The GuideStar team is comprised of amazing people from all different backgrounds and strengths. What they have in common is their passion for clinical research, and for making your clinical research programs the most profitable and successful they can be.
In our Employee Q&A features we ask our employees what they enjoy most about what they do, and give them an opportunity to share a bit about who they are outside of the workplace. Enjoy!
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GuideStar: What attracted you to the clinical research industry?
Steven: To be honest, I had no intentions of working in clinical research when I was in undergrad. I intended to go to medical school; however, shortly after I graduated, I realized that I did not wish to be in school until I would be almost 30 years old. I started applying for applicable jobs that my degree qualified me for. I also did not wish to spend all day in a lab, so I stumbled on a clinical research coordinator position at an oncology practice where I was able to learn the ins and outs of the industry. I enjoyed the challenge of the position and was able to travel the country in that time. I later took a job at a CRO where I had the chance to see the industry from a new perspective. One thing I enjoy about this industry (especially earlier in my career) was the flexibility to move around until I found the perfect fit for me.
GuideStar: Can you tell us about your greatest professional success?
Steven: In 2017 I started freelancing, which is actually how I was initially introduced to GuideStar. Up until that point, I was always fearful of taking that step. It was rather exhilarating to be doing something on my own and finding tremendous success with it. I had several interesting contracts that kept me very busy during that time.
GuideStar: If you could give clinical research sites/hospitals only one piece of advice, what would you tell them?
Steven: Take research billing compliance seriously. It is not something you want to mess up. It’s comparable to not paying your taxes. You might get away with it for many years, but eventually, the IRS will catch up to you. Being out of compliance is such an unnecessary risk, especially with there being more scrutiny than ever. “I did not know any better” is not an excuse that will be accepted by any authority. If you do not have anyone versed in billing compliance, hire someone or hire a company to do it. The amount you can be fined for being out of compliance is significant.
GuideStar: How do you define success?
Steven: Several years ago, I would have said salary, but I’ve learned that money is not everything. I’d define success as being well rounded in both your career and personal life. I enjoy my line of work, and when called for, I’m happy to put that extra time in, but I have plenty of hobbies I enjoy outside of the office. I spend a lot of time with family and friends. There is a necessary balance that you have to have to feel fulfilled. I define success as figuring out how to find that.
GuideStar: In your opinion, what is the key to success for research sites/hospitals?
Steven: Communication. I’ve worked within a huge system, and it is incredibly difficult to get everyone on the same page. Every department has an opinion and a way of doing things which creates a fractured system that can lead to a huge mess. Sites with a culture of communication and collaboration tend to be more successful than ones that stick with the fractured system.
GuideStar: Can you tell us a “fun fact” about you?
Steven: I’ll officially be a new dad in two or three weeks. That’s fun (and terrifying). Also, I recently drafted a novel for fun. I’m trying to get it published. We’ll see how that goes (I’ll let you all know when I sell the rights for a movie deal).
GuideStar: If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Steven: Fried chicken. It would probably not be a very long life, but it would be a good one.
GuideStar: Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant hamster?
Steven: Definitely a tiny elephant. I live in Baltimore. If people saw a giant hamster, they would assume it’s a rat and probably just kill me. The potential to get a cozy space at the zoo is much higher as a tiny elephant.
GuideStar: What is the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
Steven: It would probably have to be my honeymoon in Mexico. It was ten days, no stress, just me and my wife, with all the food and drinks we could have on a phenomenal resort.
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Are you interested in hearing more from Steven? Listen to his recent webinar, presented with GuideStar Research Finance Specialist, John Tiley, on budget negotiation strategies for clinical research sites: