Lead With Authenticity When Owning Your Career Trajectory

December 19, 2023
About the Author

Marie joined Mirati in 2021 as the brand lead, successfully leading the marketing team in launching the first commercial drug for Mirati in 2L+ KRASG12C-mutatd non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Marie has 15 years of Commercial Leadership experience in the US and Global marketing roles in small to large pharmaceutical and biotech companies, including Pfizer, Lilly, Novartis, and GSK.  She has successfully launched over 5 products/indications in Oncology and Hematology, focusing on precision medicine. Marie’s expertise spans various functions, such as US marketing leadership, global marketing, biosimilars/market access, insights, sales, sales training, and leadership development providing a holistic perspective on the business. 

Q: Can you describe your role at Mirati?

A: I am the senior director of marketing and the brand lead working with the amazing marketing team Robert Baque, healthcare provider (HCP) marketing, Chris Davidson, Omnichannel strategy and Brandi Marchel, Patient and APP marketing.

Q: Walk me through your career choices and what made you decide to pursue a career in pharma?

A: I was very familiar with the healthcare environment growing up as my mom was a nurse and my dad was a patient. My dad was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of 33 when I was just 7 years old, so I learned early on the benefits and challenges of healthcare and the importance for advocating for patients. I had a natural affinity for business strategy but wanted to marry it with doing good for others in honor of my dad. I studied marketing in school and started my pharmaceutical career with Eli Lilly in various commercial roles.

Q: Knowing the breadth of the industry and having worked for some of the biggest companies in the pharma space, why Mirati? (Novartis, Pfizer)

A: Having worked at Eli Lily, GSK, Novartis, and Pfizer in various roles from sales, sales leadership and US and Global marketing roles, I was able to get a great foundational understanding of the market and industry especially in the oncology space. When considering the role at Mirati , it was such a unique opportunity to not only launch in a space that was untouchable for the last 40 years up against such a formidable competitor, but also to have the experience to help a company stand up a commercial organization for the first time, was very intriguing.

Q: Behind every successful product rollout and promotion, is a strong marketing team. It takes a village to create a holistic commercial marketing strategy and to execute it. Can you tell me a bit more about the roles in a marketing ecosystem and some of the cross-functional partners your team works with to launch and promote a product?

A: It  does take a village, and by village, I mean it takes an entire organization. Marketing is the hub that brings all the cross-functional partners together to ensure we are all marching to the same drum and by drum I mean brand strategy.

Overall, the marketing organization is only as successful as all the cross-functional partners they have, and I maybe be biased but we have the best cross functional partners in industry from data analytics, sales, corporate comms, market access, medical, legal and regulatory teams. I am grateful to work with this marketing team and our fantastic cross functional partners.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career? How did it change how you operate?

A: Be true to yourself and follow your passion. Your primary focus should not be what looks perfect on paper as it relates to career progression but what excites you and makes you wake up motivated to do your best every day. I received this advice when I was deciding to take a patient or HCP marketing role. The obvious choice was HCP but because of my dad I was drawn to patient marketing, and it was the best decision and one of the most rewarding roles of my career.

Q: Did you have a mentor that played a significant role in your career evolution? If so, what key things did you learn that took you to the next level?

A: I have been very fortunate to have many mentors and people I work with that I admire in my career, with some having a more senior role and others at my peer level. Not only did they serve as great sounding boards to navigate career choices and decisions, but they allowed me to learn from them and how they successfully navigated their own career trajectory and overcome obstacles in their career journey. From my perspective, the greatest gift in a mentor is to be able to pick up the phone and get another’s point of view and pressure-check thoughts and ideas.

Q: When did you learn the power of self-advocacy? How has it allowed you to grow into the leader that you are today?

A: I have had some excellent managers who empowered me to speak up and gave me the confidence to let my voice be heard. Michelle Richards, our Vice President of Marketing, being one of them. I think some of it comes with time and experience, but it is equally important to find people around you to be able ask questions and bounce ideas off in a safe space to give you the ability to learn in real time. From my perspective, being curious is one of the strongest skillsets one can have in business and in life. My team knows I love a good question or 5.

Q: What is your personal perspective on the importance of sustaining a culture of inclusion to strengthen, inspire, and cultivate a culture of belonging at Mirati

A: The best cultures are ones with people who have varying backgrounds and experience where those differences are welcomed and celebrated. Understanding broader perspectives only makes yourself and the organization better. I think one of Mirati’ keys to success has been the melting pot of experience and expertise that has been collated by the amazing people in this organization. I know I have learned so much from so many here in my Mirati journey and I am so grateful for that.