Staying aligned to your motivators while being unapologetically confident

March 24, 2023
About the Author

Noelle Gaskill is a research executive with over 25 years of experience spanning across the industry from sites to biotechnology. In her tenure of leading large-scale research organizations, she successfully deployed just in time recruitment models, patient identification initiatives and even developed study start up technology – all with the purpose of reducing the burden on the site. Today, she leads clinical research collaborations on behalf of Mirati Therapeutics using her knowledge of community oncology and site operations to build unique collaborations that ensure successful accruals – a perfect fit for her personal motivator of providing novel oncology therapeutics to all patients close to home.

Below, Noelle shares key insights she has learned through her professional journey, elements and themes that constantly motivate her within the industry and the power of having a voice that is unapologetically confident.

Q: Describe the journey that brought you to Mirati?

A: My personal motivator is bringing novel therapeutics to the community. Early on in my research career, I found my way to Texas Children’s Hospital and subsequently began running their phase 1 NIH center. Working with children in oncology very quickly teaches you that there is a huge need for patients to have access to the clinical research.

I was at US Oncology Research for many years, as well, leading the alliances with pharma. It was that experience (in working with over 90 oncology companies), that I have used to develop our unique clinical research collaboration approach here at Mirati. I then went on to lead all of US Oncology Research but came to Mirati as we, too, are focused on the community and patients having access to trials close to home.

One of the things I find very remarkable about Mirati is that we have successfully given hundreds of patients in the community access to our trials. We were also the first to give them access to our trials in “Just in Time” models and to pilot Patient Matching which reduces the burden on sites to identify our patients. A company that believes in truly working through the enrollment barriers and focusing on patients gaining access to trials close to home is a perfect match with my personal motivator.

Q: Considering the breadth of this industry, why did you choose to work at Mirati?

A: Mirati has terrific leadership including many women that I am inspired by. In addition, we have a small company feel with a culture that promotes urgency and doing the right thing for patients and sites. Finally, as a mom of young children – I find that there is the ability to have quality time with them and balance work.

Q: What do you find gratifying about working in the industry?

A: The potential to help patients and work with oncologists. I have lost several family members to cancer, including my mother-in-law who passed from lung cancer just before I joined Mirati in 2020.  The potential to help patients at Mirati is a huge motivator and something that makes all the time and travel worth it!

Q: Is there a particular person that you credit for helping you grow in your career?

A: My mother went back to school to become a nurse with four small children at the time. My mother’s work ethic and passion for patients helped shape who I am. Working with leaders such as Amy Abernethy, have inspired me to seek innovative approaches to solve for clinical research burdens such as decentralized trial models. Today, I am inspired by Denise Bruns’ leadership in supporting innovation and driving our success at Mirati.

Q: What makes a strong leader in your experience?

A: Doing what is right in the face of adversity. At Mirati, this means making decisions with the patients and sites as our north star.

Q: What advice do you find yourself giving to others?

A: The advice I find myself most giving, is around work life balance. In our line of work, we have a lot going on – always. However, we all need some down time, or in the case of my team – just time to be a mom!  I encourage my team to take their time off and focus on themselves/family. The best piece of advice I ever received is to stay aligned to your motivator(s), or another way of saying, ‘do what you love’!

Q: What advice do you have for women looking to hone their “advocacy” skills and strengthen their voice?

A: I would take confidence in your experience and speak up whenever you feel you have something to contribute, but most of all – don’t apologize for doing so.

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

A: It is only with diversity and a culture of inclusion that Mirati can recruit and support the best talent.  With people being our biggest asset, a culture of belonging is essential to the overall success of Mirati as a company. It is also important that we solve for diversity in our clinical trials – an initiative I am proud to support.