Christine "Chris" Marsh
Company: Boehringer Ingelheim
Title: Senior vice president of market access
Boehringer Ingelheim’s Chris Marsh has navigated a career from business and finance to pharma, but since she joined the pharmaceuticals industry, she’s never looked back.
Marsh now serves as BI’s head of U.S. market access, a team that includes experts in sales, reimbursement, business innovation, pricing and operations, among others. In all, the group aims to demonstrate the value of BI’s medicines to improve patient outcomes.
At every stage in her career, Marsh said she’s been helped by her husband, her No. 1 mentor. Early on, the family made the decision that her husband, a college professor, would “take a step back to help push me forward.”
She ended up at Boehringer after earlier jobs in business, finance and smaller pharma companies, and at the German pharma, she’s worked in contract operations, sales, market access, analytics and beyond.
Because she joined the pharma industry from the business and finance world, she was thrilled that in 2007, the drugmaker promoted her to VP of business analytics.
Five years later, though, the company disbanded the group, and she faced the decision of whether she’d have to move on in her career or stay with BI and take up a new challenge.
While it was a “very difficult” time, in hindsight, she acknowledges the value of that twist in her career at BI.
“It’s not been without its challenges, but it has been extremely rewarding,” Marsh said.
Marsh then became BI’s VP of managed market sales, a customer-facing job that brought her “way outside” her comfort zone. In that position, she learned the important leadership lesson of learning from your team. Now, she says management is an “ongoing” process where leaders continually grow from working with their employees and share what they've learned.
Over the years, she’s picked up some lessons she’s happy to share with other women in biopharma. In a blog post, she said women in pharma should leave their comfort zones, remember that leadership is about others, and think differently about mentorship.
“Your leadership style will undeniably evolve over the course of your career—but evolution is growth, and growth happens outside of your comfort zone,” she wrote. “Be open to learning from others: Mentor, be mentored and chase those opportunities that make you feel a little bit uncomfortable.”