Teamwork, growth, and changing lives: A conversation with Michelle Gayari

Many leaders say they value their people, but few may mean it as much as Michelle Gayari, Executive Director, Global Operations at MMS. In this candid conversation, Michelle leans in to the power of her teams and what it’s like being part of a stable, growing organization.

What brought you to MMS in the beginning?

Prior to coming to MMS, I had known and worked with Dr. Uma Sharma for almost 10 years at Parke Davis and Pfizer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When I heard that she was starting her own data-focused CRO, I reached out to see how I could help. In 2007, I created the clinical programming and statistics departments at MMS, and from there, grew into a role that oversees all technical operational functions of the company. Since we started working together more than 20 years ago, I have always had a great deal of respect for Uma and learned a lot from her over the years.

Why have you stayed with the company for more than 10 years?

It’s the people. The growth that MMS has experienced since day one is truly due to the people in our offices across the world. Adding new services every year, working with an increasing number of clients, and recognizing the achievements of each of our colleagues collectively have been very exciting. MMS is unique in that all five of its executive leaders have been with the company for more than ten years, and I think all of us have similar motivations. Growing organically can take time, but I have enjoyed being part of this process. Being actively involved in the spread from one office to having a global network of offices and teams on four continents has been very gratifying. I have also really enjoyed learning about the backgrounds and experiences of our individual colleagues. For me, no two days are alike. Each day bears its own fruit, from seeing a new colleague develop and grow their career to being part of an important approval that helps meet an unmet medical need.

Tell me about the colleagues that work for you. What are they like?

Every single person on our teams is talented and very motivated. It may seem like a canned response, but it’s not – it’s an absolute fact. We focus a lot on teamwork internally, and have a very wide range of experience levels here. Colleagues with more than 20 years of experience are routinely working alongside recent graduates. I believe that you are never too young or too old to learn. This kind of togetherness allows everyone to grow and learn from each other, tightening the bonds of our colleagues and improving colleague engagement. We have an annual mentorship month that features activities on a daily and weekly basis, but I like to think the mentorship month in reality lasts all 12 months of the year. In turn, we transfer this teamwork and philosophy to the sponsors that we support, ensuring our partnership and full team investment in every project.

What is one of your fondest memories from working at MMS?

It’s hard to think of just one. Every time a challenging project comes in, the process of working with the teams, identifying risks and obstacles, and overcoming these, is highly rewarding. To see a team member receive great feedback from a client and then see how their efforts actually affect a patient’s life in a positive way makes me proud to be part of this company. We’ve been able to not only develop highly talented professionals but we play a critical role in the process of bringing life altering drugs to market. I like to say that “good work rises to the top,” and I am continually reminded of that every day at MMS.

Connect with Michelle Gayari

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