Tell us how you got into, and what you love the most about your legal career in healthcare? My entry into healthcare was purposeful with a dash of luck thrown in. I was surveying the market for my next opportunity about 10 years ago and just kept seeing really interesting innovations in healthcare. I had no background in the field, having been in consumer products for years, so I thought "I would love to be part of this digital health revolution, but I don't have the skill set - who on earth would hire me??" Then I met the CEO of a digital health company (through extensive networking efforts) and we just hit it off. He took a chance on me and allowed me the space to learn the healthcare side of the business, while I already had strength in other areas such as securities and commercial transactions. I love the work because there is such a strong mission-oriented overlay. We all want to build a strong business but we also know that we have the ultimate goal of improving the most important part of people's life: their health.
What are some trends you see emerging in your specific area of the healthcare industry in the next five years? Data, data, data: what we have, what we hold, and how we use it. We have the power to use data to draw really powerful insights into healthcare needs and trends, but it can be highly sensitive data so we know we have to treat it with care. Data usage in healthcare is continually evolving.
How has your role as a lawyer in healthcare changed in recent years? The changes in my role in recent years are more personal than professional: I feel more optimistic about my work than I used to. Being in a healthcare-oriented company during the most urgent healthcare crisis we have ever seen (the pandemic) has made me more certain that the work we do is crucial. So, if work gets a little dreary, and let's be honest - it happens to everyone, I know that ultimately the work that my company is doing is very important and that always provides inspiration.
What are the top three attributes that you look for when you hire? (1) Desire to learn. This should be more important than any desire for promotion and advancement. One has to come before the other. (2) Being nimble. Our business changes and our needs change, and the team needs to change with it. (3) A sense of humor. We all need that to get through the day!
If you could go back and give advice to your newly graduated self, what advice would you give? Don't expect your career to be linear. View each moment as a learning opportunity, and follow that thread just to see where it takes you. You could end up transitioning from being a securities lawyer to a healthcare GC, you never know!