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GeneCoda®’s CF Ambassador

My name is Bishop Saunders and I have cystic fibrosis.  I’ve hit so many milestones in my life growing up, and have so many to go.  And cystic fibrosis has been, and always will be, there for all of them.  Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease presented when you inherit a recessive gene from both parents.  In people with CF, it makes mucus really thick and sticky, causing many problems throughout the body.  Mucus sticks to the lungs, causing infection and a decline in lung function.  Mucus clogs sinus cavities, again causing infection and also painful headaches. The thick mucus also blocks digestion, making it hard to get the nutrients I need to fight infections and grow.

About 30,000 people in the US have CF, and 10 million carry the defective gene.  That’s 1 in 30 and that’s me and your friends.  I may not look sick but turn my body inside out and you would see a completely different story. Growing up I spent hours every day strapped to a vest that shakes the mucus out of my lungs in addition to an array of breathing treatments through a nebulizer and handfuls of medicines, depending on what issue I am having that day. All of this juggled alongside sports, friends, and school.

I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis within hours of being born and my family’s involvement with the CF Foundation started right then and there. My family and friends got me to where I am today, and so have you because of your support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  I first actually became aware of CF in the 9th grade while researching an informative paper on Cystic Fibrosis. Before then, I was just told to do my vest treatment, my nebulizers, take my enzymes.  I did those things because I was told I had to.

While compiling research for my English paper I began to learn WHY I need to do my vest, my nebulizer, take my enzymes. I learned that those treatments keep me feeling my best and what my best should feel like. I also learned some very frightening things… I learned that looking down the road when I get married, that I can’t have kids. I learned I will never be able to break away from my treatments – that I will do them every single day like a dog leashed to you all the time that you can’t get rid of.  I also learned that December 8, 2012, was supposed to be my last birthday.  My life expectancy was 17 years.

I was 14 then, a freshman in high school, and to be honest, that scared the hell out of me. When I asked my dad about it he said, “yes that’s true, I won’t lie to you.” But then he went on to explain how research funded by the CF Foundation is pushing that “last birthday” further and further into the future, by funding the development of new drugs that can correct the basic defect in cystic fibrosis. That talk with my dad came with a mix of emotions: frightened for my own sake and apologetic to my parents, my sister, my doctors for up until then not understanding the gravity of my disease.

At that point, I felt I was at a crossroads: to let myself sit in the mud and dwell in my own sorrows or pick myself up and lead my life instead of CF leading me. And who wants to sit in the mud for the rest of their lives? So throughout high school, I began to dig deeper, below just the facts, to learn about my own life with CF. From the little things like understanding when I need to use my inhaler or nebulizer, or bigger things like understanding when I’m sick enough to be admitted into the hospital.   Going through this in high school made my transition to college easy because I felt prepared to take control of my own life and be on my own. I can confidently say to all the CF kids – it’s possible to master your life with Cystic Fibrosis and live out your dreams.

But isn’t that the goal?  The reason I want all of you to know how scared and hopeless I felt in those days after learning what it meant to have CF is that I want you to understand how much the CF Foundation impacted my outlook on the life ahead. Once I found out about the Foundation’s contribution to research and all of the progress that they’ve helped make, that the donors like you have helped make, I realized there is hope and that I can help. That’s why I’m telling my story.  So that others know that it’s possible.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is one of the most efficient and effective volunteer health organizations in the country.  Because CF is classified as an orphan disease, the Foundation receives no federal funding for its work and little initial investment from pharmaceutical companies.  It’s people like you who make what the Foundation does possible.  I know for sure that without your donations and support of the Foundation, myself and so many others wouldn’t be here today.

In 2012, due to the diligence and investment of the CF Foundation, and in large part because of people like you giving of your time and dollars, Kalydeco, the first drug aimed at correcting one of the underlying defects in the disease, was made available to patients. And in 2015, another drug, Orkambi, was released to qualifying patients. There are over 1,800 mutations that cause Cystic Fibrosis and sadly I do not qualify for a drug like Kalydeco or Orkambi yet, but I know with your help that I will soon. These drugs are not a cure, but a life-changing daily management tool for CF.

I know that when we work together, we can win in this fight, so that all kids born with CF can grow up to be vets, chefs, moms and dads, brewers, bankers, or, an accountant, like me. Your continued support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation brings my family hope. It brings hope for a cure into the realm of reality.  Your investment in the Foundation adds tomorrows. Thank you for fighting with us and not stopping until CF stands for Cure Found.

Bishop Saunders is presently a business advisory consultant with E&Y.  He grew up in Charlotte, NC and holds a BS in Accounting from NC State University. 

The Real-World Importance of Corporate Culture

 

Your Culture is Your Brand

Don Alexander (GeneCoda), Ted Benson and Jerel Bonner (Corralling Chaos)

Corporate Culture Terms

Introduction

Crafting and activating corporate culture can be challenging. Many papers, speakers, and books discuss various aspects of corporate culture, from time-worn standards like Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” to new classics like Dan Ariely’s “Payoff”. There are also company founders who are outliers in crafting unique cultures, like Jim Goodnight at SAS and Tony Hsieh at Zappos: leaders who’ve blazed new trails getting employees to completely buy into, and sustain, company culture.

But less often considered is how working individuals in the real world evaluate the value of workplace culture. For example: Do they think that the company actually cares about culture? How important is a company’s culture to current employees? How do candidates consider it when researching prospective employers, and how do they do investigate it? Do they find it easy to identify corporate culture from their research and interview? Will their impression of the culture influence their decision to accept a job offer? Once onboard, can they actually recognize the culture and does that match their expectation created during their research and interview? And does the culture support their growth and development, proven key factors for employee retention?

This study explored these questions by surveying several hundred individuals. The respondents serve in a range of functions, from individual contributors to executives, in a variety of private firms across several scientific and technical industry sectors. Continue reading “The Real-World Importance of Corporate Culture”

Think Networking is Going to Get You Your Next Job? Think Again!

 

Sources of hire information is of value to anyone involved in the hiring process because it helps determine the origins of a hire.  Armed with this information, hiring managers can make better decisions on where to allocate resources.

Likewise, it is important for job seekers to prioritize where their likelihood of success is greatest.  Since companies use Sources of Hire information for their benefit, as a job seeker, why shouldn’t you?

Continue reading “Think Networking is Going to Get You Your Next Job? Think Again!”

Commercial Launch, a Time of High Expectations and Greatest Risk

 

Recently, I met with a long time colleague, Chris Morrison.  In our discussions regarding bringing novel products to market, I reflected on the many times I’ve witnessed the premature scaling of a commercial sales force and asked Chris to author the following blog to better assist company leadership in assessing the best inflection points for hiring sales professionals.

Continue reading “Commercial Launch, a Time of High Expectations and Greatest Risk”

The High Cost of Unplanned Employee Turnover

Many articles I’ve recently reviewed about employee turnover describe various methods to calculate the unplanned turnover costs of an organization.  For example, a study from the Center for American Progress in 2012 cites figures that range from 16% of annual earnings for jobs paying $30k or less up to 213% for very highly paid jobs and those at senior or executive levels.

Continue reading “The High Cost of Unplanned Employee Turnover”

Armageddon: Hiring, Teamwork, and Leadership


I had the opportunity to watch one of my favorite movies over the holidays. It is hard to believe this is the 20th anniversary! Armageddon is a 1998 American science fiction disaster film directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Touchstone Pictures.

The movie has an interesting plot and cast of characters with several funny, intense and emotional scenes. Armageddon also presents a compelling story of hiring, teamwork and leadership. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it first and consider the following clips/quotes!

Continue reading “Armageddon: Hiring, Teamwork, and Leadership”

Resume Quips and Resources


Although I’m not a language or communications major, I have read thousands of resumes over my career and thought I’d offer up a short list of thoughts and resources as a guide.

Most of us think our resume is well written which is why, when we are finished with v 1.0 of our “masterpiece”, we should ask the following types of people to review it.

Continue reading “Resume Quips and Resources”

In response to Liz Ryan’s Article on Forbes “Ten Things Recruiters Don’t Need to Know About You”


In response to Liz Ryan’s Forbes Article | “Ten Things Recruiters Don’t Need to Know About You

I’ve been in the executive search industry for over 18 years and placed up to the CEO level but also placed a number of seasoned people in the biotech industry. While Ryan’s article makes several salient points, it misses the mark in a number of ways, including the formation of a partnership with a recruiter, the use of ATS systems, and relevancy of salary history.

Continue reading “In response to Liz Ryan’s Article on Forbes “Ten Things Recruiters Don’t Need to Know About You””

Purposeful Job Search | Your 7-Part Career GPS

In my profession, people routinely ask me about job and career search strategy. The best job search strategy I’ve ever reviewed was created by a friend and client. He was very purposeful and methodical in his interests and approach which resulted in him landing his ideal job.   


In my profession, people routinely ask me about job and career search strategy. The best job search strategy I’ve ever reviewed was created by a friend and client. He was very purposeful and methodical in his interests and approach, which resulted in him landing his ideal job.

His Background? My friend is a sales and commercial leader with a background in scientific instrumentation and software. His strategic competitive advantage is his ability to penetrate early stage adopter markets and markets that “cross the chasm” from one industry to another. In other words, if you are going after new markets, this is the type of fellow you’d want to consider hiring.

With his endorsement and support, I’d like to share his methodology with you, which can be summarized as a 7-Part Marketing Strategy. In other words, think of this as your career GPS. I encourage you to download the Marketing Strategy (below) and consider the following as you complete it.

Continue reading “Purposeful Job Search | Your 7-Part Career GPS”

A Process for Avoiding the Resume Black Hole

There are some good informational assets on LinkedIn about writing resumes that catch attention. The best one I’ve read is HERE and a there is also a rather good one by Liz Ryan on the idea of a “Pain Letter”. However, I still regularly field calls from candidates concerned that they aren’t getting traction with resume submissions to companies, a.k.a. the Resume Black Hole.

There are some good informational assets on LinkedIn about writing resumes that catch attention. The best one I’ve read is HERE and a there is also a rather good one by Liz Ryan on the idea of a Pain Letter. However, I still regularly field calls from candidates concerned that they aren’t getting traction with resume submissions to companies, a.k.a. the Resume Black Hole.

Continue reading “A Process for Avoiding the Resume Black Hole”