Magazine Article | March 13, 2012

Ask The Board March 2012

Source: Life Science Leader

Q: How do you reestablish confidence and trust with your team or organization when this trust has been broken by prior leadership?

I’ve had to manage through this type of challenge, and it requires two key things. First, you need complete openness and honesty regarding what happened in the past, and acknowledgment of what went wrong. This needs to be done without disparaging the prior leadership, which can be a challenge. Second, you need to lead by example and know everything you say and do will be watched very closely.  Be patient, since it will take time to rebuild the trust of your team and organization. Moreover, the recovery and subsequent rebuilding of trust can even be stronger. 

John Hubbard, Ph.D.
Dr. Hubbard is senior VP and worldwide head of development operations for Pfizer. In this position, he is responsible for global clinical trial management from Phase 1 to 4, which includes more than 700 clinical projects. He has been leading pharma R&D activity for more than 25 years in various companies.

Q: How does the biologics pharma industry create a workplace culture (at the manufacturing and management levels) of good corporate ethics?

Management must first live up to the patients-first approach to business. “Patients before profits” and “patients before KPIs (key performance indicators)” are phrases which cannot be overemphasized and which can drive a high level of ethics. This leads to a culture of no fear, where employees are actually rewarded for pointing out deficiencies rather than being punished. Management also must actually get down to the manufacturing floor and talk to people. The workers on the floor are often the best ones to spot deviations from a quality procedure. Having a direct link to an ethical management empowers and encourages all employees to operate at the highest level. The sum of these actions drives ethical behavior both top-down and bottom-up, which goes a long way toward ensuring a high set of ethical standards throughout the company.

Mark Snyder, Ph.D.
Dr. Mark Snyder is manager of the Process R&D Applications Group in the Process Chromatography Division of Bio-Rad Laboratories. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from MIT and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He previously worked for Scios and XOMA.

Q: How do you foster an exciting learning environment throughout your organization?

Our training platform focuses on offering multiple forums for educational opportunities, maintaining compliance, enriching the employee educational experience, and focusing on the training needs/interests. Some of our training initiatives included:


  • providing a point person to liaise with corporate training
  • interviewing each department and asked functional heads and staff to assess their needs/interests
  • conducting an increased number of live training sessions (vs. read-and-understand method)
  • using new approaches and technologies in a classroom setting (interactive games, break-out sessions)
  • offering webinar sessions as an alternate to external conference and seminar training
  • procuring more than 80 Kaplan Eduneering learning courses to make accessible to the organization.

Mitchell Katz, Ph.D.
Dr. Mitchell Katz has 26 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including preclinical research, pharmaceutical operations, and regulatory affairs. In his position at Purdue Pharma L.P., he is the executive director of medical research operations.