At Vertex, we have some of the industry’s best and brightest minds working together to bring transformative new medicines to people living with serious diseases. Building diverse and inclusive teams is the one of the secrets to our success, ensuring we have multiple distinct perspectives around the table to solve tough challenges and make the best decisions for patients. These days we’re working on those challenges through virtual gatherings, and I’ve been so impressed with our team’s resilience, dedication and innovation during these uncertain times. It’s a constant reminder of why I love working here so much.
One of the ways we build our high-performing teams is by recognizing and supporting our colleagues. Today, as we close out Women’s History Month, I’m excited to highlight two outstanding Vertexians, Angela Yen and Mary-Lynn Fulton, who have demonstrated phenomenal leadership and teamwork, and who are making an impact not only at Vertex but across the biotech industry as a whole. They were nominated by a group of the most senior women at Vertex and recognized by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as leaders in their field.
HBA 2020 Rising Star: Angela Yen, Associate Director of Computational Genomics
The Rising Star award recognizes women in the first 15-20 years of their professional career who contribute significantly to our company, exemplify leadership and are role models for others. Rising Stars are a true example of the top talent in the health care industry and have the potential to be a future leader at Vertex.
Angela and her team use computational techniques and technologies to analyze large sets of biological data and build models that inform our drug discovery programs. After joining Vertex four years ago, Angela became a core part of the team collaborating with our partners at CRISPR Therapeutics to discover potential gene-editing therapies for hemoglobinopathies like sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. She’s also worked on research programs for pain and cystic fibrosis.
Despite working across very different disease areas, Angela found herself tackling similar computational challenges in all of the genetic therapy programs. This led her and her coworker, Foram Ashar, to recognize the need for a Computational Genomics team dedicated to genetic therapies, and now she is building and leading that team. Half of the team will be imbedded in different cross-functional disease teams, while the other half will focus on developing cutting-edge tools, software and methods specifically for genetic therapy computational exercises.
“There are computational exercises that are unique to genetic therapy programs, such as evaluating potential on-target and off-target effects of a gene-edited therapy,” said Angela. “With a core Computational Genomics team that works across our genetic therapy programs, we can share solutions and best practices across diseases and research sites that could significantly accelerate our research efforts.”
HBA 2020 Luminary: Mary-Lynn Fulton, Executive Director of Clinical Trial Management
This award recognizes women with more than 20 years of industry experience who actively mentor and sponsor others, help advance other women’s careers and exhibit dedication to the health care industry.
Mary-Lynn is passionate about mentoring and developing her team and colleagues across the organization. She not only leads the Clinical Trial Management function — a large team responsible for coordinating our early to late development clinical trials from start to finish — but also serves on the Steering Committee of our women’s Employee Resource Network, Inspiring Women in Leadership and Learning (IWILL).
Before joining Vertex four years ago, Mary-Lynn spent 23 years at a Contract Research Organization. While she was there, she had the wonderful opportunity to be a participant in the Women Unlimited’s LEAD program where she discovered a passion for paying it forward. She became involved in several diversity & inclusion and career development initiatives, such as partnering with HR to develop a mentorship circles program for mid-career women and joining the company’s new gender partnership steering committee.
“One of the reasons I came to Vertex was the visible commitment to diversity & inclusion,” said Mary-Lynn. “I immediately joined the Steering Committee of IWILL and became a Co-Chair a couple years later. Being an IWILL Steering Committee member has been a tremendous way to build my network across the organization while also helping me to give back and provide career development opportunities for others. I’m particularly proud of our mentorship circle program, which has been running for three years now and will soon have close to 100 graduates. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
Mary-Lynn has also found other ways to give back and develop the next generation of talent, like volunteering with students in our Learning Lab and, outside of Vertex, serving on the Alumni Leadership council at Boston University’s School of Public Health where she also mentors a student who is seeking a career in clinical trials.
Angela and Mary-Lynn are two of the extraordinary women who I’m honored to work with.
They represent the many women at Vertex — who I’m proud to say make up 52% of our global workforce — doing amazing things to push the boundaries of science and bring innovative new medicines to patients.