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Inspiring Journey Video with Glen De Vries

We provide life-changing growth strategies for our clients and our candidates. Our Inspiring Journeys series features amazing individuals who tell their story of when they faced a mountain and how they climbed it. Watch our latest inspiring journey video with Medidata Solutions President Glen De Vries below.

Video Transcription:

In the role I’m in, I’ve learned that one of the most important things in science and also business is really embracing failure and it’s going to sound slightly unrelated, but I’m going to tell you a story about driving one day. I was actually driving to my university and it was a long drive. It was late at night and I remember honestly almost falling asleep while I was driving. And it was such an interesting moment for me because it a touchstone. Anytime I’m driving and I’m super tired now I’ll stop and I’ll take a break. And that almost doing something that was horrible and would have had potentially dire personal consequences or even for other people, became this moment that would kind of scare me into making sure that I was responsible.

So before Medidata started I actually had a similar moment in terms of scientific ethics. One of the things that I feel so compelled about as I said is making sure clinical work correctly. I remember literally a day looking at data. It was actually very subjective, qualitative data and I was evaluating it for a particular study I was working on. I was thinking that if that had come out slightly differently that might like actually affect the outcomes of this study and show that something that is not effective was effective, I wonder if I can really trust that value that we had. And I just realized in the moment it was like falling asleep at the wheel. It was this moment of almost going over a precipice of not having real integrity and standing behind the experimental results, as subjective as they were as I’d recorded them. And any time since that moment when I’ve ever thought oh yeah, is there an issue around integrity, it’s always kind of pushed me into the realm of “No no don’t fall asleep at the wheel”, take a break, look at what you’re doing and look at this particular failure.

Whether it’s a clinical trial, whether it’s within the drug development program, embrace it and figure out how that galvanizes you to try something differently or to try something else. And so I just think it’s trainable, a lot of people who I’ve encountered who have been successful in life sciences is really embracing that part of what effectively as a scientific method, everything that is a conclusion that you thought that you’re going to make that you’re wrong about is an opportunity to be creative and to try something new and you just can’t be afraid of them, you’ve got to embrace them.

Almost falling asleep at the wheel from an ethical perspective, from a scientific integrity perspective, it becomes a compass that you can use in terms of making sure that you’re always going in the right direction in the future. And I think you actually have to have a scary moment like that before you really understand the consequences of allowing something in your personal life or in your career to go the wrong way. And I don’t think I can make a bigger endorsement of embracing failure. If you don’t have that moment when you really got something wrong or almost got it wrong, then you actually don’t have a context to be comfortable to know that you’re doing the right thing in the future. So I think what I would have told myself back then is hey, this was actually a really important moment, don’t freak out about it, don’t bury it. Actually use it as that compass for everything that you do moving forward.

Glen de Vries is data-driven visionary President of Medidata Solutions. Follow him @CaptainClinical for fun and insightful adventures.

Seuss Recruitment is a pharma-recruitment specialist that finds synergistic fits between life-science superheroes and forward-thinking pharma, biotech and clinical research companies using the art of match-making with a modern twist. Call us at +31 (0) 20 29 00 016 or email us to have an engaging conversation about how to transform your career or company.

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