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Partnering Superheroes | Who Better to Combine Collaborative Leadership Skills with Strategic Vision and Ride Them All the Way to the C-Suite?

Posted By Mike Leonetti, CSAP, Friday, April 17, 2020

Superhero movies are definitely, as the kids say, “a thing.” They’re fun and exciting, a great way to liven up a long winter night. But do superheroes really exist, and could they have any relevance for us in terms of business strategy? I didn’t think so, but recently I was part of three conversations that changed my mind.

 

First, I spoke with Elizabeth Gazda, CEO of Embr Labs, in anticipation of her upcoming Leadership Forum talk at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit. Embr Labs makes a wearable bracelet that can raise or lower your skin temperature to help with stress reduction and anxiety and improve sleep and focus. Before joining Embr, Liz cofounded a fintech and a music technology startup, and worked at some of Boston’s first “unicorns,” like ATG and m-Qube.

 

Liz made the point that the collaborative leadership and critical thinking skills needed in the C-suite are very close to those of the alliance management competency profile. Liz believes partnering “superheroes” can and should be showcased in their organizations as potential future CEOs. In her view, alliance management is the perfect preparation for executive leadership, especially as more and more companies undergo digital transformation via partnerships and seek to nurture and reward collaborative entrepreneurial excellence.

 

A second conversation took place in early February in Boston, at an ASAP New England chapter meeting whose theme was “Taking the Next Step: Critical Skills for Aspiring Alliance Executives and Organizational Leaders.” Moderated by Mai-Tal Kennedy of Vantage Partners, the discussion featured panelists Lou Shipley, former CEO of Black Duck Software and a lecturer at Harvard Business School and MIT; Christine Carberry, CSAP, board member at the UNH Entrepreneurship Center; and Andrew Hirsch, CFO and head of corporate development for Agios Pharmaceuticals.

 

All of them highlighted both the difficult job alliance managers have and its relevance for future career success. Lou in particular noted the number of alliance management “superstars” at his previous organization, including one who combined the roles of alliance management, business development, and investment banking expertise—superhero skills indeed. This individual directed the ultimate spinoff of the company and saved it close to $10 million. How’s that for adding value?

 

The third conversation was Jay McBain’s January 30 ASAP webinar, “Top 10 Channel and Alliances Predictions for 2020.” This presentation, an outgrowth of Jay’s influential research for Forrester, highlighted key trends affecting not only the tech world but most industries, as nearly every company, he says, is fast becoming a technology company. (See our cover story in Strategic Alliance Quarterly on ecosystems, for more of Jay’s and other experts’ timely insights and analysis of this exploding phenomenon.)

 

Among these trends is what Jay calls the “trifurcation” of the IT indirect sales channel into an influencer channel, the familiar transactional channel, and a retention channel. He noted too that with such heavyweights as Microsoft and Salesforce bringing hundreds or thousands of new partners into their ecosystems every month, a great partner experience is quickly becoming as important as a great customer experience when companies look strategically to their future.

 

With this heightened awareness of the interrelated issues of customer and partner experience—especially the complex retention phase—how are we going to manage all these relationships and ecosystems? What sort of superheroes will be needed to lead behemoths like Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, IBM, and others into the partnering-everywhere world?

 

I think you know the answer. Who better than alliance professionals? As Jay said, they’re the ones with the right résumé to be ecosystem managers and orchestrators—not only in IT, but in biopharma, manufacturing, consumer goods, and across industries. These partnering specialists, collaboration leaders, and strategic visionaries have the capabilities, the skills, and the superhero savvy to get it done—the same attributes that make them ideal candidates for the C-suite.

 

So what’s holding us back? Despite an abundance of evidence, not enough companies have grasped the full implications. I see many organizations focused on the transaction—and not applying partnering best practice in the retention phase of sales partnerships. As Jay argues, some of them—even among the Fortune 500—will end up losers, sticking their heads in the sand and refusing to adapt to an oncoming future where customer satisfaction is increasingly delivered through a great partner experience (Px).

 

Alliance professionals can make Px a reality right now. The lessons of past partnership failures should be enough to rally today’s C-suite leaders to seek success in the massive partnerships their organizations will undertake. In addition, organizations must begin grooming their best alliance managers for the C-suite and other positions of leadership in the future—even as they’re employing them for partner and customer retention in the present. We have the tools, the skills, and the people to get the job done; what’s needed is a true focus and consensus that partnerships are difficult and require best practices and trained professionals to make them successful. That and a hardy band of partnering superheroes—with or without the cape.

Tags:  alliance professionals  Black Duck Software  Christine Carberry  collaborative leaders  c-Suite  ecosystem  Elizabeth Gazda  Embr Labs  Google  Harvard Business School  IBM  Jay McBain  Lou Shipley  Mai-Tal Kennedy  Microsoft  MIT  partnerships  Salesforce  UNH Entrepreneurship Cen  Vantage Partners 

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The Virtuous Cycle in Alliance Management—a Summit Spotlight Exclusive (Part 2)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

“The alliance manager’s role is to understand the importance of timing,” advises Christine Carberry, CSAP, in Part One of ASAP Media’s interview with the seasoned alliance manager and former chief operating officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics). Carberry, who also previously served as chair of the ASAP board of directors, will be providing a leadership spotlight plenary session, “Collaborate-Create: The Value of the Virtuous Cycle,” at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem,” March 10-13 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ASAP Media’s conversation with Carberry continues below.

Carberry’s role for six months of her year working for Keryx was as co-leader of integration planning with counterpart Akebia. Early on, she realized that her role wouldn’t continue with the new organization. She is philosophical about it. “You are working on trying to have everybody see the value of the merger—employees in the companies, investors, and shareholders. Yet people know you are not going to be part of it,” she explains of the challenge. “It’s about taking the time, if you can, to explore and not think that you have to jump right back into doing exactly what you were doing. Each experience leads to another.”

Alliance mangers are seekers of “the high road” trying to rise above conflict and egos, and keeping everyone focused on the common goal.  “You’re really a navigator,” she adds. “One of the criticisms that we’ve heard is alliance managers need to think of themselves much more broadly. And think of themselves as the people always looking for a portfolio of alliances and expanding value, not just be within the confines of agreements that you have today. That’s the challenge I want to give to the audience [at the Summit] in thinking about how we can have a greater impact by making better, stronger connections between ideas and resources, creating better conditions for collaboration. Your alliance portfolio is dynamic, and I think that alliance managers can create more value by really understanding that one alliance is one piece of a company portfolio and needs to align with company strategy.”

Before her one-year stint with Keryx, Carberry spent three and a half years with FORUM Pharmaceuticals (formerly EnVivo Pharmaceuticals) and 26 years with Biogen, where she stated out in an entry-level position during a time when genetic engineering was “scary science.” Biogen was a Fortune 500 international company that brought several drugs to patients “that changed their lives,” she adds. 

Despite being in transition between jobs, Carberry has “a very full plate.” In addition to her spotlight plenary session, as chairman emerita of ASAP, she will attend the Summit board and advisory meetings and will lead a roundtable about alliance management in a crisis situation. “It’s similar to what I’ve done in other transitional periods. It allows me to increase involvement in leadership roles,” she says.

Learn about Carberry’s talk and other leadership sessions and register for the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit at http://asapsummit.org. See the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive before, during, and after coverage of the 2019 Summit in Strategic Alliance publications and on the ASAP blog.  

Tags:  Akebia Therapeutics  Alliance Excellence Award  alliance manager  Christine Carberry  conflict  digital  expanding value  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnership  Patheon  strategic partner  technology  Thermo Fisher 

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The Virtuous Cycle in Alliance Management—a Summit Spotlight Exclusive (Part 1)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

“There is a time and purpose for everything. So the alliance manager’s role is to understand the importance of timing.” Thus advises Christine Carberry, CSAP, a seasoned alliance manager and former chief operating officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics). Carberry, who also previously served as chair of the ASAP board of directors, will be providing a leadership spotlight session “Collaborate-Create: The Value of the Virtuous Cycle” at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem,” March 10-13 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A virtuous cycle connects right ideas with right resources in the right timing, she continues. “Timing is part of creating the right environment for collaboration and pulling those pieces together and then generating value,” Carberry explains. “That value often generates new ideas that just feed back into it. Growing new ideas may mean you need different kinds of resources. You may have an idea on how to improve a patient’s experience in a clinical trial. From that, you may come up with an idea that there’s a way to make that experience better using technology. Now you need different resources and skillsets to improve the patient experience in a digital way.”

Carberry’s talk is based on 30 years of management experience. Right now, she is between companies after Keryx Biopharmaceuticals and Akebia Therapeutics merged in December. The two companies are under consideration for a 2019 ASAP Alliance Excellence Award for their handling of a supply disruption where patients could not obtain a jointly manufactured drug. Access resumed after the companies teamed togetherfrom the C-level to the operational teamsto create a quick, viable solution.  

 

 “We had to navigate this partnership when Patheon merged with Fisher, and Keryx with Akebia,” Carberry explains. “Traditionally, biopharma companies treat CMOs as vendors, not as collaborators. … Applying all of the ASAP approaches and tools to the CMO I think creates a much stronger partnership, and it was demonstrated in this supply disruption situation. We needed high levels of trust with CEO engagement. It wasn’t business as usual. It was requiring people to go above and beyond,” she continues. “Agile is a good word for it. That willingness to be flexible and agile is less likely to happen if you are treating your CMO as a vendor rather than as strategic partner. “

 

See the ASAP Blog for Part Two of this interview with Christine Carberry, CSAP. Learn about Carberry’s plenary talk and other leadership sessions at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, and register for the event, at http://asapsummit.org. See the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive before, during, and after coverage of the 2019 Summit in Strategic Alliance publications and on the ASAP blog.  

Tags:  Akebia Therapeutics  Alliance Excellence Award  alliance manager  Christine Carberry  digital  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnership  Patheon  strategic partner  technology  Thermo Fisher 

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‘From Value Chains to Business Ecosystems’: Featured Presenters from IBM, Salesforce, Dassault Systemes, and SAIC Join the Lineup for 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John M. DeWitt, Friday, January 18, 2019

This week ASAP announced the lineup of featured speakers at the March 11-13, 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in a press release distributed via PRWeb.

“Each year’s Summit is a one-of-a-kind event where the world’s most experienced and capable partnering and alliance management executives share successful practices and lessons learned from their business collaborations,” ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, said in the announcement. “The 2019 Summit will include the incredibly smart and provocative speakers, hands-on learning, and candid peer-to-peer conversations that participants experience at ASAP’s other annual destination events—the BioPharma Conference, Tech Partner Forum, and European Alliance Summit. But there are unique connections and insights that only come from the ASAP Global Alliance Summit’s diversity. In a time of rapidly expanding cross-industry alliances, public-private partnerships, and customer-centered collaborative ecosystems, the Summit attracts leading thinkers and practitioners from many industries, sectors, and geographies, allowing attendees to glean insights, engage with surprising new ideas, and even meet unexpected new partners.”

This year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit will take place March 11-13, 2019, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Platinum Sponsors of the event include Vantage Partners and WorkSpan; The Rhythm of Business is a Gold Sponsor. Headlining speakers include:

  • Bruce Anderson, general manager, high-tech/electronics industry, IBM
  • Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer, biopharmaceutical senior executive
  • Steve Levine, PhD, Dassault Systèmes, founder and executive director, Living Heart Project
  •  Tiffani Bova, global customer growth and innovation evangelist, Salesforce
  • Charles Onstott, chief technology officer, SAIC

Bruce Anderson: “Partnering in the AI Era”

On the morning of March 12, as part of the conference opening session, Bruce Anderson will present a plenary talk titled “Partnering in the AI Era: An Essential Shift from Value Chains to Business Ecosystems.” He intends to share his deep understanding of marketplace opportunities and challenges facing companies, describing what he’s learned as he consults extensively with senior executives striving to optimize and transform their organizations, operations, and business models.

After lunch on March 12, four speakers will present TED-talk-style presentations during the 2019 Summit’s Leadership Spotlight plenary session.

Christine Carberry, CSAP: Maximizing Value

Is it a lack of time, resources, or ideas that holds back fulfilling the maximum value of alliances? Perhaps all these ingredients are available in abundance and what is lacking is the ability to connect the right ideas with the right resources at the right time, Carberry intends to explore. The concept is simple—find the right connections, collaborate on a common goal, and create value. Executing against this simple concept is far from easy. In this session, Carberry will talk about how to strengthen connections, improve collaboration, and increase value creation in alliances and beyond.

Steve Levine, PhD: The Living Heart Project

In the US, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. What if a virtual replica of your heart could be created, imitating its unique electrical impulses, muscle fiber contractions, and abnormalities? Valuable insights on human heart function could accelerate breakthroughs delivered to clinical practice. Dr. Levine will describe his methodology to unite the world's leading cardiovascular researchers, medical industry innovators, regulatory agencies, and practicing cardiologists on a shared mission to develop accurate personalized digital human heart models.

Tiffani Bova: “Growth IQ” and Partnering

Customers demand a seamless experience, regardless of who makes the sale. Profitable and sustainable business growth is top of mind in and around all industries. Alliance managers must develop their "Growth IQ" to meet today's business demands. Pulling from the 10 proven paths highlighted in her Wall Street Journal Best Seller book, Growth IQ: Get Smarter about the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business, Bova will present customer-centric best practices and pivot points for partnering executives and their companies to consider.

Charles Onstott: Partnering to Help the US Government Move at Startup Speeds

Not known as an early adopter, many parts of the US government have been pushing for easier acquisition of new technology. SAIC, as a technology integrator, strives to help emerging technology companies expand into government business—and thereby bring valuable capabilities that benefit the government. Onstott plans to discuss SAIC’s partner engagement model, share lessons learned in establishing relationships with emerging technology companies, and provide examples of what worked and did not work well.

The 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit will take place March 11-13, 2019, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Platinum Sponsors of the event include Vantage Partners and WorkSpan. The Rhythm of Business is a Gold Sponsor. For more information and to register for the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, please visit http://asapsummit.org. To learn more, read the complete ASAP press release distributed via PRWeb and stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s preview coverage of the Summit in Strategic Alliance magazines and on the ASAP Blog.

John M. DeWitt is a contributing writer and editor for ASAP Media. 

Tags:  2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  alliances  Business Ecosystems  Charles Onstott  Christine Carberry  collaborative ecosystems  Dassault Systemes  IBM  partner  SAIC  Salesforce  Steve Levine  Tiffani Bova  Value Chains 

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The C-Suite Takes Front Seat in Lively Panel Discussion at ASAP BioPharma Conference (Part 3)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, November 1, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This is a continuation from the panel discussion “Speak My Language: How to Have a High Impact Conversation with the C-suite,” which took place at the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference. See Part 1 of this blog post for background information on the panel, which included:

  • James C. Mullen, chairman of the board of directors at Editas Medicine, Inc., who has grown many organizations dependent on partnerships
  •   Samantha Singer, chief operating officer at the Broad Institute, whose organization partners with multiple industries to achieve the Institute’s mission to impact human health throughout the world
  • Alex Waldron, chief commercial officer at Pear Therapeutics, who is highly skilled at bringing in business development and alliance management expertise to grow a company through partnerships

Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, moderated the session. At this point in the discussion, Carberry had just prompted panel members to answer the following: “Let’s dig into where things tend to go awry. How do alliance professionals demonstrate their value to the organization? The second half of my question is, what are some of the pitfalls? Where do alliances get in trouble, and how can an alliance manager avoid those pitfalls?” After listening to the responses (see Part 2 of this blog for panelists’ answers), she added her thoughts.

Carberry: Build C-suite-to-C-suite [connections] early on in the relationship. I use to joke that it’s important to have relationships between companies that play golf so the CEOs can get together. You need to be comfortable getting on the phone with them and having a conversation that can go like this: “This is what we’ve done, tried, and this is why it didn’t work.” This is helpful to an executive. We need to implement what will remove barriers and allow us to go forward. The value proposition may have just changed for the companies: That beautiful future might not get created, because we all know divorce is part of the deal. One of the things you will discover as an alliance manager is  you will get people in the organization grumbling about the partner.

Mullen: How many of you inherited a contact, and you were not at the table? [At this point, nearly everyone raised his or her hand while laughter rippled through the room.] Look for the wishy-washy language. Those are the issues that never got resolved during the contract negotiations.

Singer: No matter how good your business development is, the reality is [your perception of the contract] will not match three months later.

Mullen: If you are talking about “stage gate,” make sure it means the same thing between the partners. It may seem really obvious, but it’s not. Make exactly sure of what they are saying.

Carberry: Have clear definitions. For example, “First Patient In.” You may think things are commonly understood, but lawyers say it’s important to make sure definitions are as clear as they possibly can be.

Carberry then fielded an audience question from Jeremy Ahouse, CSAP, vice president alliances, Merus. “A lot of alliance people complain that when they have to bring bad news, the C-suite thinks they only bring problems. How can you do that so that the messenger doesn’t feel like they will get shot?”

Mullen: You need a fairly straight scorecard for the goals of the partnership, and you need a record against that. That way,  it becomes evident that you are making progress. The fact is, [otherwise], you are just raising problems. Check off the problems, and let them know that they talked to you about it, that work was done, and here’s how it got resolved. Keep a high-level scorecard.

Waldron: I agree on the scorecard. And talk about successes, don’t only talk about problems.

Carberry: Everyone is conditioned to success. So if you are doing your job well, you are having those conversations about problems with us.

Waldron: If your company doesn’t have some kind of periodic review, push for that—even if it’s a 15-minute review. Push for that so you can get in front of them. We had a lot of customers, and both the customers and our company didn’t do everything perfectly. But when I had that review of information first, then when they called me up and let me know, 90 percent of the problem was already solved. I knew about it, cared about it, and it got solved.

See parts one and two of this blog and ASAP Media’s ongoing coverage from the 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. You will find interviews with conference presenters and other coverage of leadership and strategy, biopharma-tech partnerships, and other trending conference topics in recent and forthcoming editions of Strategic Alliance Magazine and eSAM Plus

Tags:  Alex Waldron  alliance managers  Broad Institute  Christine Carberry  collaborations  c-suite  Editas Medicine  James C. Mullen  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnerships  Pear Therapeutics  Samantha Singer  scorecard 

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