Today we are proud to shine the spotlight on Christine Lind – VP of Commercial at NDA.
Christine is the investment banker who fell in love with Life Science and has spent her career helping companies reach their financial goals and subsequently supported new medicines to reach the market. As a leader, Christine is devoted, bold and determined, with a purpose that’s always rooted in doing good.
Operating at a higher level of purpose
If you aspire to become the President of the United States, one of the constitutional requirements is that you must be born on US soil. Before Christine Lind, VP of Commercial at NDA, was born, her American parents lived abroad but decided to return home in time for her birth just in case she would like to run for office in the future.
“I am ambitious,” Christine says with a smile, “and I think we should set a higher level of ambition of what we can and should achieve, both as people and as a society”.
There is no hiding the fact that Christine is fierce. Ever since she was a young girl, she was confident about what she wanted to do with her life: to contribute to the greater good.
At the age of 16, Christine got an exceptional opportunity, to be a Page for the US House of Representatives. She describes it as a glorified messenger service, but it gave her six months of access to the hearings and discussions of the floor of the House. The internship took place during the recession of the early 1990s, and the rise in inflation, increases in gas prices and the threat of war in the Persian Gulf caused a major downturn in the nation’s economy. The sometimes toxic debate was disheartening for Christine, and she refers to the experience as ‘they had no idea of what they were talking about’.
“It was then that I realised that you have lots of opportunities to decide how you use your skillset. We can either choose to do good in the world or we can do nothing. Even if I didn’t know exactly how, I knew I wanted to contribute to making the world a better place”.
Christine turned her back on political science and chose the field of economics instead. By having a strong financial background, she reasoned, she could serve to avoid future budget crises. Christine studied finance and information systems which led to her first job in investment banking; supporting biotech companies achieve their strategic plans.
“I instantly loved working in this area. I enjoyed the promise of new biotechnologies and what that might mean for patient care in the future. I did not study chemistry or biology at school, but I could use my skills to help these companies get funding and find partners to ensure that the best medicines reached the market”.
Redundancy as a sign of success
When Christine moved on from investment banking, she worked with business strategies and development in both large and smaller life science companies while also holding multiple board directorships. She has developed the ability of moving forward alongside standing her ground. For every hard-earned position, there have been both advocates and tough opposition and sometimes it’s been lonely on the job. But Christine built resilience, a foundation that helps her irrespective of the circumstances.
Supporting a company to optimise their strategy and implement a growth plan means that, if you are doing your job well, there is a good chance your role may become redundant. For Christine this happened on more than one occasion.
“Eliminating my own job was the right decision for the companies to carry on and be successful. When there is a strategy, decisions need to be taken accordingly. From a personal perspective, it has given me the opportunity to reflect on what I enjoy doing and what the next step in my personal growth plan would be”.
Never satisfied with Status Quo
For Christine it is important to always take some time to reflect and re-evaluate previous decisions. Was there anything that could have been done differently? What was the lesson to be learned? The world she operates in does not stand still, so she must keep moving, learning, and growing.
Christine is the consummate team player. She knows when to lead, but also when to just set the direction and step out of the way for others to shine. She recognises the qualities in others and always makes sure they know.
“You should always acknowledge your team. Recognise their diversities and strengths and use them. I am by no means the smartest person in the room. It is never about me alone, it is the team that makes this place strong. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation made better by just one person”.
Being highly purpose driven, Christine could never work in a ‘profit over people’ organisation. There must be some greater good in the value proposition for her to commit to a company. When joining NDA, Christine knew she had found a good match.
“One of the things that really resonated with me was NDA’s dedication to do long term good for the entire industry. And even if we value our expertise, there is also the humble notion that there’s always room for improvement, otherwise we will not be the experts anymore”.
On being human
While there is no typical day for Christine, she usually finds herself in a variety of different meetings, overseeing the day-to-day operations. If there are strategic initiatives that do not work, Christine will step in and make the necessary changes. The focus is always about the issue, never about who did what.
“I tend to get right to the point which sometimes makes me come across as being blunt. As much as I like communication, I’m not great at small talk, I’m just too impatient for that”.
A large part of Christine’s workday involves making tough decisions. Holding herself to high standards and constantly pushing for progress, there are times when the job becomes too intense. How does she manage this?
“I’m a crier”, she admits. “I cry about everything: when I’m overwhelmed, frustrated, angry but also when I am happy, or I get a wonderful surprise. So, it might be good to know that I always cry first. Then I get on with it and work to find a solution to whatever tough situation I’m in. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, even if I am crying while I am chewing”.
Christine channels the same perseverance when it comes to coping with stress or brain overload. To take her mind off things, she must actively get involved in something that occupies both her mental and physical attention. One such thing is figure skating.
“I am a terrible runner; my thoughts just keep going and I end up even more stressed. But if I do something I haven't mastered, I have to be completely focused, which leaves no room for pondering”.
Christine makes decision making sound simple but having a moral compass always pointing her in the right direction makes it somewhat easier. The mission to do good and leaving something better than when finding it applies to everything Christine does. A quality that would work in favour of any President of the United States.