Caroline Chandler, Flagship Project Manager, graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports medicine. Caroline shared her thoughts about her career and working at Flagship in this spotlight article.
Early Cancer Treatment Understanding
“Being a project manager is not an occupation you choose as a kindergartner – wouldn’t that be a proclamation to hear from a 6-year-old? Growing up, I was intrigued by almost everything and imagined that I could be anything I wanted to be. My possibilities seemed endless.
When I was 11 years old, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and I had to learn a lot about illness that most kids, fortunately, do not. Being curious, I constantly asked questions about what was happening to my mom and how the doctors were fixing things. I would help with changing her post-surgery dressing, go with her to radiologist appointments, and learned how to move the lymphatic fluid from her right arm down to the nodes in her back and abdomen. I thought the “process” that my mom had to go through to be healthy again was very trivial, but also fascinating.
My mom was denied by several oncologists who gave her six months to live with a 20% chance of survival. It wasn’t until she was accepted into a closed clinical trial as an exception (patient 31 out of 30), that she was given an opportunity for survival. My family owes so much to the oncologist who saw past the severity of my mom’s disease and instead saw a mother of four daughters who was strong and relentless in the fight for her life.”
Building Life and Work Experience
Becoming a project manager for a biotech company that supports clinical trials that can potentially give second chances to mothers like mine is what inspires me every single day. I am VERY proud to be a part of Flagship for that reason.
“As a graduate with a sports medicine degree with no intention of going to med school, I found myself at a bit of a dead-end with jobs in the medical field. I took on a job as a contractor for an oil company doing client relations/accounts payable in the accounting department. After deciding I was a bit too much of an extravert for a position in accounting, I took a leap of faith and became a preschool teacher in Baku, Azerbaijan. When I returned to the US, I met the Image Analysis Manager from Flagship at a curling league in Golden who suggest I apply, and the rest is history!
Serving as a liaison between the client and internal team allows me a unique position to understand the client’s needs and work with the internal team, to assess how to apply our internal solutions to solve their challenges. Flagship is composed of an innovative and creative group of people; everyone plays a strong hand in making sure that samples are carefully handled from the moment they enter the door to delivering the analyzed data to the client. My favorite part of my job is having the opportunity to facilitate and maintain the collaborative relationship between our clients and the internal teams. It is amazing what happens when two different teams of people come together to solve problems and design studies to support all types of different clinical trials across different diseases.”
The Future with Flagship
“In the future, I truly look forward to expanding the Flagship team and having a larger impact in the industry. Flagship is not a typical CRO; we want to help our clients along the entire spectrum of their programs from the research and discovery space all the way into supporting their prospective clinical trials. It is so rewarding to watch a program move from one end of the spectrum to the other – how many companies can say they can do that?”
Biotech Industry Advice
“To those who might aspire to be a part of the biotech industry, I want to remind you that you don’t have to be a PhD scientist or an MD pathologist! I have always loved science, critical thinking, and working with people, which translates perfectly into the project management role for me. Being a project manager satisfies all my “Type A” organizational tendencies while exposing me to the incredible advancements happening in the science industry and allows me to be a part of it.”