Committing to Improving Patient Outcomes: Service Leadership Inside and Outside of the Office: A Q&A With Tara Oswalt
Tara Oswalt, Manager, Cenduit Global Help Desk, is a part of Cenduit’s Global Project Management Team. This is her story of her volunteering with the Lehigh Valley Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as well as recognizing Tara for being recently nominated by the CFF for service leadership as one of “Lehigh Valley’s Finest.”
Q: Tell me about the cause that you are supporting, where your service leadership is being recognized, as one of “Lehigh Valley’s Finest” in 2018:
For the past few years, I have been actively volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. I am incredibly honored to be nominated this year, as a part of the class of “Lehigh Valley’s Finest.” (2) My goal has been to work with the Foundation to realize its mission of controlling and curing cystic fibrosis (CF), which affects numerous patients and life expectancy in serious ways. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, “there are over 1,800 known CF mutations, but the exact number of existent mutations is not known and the majority of genetic tests only screen for the most common CF mutations…” (1) As I am a problem solver by nature, I wanted to help.
Previously, I had a friend involved in a similar initiative, and decided to attend an initial CF event with her. During the event, various people spoke about their struggles of living with CF. One individual whose story struck me was a teenager – the same age as my own daughter – and it brought the cause even more close to home. I knew then I needed to be more involved.
Q: As someone who works in the clinical trials field, tell me more about the importance of partnering with organizations that are tied to patient outcomes?
Delivering a “commitment to better patient outcomes” is an often-heard mantra across our industry. I’ve always been an advocate of living these values both in my professional life as the manager of the Cenduit Global Help Desk, and in my work outside of the office. A commitment to service leadership is what has led me to work with a cause like CF that’s close to my heart, in hopes of encouraging others in our industry to strive for their own service leadership initiatives in biopharma.
As I learned more about the CF organization and became more actively involved, I was excited to discover that our company was actually a part of one of the clinical trials, through our Cenduit IRT platform. At the end of the day, I love where I work, and I love to think about how I’m a very small piece in a bigger picture working to save lives. That means a lot to me, and I’m proud that it’s a part of what I do. It’s the very same reason why I work to raise funds on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In the end, I hope to be a part of something bigger that saves lives – both personally and professionally. Through clinical trials, the life expectancy for CF has increased incrementally over the past few decades.
Q: You also recently volunteered with the CF Foundation of Lehigh Valley as a part of Cenduit’s “Giving in Action” Program, which provides employees with the opportunity to take time to give back to their broader communities. Tell me more:
During our “Cenduit Giving in Action” day, my colleague, Janelle Margolis, Cenduit Help Desk Associate, and myself (pictured here), volunteered at a day-long Cystic Fibrosis event in Pennsylvania, called the 65 Roses Golf Tournament. In its 25th year of the event, it’s held to raise money for the Foundation, to help continue research and provide critical funding for patients living with CF. The Foundation helps people to lead full, productive lives, and has raised over $650,000 USD in the last 25 years. At this event, we were able to interact and help on-site with event participants – most of which are families impacted by CF.
Q: One of Cenduit’s corporate values is, “Do the Right Thing, Always.” Can you tell me how your experience in volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has helped you to live that value?
When we work together as a team, the more people we can collaborate in the fight against rare diseases, and initiatives that can help patients to lead better lives. This applies to the work that we do in the clinical trials industry, and in our approach to Cenduit’s global service delivery. When we came back from the CF volunteer event, we were able to share this experience with other colleagues, in hopes of encouraging them to also align their day of service with their personal passions for giving back, as well. When we do the right thing for both clients and patients, we can make a broader difference in our world.
(2) (“Lehigh Valley’s Finest honors men and women that exemplify strong leadership qualities, are active volunteers and excel in their chosen profession. The Finest campaign is designed to spotlight young leaders, honoring their professional and charitable accomplishments.”)