Our Orchard

My engagement and leadership at Orchard and why it’s important

By Ale (Maria) Vazquez-Gragg, M.D.
December 7, 2020

I’ve always felt strongly about the power in collaboration and connections to drive growth.

When I joined Orchard as VP, Global Head of Pharmacovigilance in January 2020, I was initially drawn to the organization because of the incredible science and group of passionate, dedicated leaders pioneering this new wave of medicine. Fast-forward to today and while that stands true, I’ve come to find that what truly sets Orchard apart for me is the wide-spread encouragement to grow beyond what we all thought was possible—for patients, medicine, our colleagues and ourselves.

At Orchard, we are supported to be leaders who empower and motivate our teams—drawing on our entrepreneurial spirits and leveraging our individual strengths to drive forward our mission of transforming the lives of patients with rare diseases through innovative gene therapies. There is a deep commitment to employee engagement, development and wellbeing that’s distilled through the example we all set in our words and actions every day.

Recently, I was approached with an opportunity to join a private network of female leaders committed to enacting lasting and meaningful change in the world. The group, Chief, was built to propel more women into positions of power and keep them there. While I’ve been part of similar networking groups in the past, this one really stood out because it draws on expertise from women across a variety of industries and encourages you to think dynamically in applying the learnings to your own experiences and situations. I saw this as a great opportunity to draw on others expertise to strengthen my leadership journey, cross-pollinate ideas across industries and effect change from the top-down. Most importantly though, I saw an opportunity to bring this knowledge back to the Orchard team to empower people across the organization.

I believe the step change for leaders is the recognition that before you can lead and engage others you first need to lead yourself, become self-aware and embody humble leadership from the inside-out. Leveraging this opportunity to grow as a leader, I joined Chief to provide me with an invaluable resource to develop myself, and therefore others, as leaders.

Today, I’m proud to be a founding member of the Chief Boston chapter. I’m lucky to be supported by so many strong, inspirational women and men in both my personal and professional life and to be part of a company where I can make an impact and a difference for others—whether it’s our patients, colleagues or ourselves. I urge everyone to find their own community of support and empowerment, be it at work, home or elsewhere and invest in your growth and development. Knowledge is power, but shared knowledge is far more powerful; it enables us and those we share it with to achieve more together.

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