An Interview with Tara Shepard, Clinical Trial Manager, Icon
If I could pick one word to describe Tara, I would say it could be connected. Connected not in the sense of our phones, tablets, laptops, emails, texting, IM, etc. and always being on, but connected in the human way. Tara is connected because she is passionate about making sure her team’s needs are taken care of. Connected because she makes the point to always celebrate wins no matter how big or how small. Connected mostly because she intuitively works to make sure that the human need is front and center in how she manages her time – ensuring that relationships are built, trust is established and communication is continuous.
As a connected leader, Tara is in tune with her team’s needs and believes that learning and truly understanding the ins and outs of a situation is key to their (and her) success. Tara feels passionate about being part of team and establishing a deep sense of community – and maintaining that, even though the vast majority of her team are remote employees. Tara works tirelessly to ensure that she is responsive to both her team and her clients – and also ensures that all wins are celebrated as they come instead of focusing on what went wrong or could’ve been better. “I truly believe that if a team or an individual has done something that they should be recognized for, whether it’s reaching a milestone or even just getting positive feedback from a doctor’s office, then they should know it. I think that really exemplifies leadership because your team sees that you’re not just there to tell them what to do or just to solve problems, but you’re there to recognize their hard work and support them in everything that they do.”
Tara also continues connectedness by reinforcing a core principle that we are all human first – and one must know their audience to truly be successful. This rings especially true with assessing communication strategies and ensuring the right approach to a given situation – for example when soft skills are used, what the frequency and depth of information is, etc. “Everybody has a different personality and you have to know who your speaking to and who your communicating to in order to support the best results for them.”
Even when it applies to how she has navigated her own career – Tara’s deep connectedness to her needs, desires and wants that has lead her down the successful path to where she is today. She does not shy away from hard work and knows that whatever that vision or desire that you have for your career, it’s worth the effort to get there. Tara started out in a worker’s compensation role at a major pharmaceutical company but quickly realized that she wanted something more challenging – so rather than just find a new job, Tara was so in tune with her vision for her future, she pursued an entirely new career path taking on an unpaid internship (albeit while still working) to get the skills and opportunity needed to propel her future forward. Tara was able to quickly shift into a full-time clinical research position which lead her to getting her master’s in public health – which lead her to getting an on-site clinical trial management role – which lead to a clinical trial management supervisory role – which will continue to lead her to success as her future unfolds.
And when it comes to guidance for those seeking the next step for their career, Tara continues her belief in connectedness and says “don’t give somebody five minutes if you’re not going to give them five years”. Tara recommends that as you explore your career options and assess what is truly going to make you happy, you have to know in your heart that it’s worth the effort. Don’t pursue a career because your family suggested it or because it’s easy for you. Pursue it because you love what you do and you have a multitude of options in doing it. That intuition and connectedness to mind, body and spirit is a core component to who Tara is as an individual – as a leader – and as someone that we can all learn from.
Thank you, Tara, for reminding us that connectedness is not always a digital quality and has significant benefits to our ability to not only relate to others, or to enhance our leadership style, but more importantly to allow us to know our own selves, wants and needs to line us up for future successes.