I grew up in the Midwest — the middle child in a large family. We were each tagged with certain labels and expectations: the smart ones, the overachievers, and the ones still trying to find themselves (and that was before it was fashionable).

I was a little bit of all those things… but with no clear path. Not a nurse, dentist, or engineer as some of my siblings chose. I realize now that my lack of an obvious vocation gave me the freedom to explore and be open to many paths, some of which I never could have imagined.

Throughout the first half of my professional career in multiple corporate roles, I never considered myself an entrepreneur per se. But upon reflection, I see how often I was drawn to participating in new things — whether a business, market, geography, or role — and always with a desire to take on uncertain challenges to achieve a goal.

By necessity, the uncertainty of these experiences drove me to prioritize the people around me so that I could learn from them, and then, together, we could do amazing things. It also opened my mind to embrace more than the pure corporate track.

In late 2003, I again found myself with no clear path but an abundance of incredible corporate experiences, from sales to executive leadership roles in three distinct life science businesses (pharma, diagnostics, imaging), both US and global. I also had views on how organizations could work more effectively and how to cut through the morass that is so often the reason morale suffers, people leave, and goals are not met.

Enter the launch of what ultimately became The NemetzGroup LLC, which now, in 2023, celebrates its 20th anniversary. I am so incredibly proud (and humbled) to achieve this milestone!

And I am grateful…

… to the employees who worked with us over this time, many of whom are still with us today. Consultants who had already succeeded in corporate roles and operations professionals who built systems to send invoices and get paid. (Hopefully, with very few 90-day term agreements. Come on, Big Pharma — really?)

… to the more than 200 companies we have worked with during this time and the many strategy and commercialization engagements within those companies. We have shared in the excitement of your journey to bring innovative medicines to patients, and our hearts have sunk when the data didn’t bear out. We have thrilled in your successful financing rounds and enjoyed cheering you on during the process. Your faith and trust in us made us work harder for you.

… to the hundreds of leaders at all levels we supported and learned from over these two decades. We have appreciated being your thought partners and confidants, celebrating your promotions, and supporting your transitions. We love working with you, as so many of you are now our friends.

The many chapters of The NemetzGroup’s experiences, all the changes in our industry, and my own growth as an entrepreneur and founder of now two companies (The NemetzGroup and Corval) could fill many months of e-conversations.

Today, however, I want to mark our 20th anniversary with 20 jewels of wisdom and gratitude:

To Founders, Entrepreneurs, and Business Owners:

    1. Your job is hard; you bear all the risk and get only some of the glory. Hang in there!
    1. Surround yourself with people you would trust with your money because you are doing precisely that.
    1. Embrace the journey; the learning is amazing. It is okay to be innovative.
    1. Find your peers — those who understand what you do and have ideas for how to run a business for results and efficiency. Many of us are doing it for the first time.
    1. The vision matters. Define it and be true to it as you make decisions and take care of your team — they believe in the vision, too. Never forget — humans are complicated.

To Biopharma CEOs, Leaders, and Managers of People:

    1. Your focus on patients must be authentic; your team believes your words.
    1. Remember, you are a teacher/coach. There is so much for your team to learn about the industry, the science, the market, their jobs, AND your expectations.
    1. Our industry is unique in the number of diverse roles, the high compensation, and the strong network of support. We must not take this for granted.
    1. Seek innovation and technology in how your team works, in addition to the output. There are more tools than PowerPoint and Excel.
    1. Words of gratitude, 1:1 time, and showing concern beyond the work matters to literally everyone.

To Consultants, Agencies, Data Suppliers, Service Providers, and More:

    1. Presume abundance. We are in an industry that relies on us, and there is more than enough work to go around.
    1. Build relationships with your clients — beyond just the work. They value your input and want to learn from you.
    1. Don’t be afraid to give candid feedback if the client is struggling. Your credibility will grow.
    1. Be generous with your knowledge; it will help clients understand your domain. The basics are not proprietary, yet they are valuable to the in-house team.
    1. Build your network of other service providers. We all refer people who we trust to do good work, and it is always great to “phone a friend.”

To Up-and-Coming Talent:

    1. We are glad you are part of our team. You bring energy and new thinking!
    1. Please share your ideas, take things off our plate, and be visible.
    1. It is all about the network! Prioritize building your network beyondLinkedIn. Schedule calls and meet with people, including the external consultants who support your company. It’s okay, they will say yes!
    1. Help us be more innovative and use technology to drive efficiency.
    1. Seek to learn, always — in every role, every company, every opportunity. It truly is the one thing no one can take away from you.

Thank you for coming along on this 20-year journey with us — especially as I celebrate this company and Marnie in her new role as President. But I am not done.

I continue to apply so much of what I learned over the past twenty years in continuing to build The NemetzGroup as I now try to scale Corval, a software company whose vision is to make technology accessible in solving challenging market issues. Even though the industry is the same (biopharma) and the focus is the same (commercialization), the company structure, profile of the team, ways of operating, and business model — are night and day different. I can’t wait to share those insights in the future. I love it all!

Happy Anniversary to The NemetzGroup, all our past and current clients, our vast network of extraordinary professionals, the families who support us all, and the patients who trust we will keep doing the work we do!

And to all, wishing you a new year full of health, happiness, and hope for peace in the world.