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employee stories

Life as a Senior Consultant

Leah | Senior Consultant | California, US | 9/20/2023

Leah, based in Los Angeles, US, works as a Senior Consultant at Avalere Health. Find out what makes her passionate about healthcare and how her work within the Consulting team is helping to make a difference in improving patients’ lives.

How did you end up in your role as Senior Consultant?

I began my career in marketing and advertising strategy before joining a healthcare agency, where I worked on a mix of new business and brand strategy. Strategy at its core involves helping connect products and services with the people who can benefit from them, which is all the more fulfilling and meaningful when you work in healthcare.

As a strategist, I knew I wanted to work for a company where strategy was front and center, which led me to join one of Avalere Health’s legacy agencies. As the business evolved, I chose to align myself with the Consulting capability, as I love the variety of applications of strategy within and outside of marketing. I believe we really are making an impact in transforming organizations and experiences, and I love that my areas of specialty within strategy (human-centered design and behavioral science) are aligned to the capability’s business goals.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

In short, the impact we have on improving people’s lives. Our projects often relate to work that is focused on the human side of healthcare—understanding what peoples’ experiences are, what they need, what they’re missing, then figuring out how to meet their needs and make improvements. When I witness how our contribution can tangibly make a difference to healthcare outcomes and improve the lives of patients, doctors, and caregivers, that is the most rewarding feeling of all.

What does it take to succeed in your role?

  1. Curiosity and initiative: In consulting and any strategic role, you are always encountering new challenges. Additionally, the spaces we are focused on in healthcare are rapidly and constantly evolving. It’s important to stay hungry and continually learn more about a space, the audience, your team, and your clients so you can better bring an informed perspective to solve the more complex challenges. It’s equally important to be proactive in doing this, taking the initiative to keep growing your knowledge and skill set.
  2. Empathy: A lot of our work is focused on finding solutions to better meet the needs of a target audience (patients, physicians, caregivers). This means that empathy for these audiences and a drive and ability to really understand their perspectives is key. Avalere Health is also a people business, so empathy among internal colleagues and clients is also important to foster a collaborative environment that enables good work and happy people.
  3. Storytelling and critical thinking: So much of strategy centers on problem solving and generating plans and recommendations based on insight. To do this well, it’s important to not only uncover the information you need but to draw useful implications from it and craft a compelling narrative that will bring the work to life in a way that inspires clients to actually utilize it.

How have you developed your skill set since becoming a Senior Consultant?

Personally, it has been a mix of learning on the job and proactive training. In consulting, you’re always encountering new clients and challenges, so getting stuck into a project is often the best way to learn and build skills. At Avalere Health, we are fortunate to be surrounded by experts in different fields and therapy areas, so I find myself constantly learning from others’ expertise.

In addition to leading client work and business development, as a Senior Consultant, you will also further hone in on your areas of focus and specialization. For me, those areas are human-centered design and behavioral science, with some other passion areas like health equity. In addition to doing client work that leverages these skills, I often take live or online training courses, attend conferences, conduct additional research, and keep up with reading relevant publications to further build my specialization.

Why work for Avalere Health?

I genuinely believe we are doing something different as a commercialization partner for healthcare organizations. I see a lot of companies talk about strategy through to execution, but often the truth is they generally heavily lean to one side or the other. At Avalere Health, we truly do both. We develop top-notch strategies and do what is required to successfully execute them internally and externally. We also offer clients a range of integrated services (Consulting; Medical; Policy; Access, Value, and Evidence; Marketing; and Digital Experience Technology) that are required to make a difference in healthcare, rather than operating in a network of siloes. Very few companies do this.

Additionally, the people are a huge draw to the organization. I have gotten to know and work with so many people who are exceptionally smart and talented, whom I also now consider friends. People at Avalere Health really care about one another and about the work and patients we serve, which is so refreshing.

Do you have any advice for maintaining mental well-being while working from home?

This is an important topic of conversation that often gets brought up in our Mental Health Employee Network Group, of which I act as co-deputy. As someone who has a strong passion for mental health, the best advice I can give is to try and make the best of your situation. For example, I live in Los Angeles, while many of my current project team members and clients are based in the UK. Instead of focusing on the challenges the time difference can bring, I choose to use it to my advantage. My clients are offline during the California afternoon, so I dedicate large chunks of that time for independent focus work.

Additionally, consistent breaks and exercise should be a priority. As a remote worker, it’s all too easy to stay at home and not move around, so I also ensure I take breaks for fresh air and movement.

Finally, I believe making time for non-work-related conversations among colleagues is vital. It’s important we get to know one another as people and connect on a human level too. Avalere Health has 19 city hubs across the globe, so if you find yourself living near or visiting a city with an office, it’s nice to take advantage of in-person quality time too.

What do you do outside of working hours?

During a typical week, I enjoy spending time with friends, cooking (and eating great food!), reading, spending time outdoors, exercising (dancing, yoga, and Pilates are my favorites), and taking advantage of Coursera, our online learning platform.

More broadly though, I love traveling. I’m hoping to have visited 30 countries by my 31st birthday next year. I also love most outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and scuba diving, and since moving to Southern California, I’ve also attempted surfing!

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