As a CRO, our people are our most valuable assets. BioAgilytix’s success hinges on the drive and commitment of each employee on our team – and to keep individuals motivated for the long-term, they must feel both valued and fittingly challenged in the workplace. That is why we make it a priority to invest in our employees’ ongoing development through both mentorship and formal continuing education programs. To get a clearer picture of how development occurs within our company, we’ve been interviewing members of our Scientific, Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC), and Business Development teams so they can share their stories.
In this Q&A session, Sarah Rieveschl, Business Development Director at BioAgilytix, talks with us about the unique course her career has taken since joining our team six years ago.
Tell us a little about your background how you came to join BioAgilytix.
I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with double majors in Sociology and Women’s Studies. I had a plan to go back to school and obtain a Master’s degree in social work, but before entering that program, I wanted to find an entry-level position that would allow me to work for one to two years and save up money. However, my plans changed only two weeks after I graduated, when I met Afshin Safavi, BioAgilytix’s Founder and Global Chief Scientific Officer, during an interview for an administrative assistant position at the company. During our meeting, Afshin shared the story of how BioAgilytix came to exist, and I was drawn to the passion, dedication, and perseverance that he exuded while describing the team-oriented culture and opportunities for career growth available at BioAgilytix. I immediately knew that BioAgilytix was a good fit for me, and for longer than my initial plan.
How has your role changed since you joined BioAgilytix?
I would argue that I’ve had one of the most unique career trajectories at BioAgilytix. Currently, I’m the Business Development Director for the Midwest US and Canada, but I initially joined the BioAgilytix team as an administrative assistant/receptionist. In fact, if you call BioAgilytix after hours, it’s my voice that will greet you on our answering machine!
Working at a company like BioAgilytix afforded me the opportunity to wear many hats and gain exposure to different departments. Within the first few months, I was collaborating on projects with our Finance Team, facilitating recruiting efforts with HR, and acting as the Office Manager. BioAgilytix allowed me to pursue my areas of interest within the company, which eventually led me to Business Development (BD). I transitioned to an entry-level sales position where I assisted the BD and marketing departments conducting cold calls and web research. Within a few months of working in this position, Dominique Gouty joined BioAgilytix and became my manager and mentor. She trusted me with high profile assignments and taught me valuable lessons that aren’t offered by MBA programs. Under her leadership, I quickly advanced from BD Associate to Manager, and now, Director.
In my current role, I’m responsible for growing BioAgilytix’s business portfolio in the Midwestern US and Canada. I’m based remotely in Cleveland, OH and travel frequently to engage new partners and nurture established relationships. I also work in close communication with our scientists in Research Triangle Park, NC and Hamburg, Germany to ensure that our clients’ projects progress smoothly, on-time and within budget.
What professional development opportunities have been made available to you?
During our semi-annual sale meetings, our management team always asks us what tools we need to be successful in the field. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that truly cares about my personal and professional development and is willing to invest in my success. Since joining BioAgilytix, I’ve attended four professional development courses, including Miller Heiman training, which is considered a gold-star program in my field. As a lifelong learner, I routinely reflect on ways to improve my job performance and sharpen my skill set. Thus, the opportunity to take continuing education courses is one of the many invaluable benefits that BioAgilytix offers.
What made you want to work in this industry?
The life sciences industry’s focus on improving patients’ lives aligns perfectly with my passion: helping other people. At BioAgilytix, I know that the quality bioanalytical support provided to our pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners enable life-saving products to reach the market more efficiently, and thus benefit patients sooner. Although I had a change of heart about becoming a social worker, I’m still able to help improve the lives of others in my current role at BioAgilytix, just in a different manner.
What opportunities do you see coming for BioAgilytix in the industry?
The market for biologics is stronger than ever, so I foresee opportunities for further expansion in BioAgilytix’s future. Two years ago, we solidified our presence internationally with the acquisition of IPM Biotech (now BioAgilytix’s European headquarters), which enabled us to better serve our clients’ bioanalytical needs globally. I think we will also have the opportunity to offer our clients additional, complimentary services as we continue to deliver reliable, quality scientific expertise and expand our customer base.
What do you think sets BioAgilytix apart from other CROs in the industry?
The dedication that our employees bring to work every single day is what differentiates BioAgilytix from its competitors. Our HR department and management team work extremely hard to hire employees that share the go-getter mentality that is deeply ingrained in our company culture. We routinely work as a team to go above and beyond the call of duty to assist our partners.
How would you describe BioAgilytix’s company culture?
The culture at BioAgilytix is characterized by a “work hard, play hard” mentality. We still have a start-up mindset where everyone is expected to pull their weight and roll up their sleeves to help co-workers in need. However, we also know how to have a good time! Almost every week there is an opportunity to let loose and have fun with colleagues, whether we are celebrating our company’s anniversary or more personal milestones such as baby showers and engagement parties.
What is your favorite thing about working at BioAgilytix?
My favorite thing about BioAgilytix is the people that I have the pleasure of working with each day: my colleagues and my clients. Communication is a significant aspect of my role in BD, so I feel blessed to collaborate with intelligent, caring, and hardworking people every day.
Interested in hearing from other BioAgilytix team members? You can find other Q&A sessions from our employees here.