Did you know the average adult changes employers five to seven times throughout their career lifespan? The number of people who come back to an employer they previously left, however, is less than two in ten. While we don’t have hard statistics on boomerang employees at Bristol Myers Squibb, it’s certainly not unusual to come across them, especially at the leadership levels. Case in point being Lisa McClintock, Vice President and Lead for our Devens, MA Cell Therapy Manufacturing and Brad Harris, Director of Biologics Manufacturing Technology, also in Devens – two BMS leaders headquartered in our 89-acre multi-use campus that supports our biologics process development along with clinical and commercial manufacturing.
Interestingly enough, Lisa and Brad were both at the BMS Syracuse facility when each of them pursued different paths for personal or growth reasons. In Brad’s case, it was a desire to explore another side of his field when an opportunity presented itself.
“BMS had already given me opportunities to learn the technical leadership aspect of GPS,” Brad said. “But I was looking for development outside of the technical arena. The position I took elsewhere gave me supplier quality experience, along with supply chain, quality control and procurement. With my BMS experience, I could position myself for a next-level career in the future.”
Similar to Brad’s situation, Lisa moved from BMS to a pharma company in Massachusetts – a pharma and biopharma hotbed – but in 2022, a position opened at BMS Devens that seemed like a natural career stepping stone for her.
“I was really interested in working on a start-up,” Lisa recalls. “In 2022, the Devens Cell Therapy site was undergoing explosive growth – and still is today – so when someone asked if I was interested in bringing the site up to FDA approval, that really excited me.”
A Unique and Inclusive Culture
Aside from a wonderful career fit, there were a few other things Lisa remembered about her days at BMS Syracuse. “The first time working at BMS, the culture was phenomenal,” she said. “There’s an inclusiveness that’s built into the DNA of the company, and it’s something I haven’t seen before; embracing diversity and making sure people have a voice at the table. The icing on the cake was working in cell therapy and feeling like a pioneer again.”
Brad, too, had very fond memories of that inclusive culture, and that made his decision to return to BMS an easy one. “I grew up in Texas and my wife in New Mexico – that’s a world away from Syracuse,” he shared. “But we stayed there for 10 years because of the interesting work, the people I worked with, and the company culture in general; the diverse hiring practices and the People and Business Resource Groups. Remembering all that made it easy for me to decide to come back.”
Devens Campus Provides Global Access
Being in leadership roles within Global Product Development and Supply at the Devens campus opens doors for Lisa and Brad that other companies might not offer, symbolized by the pedestrian bridges connecting the different buildings. “We have the cell therapy site, and I also have the opportunity to work with great leaders including many really strong women on other teams,” said Lisa. “The decisions we make impact everyone, so it’s important to have other thought leaders to confer with.”
That unique and inclusive culture that both Lisa and Brad emphasized during their initial stints at BMS is even stronger now. “Anyone can bring ideas, solutions and innovations to the table, sometimes in ways we hadn’t imagined,” said Lisa. “And that's what I see BMS do each and every day. It's a way of working. It's not talk, it's action. We make sure we're creating an environment and culture where everyone feels they can speak up and contribute.”
Brad weighed in on the critical aspect of team development within his leadership responsibilities. “I’m continually working on how I can best support my teams as we work on very challenging processes,” he said. “Enabling my staff to drive decisions at the appropriate level and to learn to engage their stakeholders across the business for input –that's a big part of leadership at the director level at BMS Biologics.”
Lisa emphasized that growth opportunities for leadership and directors don’t plateau once those levels have been achieved. “One of BMS’ strengths is that there’s so much opportunity available to colleagues on all levels. Because of our global organization, I get to work with the most senior leaders at the company, even beyond cell therapy and beyond the Devens location – without having to relocate.”
Interesting Work, Growth Opportunities and Incredible Colleagues
When it comes to the topic of interesting careers and the day-to-day on Brad’s Biologics teams, he spoke of the variety of work being handled. “If you want to do work that’s interesting, that’s not the same every day, this is your kind of group,” he said. “We’re basically an interface between Manufacturing, Quality and the MS&T laboratory functions. From process monitoring, to process qualification, to issues on the manufacturing floor, we’re one of the frontline teams.”
Passion, dedication and outright enthusiasm are evident when both Brad and Lisa talk about their career choices and coming back to BMS. “These individualized cell therapies are truly life changing,” Lisa added. “It’s a way of being close and intimate with the patient in a way I haven’t experienced before. Going into work every day is truly meaningful: you have great purpose, and you have an incredible company with an incredible culture.”
BMS understands that challenging work requires each employee to feel empowered and motivated in their efforts. The BMS Total Rewards benefit packages completes the circle around a work environment that, in Lisa’s and Brad’s eyes, helps them do their best.
“Health benefits and work-life balance are definitely competitive,” Lisa said. “And I feel BMS really excels in maternity and paternity flexibility, along with mental health resources – each done in a way that’s highly respectful, inclusive and very much appreciated.”
Brad concurred. “To do this work you have to be at your best,” he said. “I really try and drive work-life balance with my teams. We have a culture that supports taking the time you need when you need it and as a leader, I ensure that when my team is out on vacation, we have coverage for their work so they can fully disconnect. And the benefits are competitive across the board, which was nice to come back to.”