!
Be on the lookout for more blogs asking Trial Runners’ employees fun, interesting, and career-related questions! We’re blessed with a diverse, smart, and fun group of in-house experts, so no two blogs will be quite alike.
What does your career path up until now look like?
I started my career in clinical research straight of college, working for a small CRO as a regional monitor. Since then, I have worked at a couple of large CROs as a senior regional monitor and came to Trial Runners ~2.5 years ago as a monitor, transitioning into the BD role ~1.5 years ago.
What does a business development director do?
Business development is responsible for helping pharma and biotech companies advance their clinical programs using Trial Runners’ full suite of clinical research management services. I help find leads for new clients, put together a comprehensive strategy and proposal (including budget), and present this to our potential clients.
Is there any certain education/experience/skill-set that you feel is necessary for your line of work?
With my background and the nature of clinical research, I feel a solid foundation in clinical operations has been immeasurably helpful. Being able to discuss our solutions as a company in a knowledgeable way is the best way to fully inform potential clients about how we can best help advance their programs.
What are some of your day-to-day responsibilities?
Researching new potential clients, formulating strategies for the most efficient way of conducting a clinical trial, developing budgets, and speaking to prospective clients about how Trial Runners can help better or advance their programs.
How much traveling do you do in a typical year?
Well, 2020 has been anything but typical! In a “normal” year, I would be on the road around once or twice a month, either going to conferences/meetings or to visit with prospective clients.
Has COVID-19 impacted business development?
Absolutely. Obviously, conferences have been cancelled and travel has been significantly curtailed. I think more importantly, however, is our strategies have changed in how we approach clinical trials. By necessity, trials are being conducted in a more remote fashion so we’ve had to adapt how we conduct trials. Fortunately, one of the great things about working at a company like TR is how nimble we are. This, paired with our ability to adapt to changes, has kept us in the game during COVID-19.
What teams, individuals, or organizations do you work closely with?
Since we approach things with an all-hands-on-deck mentality, I work with the vast majority of our organization. I work closely with our Clinical Operations departments (project management, data management, etc.) to help devise our strategy, as well as marketing and finance. I’m also blessed to work closely with TR’s co-founders, which is a pretty unique and engaging opportunity.
Where do you go for information/news relevant to business development and the industry?
Many places! I have several ophthalmology related newsletters that I am subscribed to and read regularly, as well as the OIS news and podcasts. I also have trackers on Google and Yahoo Finance that help keep me aware of any updates that may slip through the cracks. LinkedIn can be helpful for finding startups as well.
Do you have any tips for those looking to get into business development?
Learn what you are selling as in-depth as possible. As I had mentioned earlier, I feel my background in Clinical Operations has been incredibly helpful in being successful in business development. Also, don’t lose track of your “soft skills”. Being able to develop relationships and learning what people need has also been incredibly helpful!
What do you enjoy the most about your position?
I enjoy the opportunity to learn about new therapeutics and diseases! My background in physiology has been incredibly helpful, but the opportunity to continue to learn and broaden my knowledge base has been very enjoyable.
What are a few of your favorite business-travel locations and why?
Anywhere with good food! I have traveled to some of the biggest and smallest cities in the country, and there is always something interesting going on if you look for it. I’ve always loved traveling to NYC (used to go there 2-3x month when I was a monitor) as the food there is great and there was always something to do once you left the site. I once had a site down in Huntsville, AL that I visited rather frequently. Again, great food, great nature, and really nice people!
What hobbies keep you occupied outside of work?
Several. My wife and I recently bought a house, so we’ve been doing some work to update that. But I’ve been an avid cyclist and golfer for a number of years, so that keeps me occupied outside of work. I also keep an aquarium right next to my desk, so that is nice to take a periodic break during the workday and tend to them briefly!
What are some non-traditional items, “life-hacks”, or approaches that you utilize or find beneficial as a business development director?
I can be kind of “neat freak” when it comes to my workspace! It may be my history as a monitor, but there are a lot of moving parts in business development, so I find having an orderly and clean workspace allows me to fully concentrate on organizing all the moving parts. I am also a big “walk and talk” person, so I’m sure I drive my wife and dogs crazy when I am on the phone!