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Life as a Senior Associate

Rundell | Senior Associate | District of Columbia, US | 10/2/2023

Rundell, based in DC, US, is a Senior Associate in our Policy team. Here, he reflects on the key skills required in his role and how the diverse expertise of his team helps to shape innovative solutions that improve people’s lives.

How did you end up in your role?

After completing my graduate degree, I began my career working in policy research at a DC-based government affairs firm. There, I worked across several coalitions to advance different policy issues on Capitol Hill. I had an affinity for data modeling but gained a more practical introduction to the subject area when I started working closely with the firm’s Chief Economist on various analytical projects. I heard about a Policy Analytics opening at Avalere (part of Avalere Health) through one of my colleagues at the time and was excited to apply for the opportunity as I was already familiar with and impressed by their Policy work.

Why work for Avalere (part of Avalere Health)?

The organization fosters an environment of collaborative thinking and a truly people-focused culture committed to the well-being of their employees. There are multiple subject matter teams that meet regularly to brainstorm business development opportunities and discuss policy developments, meaning there is input on our projects from employees at all levels. That was a standout attribute for me as it showed their dedication to facilitating and nurturing thought leadership at all levels instead of siloing these opportunities for the senior leadership team. I enjoy supporting and empowering others, so it’s fulfilling to work for a company that maintains a similar value.

What does it take to succeed in your role?

A wonderful blend of inquisitiveness, creativity, and critical thinking is key. In an ever-changing policy landscape, you are challenged to view a policy through different perspectives to problem-solve and develop modeling approaches according to a diverse set of requirements from clients.

In addition, for more complex analytical models you’re often required to synthesize and connect information across different data sources and research literature to develop a robust methodological approach. The ability to approach these situations with flexible thinking can prove effective in drawing key insights and communicating them effectively.

Finally, it is imperative to leverage the expertise of your team. I’ve been fortunate to work with a team of talented individuals with unique professional experiences that I can lean on to learn about a new policy area and brainstorm modeling approaches.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Working in the Policy team gives me the chance to work with and learn from a dynamic group of people with diverse areas of expertise and backgrounds. Together, we tackle the challenge of analyzing different types of data to derive innovative solutions while working towards making an impactful change in people’s lives.

Why pursue a career in Healthcare Policy?

This sector offers a unique perspective that enables you to educate various client types on the different healthcare policies and laws that are pertinent to their business operations and help inform company strategies. Beyond this, whilst working on policies that can make a meaningful impact on patient access to healthcare, you can inform and broaden your own personal healthcare decision-making. Through my professional work, I’ve been able to improve my own understanding and navigation of the US healthcare system.

How do you maintain a work-life balance?

Between working on passion projects and lively periods of work, it’s important to have an activity (or activities!) that grounds you and provides a welcome moment to unwind. For me, this includes downtime where I can enjoy quality conversations with a friend laughing about the most random things, exploring new recipes for family dinners, or even relaxing on the couch with a good TV drama. These things help provide a mental reprieve so I can return to work with a renewed focus and positive attitude.

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