Our Orchard

The Importance of Orchard’s Core Values for Our Bold Vision

By Bobby Gaspar, M.D., Ph.D.
April 21, 2021

As we pass the one-year mark of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective shift to at-home work, and my transition to the role of chief executive officer at Orchard, I am struck by how much we have achieved and how extraordinarily well we have worked together during these unprecedented times. The culture and values we have demonstrated to accomplish this are captured in our Core Values—which I believe are a real reflection of what Orchard is and aims to be.

We have collectively identified the values of—Courage, Ingenuity, Compassion, Diligence and Collaboration—as our cultural cornerstone, keeping us in touch with one another from our home working spots around the world. At times, they have served as a rallying cry, helping us turn challenges into opportunities. Most of all, our core values have unfalteringly steered us toward our common purpose of imagining limitless possibilities for children born with certain rare genetic diseases.

Reflecting on the last year, I am incredibly proud of what the Orchard team has accomplished despite the challenges of the pandemic. Our core values are a fundamental driver of our success, as they have been since I co-founded Orchard over five years ago. As anyone who has worked in gene therapy can attest, core values are extremely important in a field that is built on a bold vision of changing medicine but also where there is a high level of risk and unchartered territory to make that vision a reality. In particular, I find myself thinking about Orchard’s first value—Courage: Take Bold Action.

I think that at Orchard, we are all brave. We are building a company that is pioneering and doing something very different in changing how devastating diseases can be treated and potentially cured. To do this we will face challenges in research, development, manufacturing, regulatory approvals and commercialization—in fact at every step of the way! But we face these challenges and look to overcome them because we know the importance of our therapies to patients. So, this work is not for the faint hearted and the easily defeated; our teams at Orchard have already shown the ability to overcome these hurdles and take the bold action to get a medicine approved. We will use that same courage as we seek to develop our other therapies.

We have aspired to work and live with our core values in action and have already undertaken a great deal of work related to our value of Compassion: Lead with Heart. Although this may initially reflect our compassion to our patients and their families, we have also applied this to our staff and our working practices. Across geographies and levels, we have placed renewed emphasis on diversity and inclusion, hiring staff to organize and lead these efforts, and gathering feedback from current staff to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. We have also offered additional benefits for this period—including tools to promote well-being and mindfulness, virtual childcare options, more comprehensive global paid family care leave, greater workplace flexibility and more robust professional development offerings.

Along with our new strategic plan announced last year, we undertook a major assessment and refresh of our core values. Through engagement across our global team, we have taken a thoughtful and deliberate approach to refreshing these values with the dual purpose of engaging employees during this challenging period and ensuring they are the drivers of our core identity. The people at Orchard who are working tirelessly to bring potentially life-changing therapies to children and their families embody what our organization is all about—so the values and motivations that they hold dear have been the inspiration for Orchard’s refreshed core values as we step into this new era of medicine.

Despite the realities of a remote-work environment, we have strived to promote our core values through meaningful, mission-centric employee engagement. Last December, we organized a virtual launch event when we received our first regulatory approval in Europe, and we regularly invite patients and families to virtually speak to our staff and share their experiences and stories—a constant source of motivation and a reminder of our urgency to advance our HSC gene therapies.

See our core values in action and explore opportunities to join our team here.

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