Keeping Medicine in Motion: Project Manager Profile

Keeping Medicine in Motion: Project Manager Profile

Project Managers are integral to everything we do here at UBC. They’re at the center of our clients’ programs, keeping a watchful eye on every detail, building strong relationships with stakeholders and ensuring deliverables are accurate and on time. UBC PMs don’t just manage projects; they keep them moving so that medications can keep moving to the next clinical phase, the next regulatory marker, and eventually, the next patient.

In our Project Manager to Project Mover series, we’re highlighting some of the people behind our projects to help you get to know more about them and their work.

Liz Donahue
Senior Project Manager
Woburn, Massachusetts
Area of Expertise: Late Stage Clinical Development & Postmarketing Studies

Snapshot: A passion for science and exploration puts Liz comfortably in the driver’s seat of every project she manages. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology, Liz considered veterinary school but changed her course when a friend recommended clinical research. Liz began working in medical imaging for clinical trials, then quickly moved into supporting a variety of studies, including registries, time and motion studies and retrospective chart reviews. Exploring how each study can uncover valuable information feeds her dedication to drug discovery and patient safety. Liz has more than 12 years of experience, including nine years with UBC, and provides complete oversight of the studies she manages – from implementation to project management.

Current Project: Liz concentrates on postmarketing studies of products already approved for at least one indication.

What’s in Her Toolkit?

  • Relatability ─ “When working with a diverse group of people with a range of skill sets, it’s important to emphasize commonalities we share and remember that we all have a common goal. I enjoy teamwork and make good communication and understanding priorities. Every day we may each have challenges to overcome, but I make it a point to sympathize, if someone is having a rough day, and recognize accomplishments, no matter how big or small.”
  • Well-developed organizational skills  – “It’s like I have compartmentalized storage bins in my head! I’ve been gifted with a knack for organization, multitasking and prioritization. I really enjoy putting all those details together to keep a project moving.”
  • Confidence  ─ “It’s impossible for one person to manage every task, so I refrain from micro managing. I have confidence in my team and their ability to complete their tasks on time.  I certainly step in when I’m needed, but I trust everyone’s abilities and expertise.”

Accountability in Action

  • “I compare the project manager role to the captain’s role on a sports team. You don’t get to be captain by sitting on the sidelines.  I work hard and set clear expectations. I can set the bar high while still being a fair PM that makes work enjoyable for the team. “
  • “Sponsors are passionate about developing medications to help improve and save patients’ lives. As a service provider, our team shares that passion. We’re fortunate our work can truly make a difference.  We understand what we do requires more than what fits into a typical workweek. That passion is what pushes us and motivates us. If we want to help patients access new therapies, we need to work as hard as we can to manage every detail required in a study.”

Need to Know

  • “I’ve worked with clients whose background is in clinical development, but who currently work with a product in the postmarketing phase.  Often, I’ve found that clients approach a phase IV study in the same manner as earlier phases, causing unnecessary use of time and resources. It’s important to recognize the regulations and requirements in these phases are very different. Many phase III requirements may not be needed in phase IV. My team and I can provide guidance on the best study structure and the appropriate amount of site monitoring for a program.”

Nice to Know

  • “Spending time with my husband and three children ─ especially on outdoor adventures ─ helps clear my head and renew my energy. It also helps me stay focused on the reason I work in clinical research. I’ll never meet the patients in my studies, but I know they’re very similar to me, with friends and family who love them and want them to be well.”
  • “Growing up, my family lived in the ‘boonies,’ outside Dover, Delaware. My grandmother led the local 4-H club, and our whole family was involved. We had vegetable gardens, learned woodworking and home repairs and showed our animals at the state fair. I’m grateful for that experience. From an early age, it gave me confidence, a sense of responsibility to my family and community, and a ‘can-do’ attitude that really helps me in my Project Manager role."

More Project Manager Profiles