My last day was December 4 — the end of a four-year adventure at TGen and the start of a new journey for me.
TGen, the Translational Genomics Research Institute, explores the human genome to find the causes of and develop treatments for complex diseases. A nonprofit biomedical research organization, headquartered in Phoenix, TGen hired me as its first marketing director.
I don’t think they or I knew what we were getting into, but it was a hell of a ride. Every day, I got to work with some of the brightest minds in science and medicine, and they let me tell their stories… in small words and big type so everyone could understand.
And so everyone could celebrate and, more importantly, support their achievements.
Along the way, we made rap videos and time-lapse installations. We wrote e-newsletters and created ad campaigns. We promoted fundraisers, gave tours and posted patient-stories on social media. We launched a podcast — TGen Talks — to give voice to the people behind the discoveries.
The scientists invited me into their laboratories and lab meetings, and they gave me grace and patience as they answered my (repeated) questions and (painstakingly) explained their work so I could share it with others. They showed me that failure is always an option; that the answers found aren’t necessarily as important as the questions asked or the work put in to achieve the goal; that you can stand in awe of the mysteries of the universe while working doggedly to solve them; and that you can do great things and also have fun along the way.
I am grateful to my friend Troy Richards for introducing me to the organization that saved his life. I owe my eternal thanks to my boss, Galen Perry, for giving me a chance, and I am honored to have worked alongside the hardest-working team in the building, the MARCOM team (an army of seven, of which I was a department of one). I am humbled by everyone at TGen that put their faith in me to tell their stories.
So why did I leave?
It was not an easy decision to make, but growth doesn’t come easily. I have been invited to lead my own team at Barrow Neurological Foundation. I will still be supporting science and working to inspire donors to a cause greater than myself. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid: It’s daunting, but if we’re not afraid, we’re not growing.
My first day is December 17.