MEET THE SQUAD: A Personal Glimpse into Our Team

To kick off 2021, we are happy to introduce you to Jens Kulstad. Jens has been a member of our squad since the early days of Nuvera, joining the company as the second employee.

I am a manager at Nuvera with a diverse professional background including life science consulting, work in the heavy-duty automotive industry, and coaching of national & international top sailors. In addition to consulting work, I am leading the efforts around the PURE Report which is growing into a very nice product that I am very proud of. I have two master’s degrees, one in Mechanical Engineering and one in Business Administration which helped me tremendously throughout my career.

What’s the top destination on your must-visit list? I had three top destinations I really wanted to do before I started my family, one of which I accomplished – diving with Orcas. Also on my list is to cage-dive with great whites but first I would like to travel to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears. The polar bears gather together in large numbers (hundreds of them!!) until they become loners over the long winter months. It would be such an honor and privilege to see this magnificent animal live in its true elements, so it is a dream that never will go away and I am hopefully not too far away from being able to fulfill it. My only promise is that there will be tons of safeguards in place between me and them, because as fascinating as this animal is, it is equally scary and frightening…

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why? I would definitely say curiosity and willingness to solve problems where the solutions are not always apparent. At Nuvera, we are typically hired when clients are facing a problem they can’t solve internally and external support is needed. Many of the problems we face require genuine curiosity and ability to think outside the box to recommend unique solutions for our clients. I have always loved solving problems which is something engineering school and work was all about and Nuvera allowed me to apply these skills on different set of problems and areas, but where the same attitude is being rewarded.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be? I would probably become a magician. There is something about magic that always fascinated me, I can’t really explain why. I know a few card tricks, but never went into the magician thing even though it fascinates me. I really should be reading good night stories to my youngest son, but lately I have been cheating and watching a magic show every time I put him to bed. He has been equally fascinated by the mind games the magicians put up. So maybe there is such a thing as a magic gene, who knows?

What’s a trip that changed you, and why? Travel has always been a passion of mine and I have twice travelled around the world in my younger days. I would say the first big trip I did at the age of 19 that I partly did with a friend and partly did alone where we spent the majority of our 6 months in Australia is the trip with biggest influence on me. In addition to seeing the world and meeting people from all over the world, I learned to tackle life on the go. I worked hard a few months prior to afford the trip, but was still on a very tight budget and took ad hoc work-on-the-go as I travelled. This included everything from mango fruit picking to hostel maintenance to construction and sheep herding, which gave a very interesting perspective on life. In a similar fashion to get around to the different destinations, I got bus tickets between some locations, but also hitchhiked with cars or sailing boats along the coastline. This made me experience a very entrepreneurial lifestyle that left a permanent positive imprint on me as a person.

What’s one hobby you’d love to get into? Just before I moved from Sweden to the US almost 15 years ago, I planned on picking up kite surfing which is when the whole kite surfing movement was in its infancy. Since I moved to the US, I have never lived really close to the coast and also had kids that prevented me from doing a time-consuming hobby like this. However, my kids are getting older and I am getting more time back to do “Jens things”, so I am soon ready to find a nice kite + board and start learning. My hometown in Sweden is absolutely perfect for this, with flat water for the first half mile closest to the shore. But even if I can’t find similar conditions in NJ there may be other fun challenges where there are more wave-surfing characteristic rip curl waves that has its own charm to play around in. I can’t wait 🙂

MEET THE SQUAD: A Personal Glimpse into Our Team

This month we are happy to introduce you to another amazing member of our squad, Ashwini Chidirala. Ash shares a bit about herself and her love of travel.

I am a Sr. Analyst at Nuvera, and excited to celebrate my 2-year anniversary in February. In my time here I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects; the most exciting of which have been in the cell and gene space. My undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering and my masters in Innovation and Management provide a solid background that allows me to both understand the science and the business to best address the needs of patients.

What’s your go-to productivity trick? Working from home through the pandemic can make it hard to stay productive. My trick for this is to take productive reading breaks. I keep a novel on my desk and whenever I need a moment to rest my brain or eyes from project work, I read 1-3 pages.

If you could add one thing to Nuvera’s office, what would it be? We already have a wonderful office, but I think it would be even better with a ping-pong table! One of my greatest joys through college was being able to pick up brief games throughout the day with friends. Served as a productive break from studying as it got me moving.   

What’s a trip that changed you, and why? Last year I took my first solo trip. I spent twelve days in Japan travelling through the country on a loosely planned itinerary. Apart from being blown away by the kindness of strangers I was most moved by the city of Hiroshima. I took a tour around the city and got to see how it has been rebuilt with the conscious effort to remember its scars. I don’t have words to describe how it felt, but I can say with certainty that after having walked the streets of Hiroshima I am no longer the same person. I think I just have a greater appreciation for the present. 

Hiroshima

What’s the top destination on your must-visit list? Paro Taktsang or commonly known as Tiger’s Nest is the number one location on my travel list. It is a beautiful Buddhist Temple built into the cliffside in the upper Paro Valley in Bhutan. It is actually my current screen saver. I’m hoping to go once it’s safe to travel again!

What’s your go-to karaoke song? Diamonds by Rihanna. Some of my fondest memories are deeply rooted in this song and its Rihanna’s, so what’s not to love?

MEET THE SQUAD: A Personal Glimpse into Our Team

As we continue share more about the people that shape Nuvera and work we do, we are pleased to introduce you to Edward Gajewski. Ed has been a member of our squad for a little over 3 years and has continued to share his wealth of Pharma knowledge and experience with our team and clients.

What’s your go-to productivity trick? Develop the Work Plan. There is the saying … “Plan your work and work your plan.” Whether by myself, and more likely working with a team, I’ve found that productivity increases immensely when a detailed work plan is established with clearly assigned responsibilities, timelines, and expected deliverables. Sounds simple but I’ve often found teams jump in without a clear work plan.

What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of? In a previous role, I took over managing a large Patient Services program. I started by conducting customer satisfaction research and assess the intricacies of program operations. I found satisfaction levels were low, turn-around times slow, and operations were inefficient. We restructured the program – moving from 2 vendors to 1. When conducting the RFP for consolidation, the vendor we chose actually reduced their pricing vs. what they were currently charging because it was more efficient for them to operate independently. Turn-around times improved dramatically, customer satisfaction increased and our organization saved $500k a month. HCPs were happier, patients were happier, and we saved $6M annually which could be invested elsewhere (plus my team won an internal award for the initiative!).

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day? A twist … Exercise the First Thing in the Morning. I’ve found that when the day starts with at least an hour of exercise it doesn’t matter how busy day becomes. The workout pumps in energy for the day and I don’t have to worry about fitting in exercise if the day goes long. Then, a glass of red wine tastes that much better.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? Teleporting! I can be impatient and I’m not a fan of sitting in the car or taking long flights. This could save an immense amount of time and significantly improve productivity.

What’s the top destination on your must-visit list? South America. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to 5 other continents with only South America and Antarctica remaining. It would be great to see some of the South American cultures. The plan is to take a summer vacation with the family and visit Peru and Machu Pichu, and then head to Argentina or Chile to sight see and snowboard/ski (remember, it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere in July).

Nuvera’s Tips to Adapt to Interviews in 2020

Interviewing for a new job can be stressful and nerve racking in normal times, doing it during a pandemic when companies are transitioning to a virtual environment or cutting back on new positions can add another level of uneasiness. As our newest employees experienced, they now needed to find companies that weren’t in a hiring freeze and weren’t deferring start dates to the end of 2020 or even into 2021.

Like candidates companies had to adjust and adapt as well. During this time of COVID induced restrictions we have been fortunate to hire 4 new employees this year, 3 of which had a completely virtual interview process. While moving to video calls was the biggest change to our interview process, we wanted to make sure candidates really got a feel for Nuvera and our team. Candidates aren’t only speaking with managers, but they will also be interviewed by other members of our team. We want to ensure candidates get a sense of our culture and who they will be working with, but also feel comfortable expressing their own personality. At Nuvera, we try not to take ourselves too seriously and our team strives to infuse humor and humility in all aspects of our work, including our interviews. A common theme that all of our new hires appreciated was the opportunity to connect with the interviewer before getting into the details of the call. By breaking the ice and opening up to share our personalities with candidates we hope to create a comfortable environment for them to do the same.

While each candidate still needs to demonstrate their skills and experience for the position and be professional, there are other key areas to think about when preparing for a virtual interview.

  • Test out the video platform – Make sure your video and audio are clear and you have good lighting. A bad connection or audio that cuts in and out can be a distraction for you and the interviewers.
  • Use the virtual interview to your advantage – Since you don’t have to go to an unfamiliar office, choose a location where you are comfortable and can be yourself. But make sure there are not any major distractions like a noisy location or people walking behind you.
  • Consider your setting – Think about what is in the background of your video. Will it be cluttered with items or show a dirty room? If you have pictures or an item in your background, think about having a story to share that could spark a good conversation.  
  • Your clothing still matters – Dress for the position. A suit isn’t required but wearing a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt probably won’t impress either.
  • Be prepared to be flexible – The interview team could change or there could be technical issues to handle. Your inability to adapt will be noticed.

This is a difficult time both for companies seeking talent and for individuals seeking employment. We hope that by sharing our learnings we are able to help people on both sides of the coin.

Happy Halloween from Nuvera!

This past week we came together virtually for a fun Halloween themed Office Olympics. In true Nuvera style, we all put on our best costume for the heated battle between the Spooksters and Frankenslides. The two teams went head to head in Halloween themed games from I Spy to Family Feud. To add a bit more competitive energy to the game, there was also some crazy sudden-death challenges woven in. Who knew that Aaron could do the creepiest laugh or that Ed had so much candy at his desk. The team had a great time taking a break from client work to play a hilarious game of Halloween Office Olympics!

Nuvera is Excited to Welcome Aaron Sunil to our Team!

Nuvera Life Science Consulting is excited to introduce you to our new team member, Aaron. Aaron attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC where he majored in Biology and minored in Neuroscience. While at WFU, Aaron conducted research in the neuroscience and oncology spaces, getting published for his work with the Shiozawa lab on cancer induced bone pain. Upon graduation, he continued his education by completing his Master’s Degree in Clinical Research with a focus in Translational Oncology from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. While at Mount Sinai, Aaron completed a thesis in post-surgical complication rates after endoscopic endonasal surgery.

Outside of work, Aaron enjoys playing pick-up soccer and basketball with his friends in the community. He’s an avid Arsenal, Milwaukee Bucks, and Green Bay Packers fan and you can often catch him watching and cheering his teams on. When he isn’t playing sports with his friends, Aaron enjoys kayaking with his dogs, Stella and Foster.

Aaron’s Motivation for Joining Nuvera

I enjoyed my time doing research at Wake Forest and Mount Sinai but felt that benefits of my work had only a limited effect on patients. I wanted to contribute in a more meaningful and tangible manner – so I looked into life sciences consulting. Nuvera really stuck out to me because of the nature of their work; being patient journey architects and ensuring patients receive the support they need while on treatment regimens was a huge draw for me. It was great to see their work having beneficial, lasting effects on people! Outside of the business, the culture of Nuvera was fantastic and easy to see from the start. Everyone really cares about the well being of one another and I was more than happy to join the family!

MEET THE SQUAD: A Personal Glimpse into Our Team

As we continue to introduce you to our Squad, we are happy to share more about Sarah Klein. She has been with Nuvera over 5 years working behind the scenes as the senior operations manager. Keep reading to learn more about Sarah outside of work.

What’s your go-to productivity trick? I have to listen to music when I need to buckle down and get work done. Seems a bit counterintuitive but music has always helped me focus. However, it can’t be quiet or mellow, that is more of a distraction. It has to be upbeat and can vary from top hits, rock, rap, country, to house music, just depends on the day and my mood.

What three words would your friends use to describe you? Sarcastic, dependable, easygoing

What’s a trip that changed you, and why? Since the pandemic halted international travel, this year I have been lucky enough to escape in to nature and travel to several national parks and national forests in the US to appreciate our backyard more. It is truly fascinating to see the different landscapes and natural wonders that the country has to offer. The mountains and lakes of the Grand Tetons and Rocky Mountains are majestic, the steaming plains and cold rivers of Yellowstone are beautiful and bizarre at the same time, and the natural arches, needles, and island in the sky of Arches and Canyonlands are like another planet.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be? I have become more interested in photography lately and would love to know how to use all the photo editing apps like a pro and even get into some graphic design. There are so many tiny details and corrections that can be made to one picture, it is overwhelming trying to learn the steps. Becoming an expert in a snap would save me from a lot of frustration and few choice words.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I started playing soccer when I was 5 and always wanted to play for the US Women’s National Soccer Team. Obviously, that didn’t work out but I am still a big soccer fan and rarely miss one of their games. I even made my dog wear their jersey during the World Cup, she wasn’t thrilled.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? It would be incredible to teleport of myself and others anywhere we wanted to go. I love to travel and explore but the expensive and long flights tend to get into the way. How great would it be to go anywhere in the world in minutes or even seconds for free!

Nuvera is Excited to Welcome John Burger to the Team!

John joined Nuvera’s leadership team in August 2020. At Nuvera, John will be a treatment experience architect, helping our current and future clients design and evolve award-winning Patient and HCP Support Services Programs that enhance patient experience and impact treatment outcomes.

John comes to Nuvera with over 20 years of experience across the pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and consumer healthcare industries. He has worked with leading pharmaceutical companies, fast-rising biopharmaceutical startups, and large patient organizations. His leadership helps clients to design projects and programs that are strategically sound and tactically executable, leveraging his specific experience in specialty pharmaceuticals, rare diseases, and orphan indications.

John and Elaine, his wife, chase their puppy around beaches and hiking trails across NJ and love to golf at courses they’ve never played. Born in Philadelphia, John is a hometown fan, especially of the Eagles (Superbowl 52 champs!). He earned a Masters in Management from NYU and Chemical Engineering degree from Bucknell.

This is how John explains his motivation for joining Nuvera:

“Nuvera and its people are unquestionably different…there are a lot of patient support programs and services out there, but I quickly saw that Nuvera is driven to design and implement truly individualized programs, resulting in a unique patient journey that is 100% focused on our client’s brand. Whether motivated by family illness and the desire to make healthcare better—like me—or for their own reasons, the entire team is highly motivated and dedicated to making a difference with patient-centric solutions.”

MEET THE SQUAD: A Personal Glimpse into Our Team

In this months installment, we put a spotlight on John Valdes. John joined us after completing his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and has been with Nuvera for just over two years. Take a look to see how he got to Nuvera and his go to karaoke song.

What led you to this career? While taking my MBA, I had the opportunity to work with Gilead Sciences and I jumped at it because of truly novel medicines they’d developed. It was a bit different from the public health work I did in the Philippines, where pharma companies actually got a pretty bad rap in my professional circle. But during my summer at Gilead I met a lot of passionate, patient-centered professionals whom I grew to admire, and showed me the tremendous impact I could make through a career in pharmaceuticals. So when I came back for my second year of MBA, I focused my job search on pharma and pharma-focused consulting companies, and that led me to Nuvera.

Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? I can crack the knuckle on my right thumb over, and over, and over again… indefinitely.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be? I would love to be a polyglot! I only speak two languages but I wish I could speak more. Being able to parachute into a random country and thrive by effectively communicating in the native language would be dope.

What’s your go-to karaoke song? On a business trip in 2015, took me 48 hours and multiple layovers (including an overnight delay at JFK due to a snowstorm) to go from Manila to Lima, Peru. It was my first time to fly alone. My first night after touching down at Lima, still drunk on jet lag, my officemates took me out to karaoke and I sang Champagne Supernova by Oasis. It’s been my song ever since.

Who would play you in a movie about your life? An East Asian man, I’d hope! Should go without saying but you never know how Hollywood producers might mess that one up, right?? I’ve been told multiple times across years and continents that I look like Ryan Higa. I could probably play him in his biopic.

MEET THE SQUAD: A Personal Glimpse into Our Team

This August we would like to introduce you to another amazing member of our Squad, Jennifer Dallego. Learn more about Jennifer from her unconventional productivity tricks to her one trip that really changed her.

Hello, my name is Jennifer Dallego and I am a consultant at Nuvera! I am originally trained in neuroscience and biopharmaceutical engineering and have a background in upstream biologics development. About a year ago, I made the decision to follow my desire of contributing to work that more directly influences the patient’s experience when engaging with pharma and specialty drugs. And that’s exactly what I do here! – I’ve worked with brands that make incredible impacts on indications across multiple therapeutic areas (immunology, oncology, metabolics, neurology, etc.) and have enjoyed designing and building support program solutions that cater directly to patient and provider needs.

What’s your go-to productivity trick? I’ve come to adopt two productivity tricks that, at their respective roots, attempt to slow down the perception of the passage of time. The first trick has actually slowly become an office tradition at Nuvera: plank for 1 full minute. They say that no minute is longer than a plank minute – “they” are absolutely correct. If I feel like I’m slowly becoming unfocused or beginning to feel the pressure of a deadline, I get up, and plank: besides the boost of endorphins, it makes me realize that a minute is actually a long time. Time suddenly feels a bit more spacious, and I get back to work! You’d think I’d have abs by now…
My second productivity trick is a bit more accessible if you’re not the planking type. Let’s say I want to finish something within the next 2 hours. I like to put on the full soundtrack of a musical I’m familiar with a similar duration, and use it almost as a time marker (e.g. “Act 2 just started! – I have about an hour left”). Lately I’ve been using the Hamilton soundtrack – let’s just say if Angelica needed a last minute understudy, Broadway can call me.

If you could add one thing to Nuvera’s office, what would it be? Nuvera’s office is, for lack of better words, one of the coolest offices I’ve had the chance to work in! A foosball table, skeeball, a retro Rock Em’ Sock ‘Em robots game, a stock full of snacks and seltzers, nice big windows for natural light – what more could you ask for!? But… there is one thing the office is missing, one of the most underrated kitchen appliances known to man: a toaster over. I feel disproportionally passionate about toaster ovens compared to the general population – there is no better way to heat up a meal with a crispy/toasty element than with a toaster oven. I’ll rest my case here, though if you’d like to discuss the incredible utility of toaster ovens, feel free to reach out.

What’s a trip that changed you, and why? I am unbelievably fortunate to have had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in the gorgeous city of Granada, Spain. Granada sparkles in the Spring – the nearby rolling hills of the countryside, the incredibly unique combinations of Moorish and Christian architecture, the FOOD; it was surreal to be able to study in such a beautiful place. At the time, I hadn’t traveled abroad much, and was lucky enough to stay with a native Spanish host family, who, despite my cobbled together 7th grade-level Spanish fluency, was incredibly kind and extended every inch of hospitality to me as one could imagine. I had the opportunity to truly immerse myself, and begin to embody the “No Pasa Nada” culture of Spain; the phrase literally means “Nothing happened”, akin to “No worries” in English, and was used liberally – a product of the laid-back, joy-filled Spanish lifestyle. That semester truly taught me not to sweat the small things – there’s so many more incredible things to focus on than life’s little difficulties.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I was one of those kids who changed their deepest career aspirations every other year. The funny thing, though, was that I felt passion for each one of them as vividly as if it were the only one! Most notably, I’ve wanted to be an astronaut, a meteorologist, a psychologist, and (the most persistent of the bunch) a chef! To this day I still hold an essential reverence and fascination for space, interesting weather phenomenon, mental health advocacy, and food. Some things never change, I suppose! I will say, though, a love of food has worked its way into my retirement goals: at some point in my life, I see myself owning a small bakery and enjoying the scent of fresh bread being baked every day before dawn.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?At the risk of sounding cliché- flying. I never understood how anyone could answer anything different! Aside from the practicality of being able to go anywhere for essentially zero effort/cost (well, in my made-up scenario it’s zero effort…), I think it would be incredible to float around on a lazy summer afternoon, letting the breeze carry you, and enjoying the view…