Women’s History Month Q&A with Sheila Moran

March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s contributions to events in history and contemporary society. To mark the occasion, we are featuring several female employees at Sema4. In our first Q&A, Sheila Moran, SVP of Sales, talks about her passion for science and the challenges she had to overcome to reach this point in her career.

1. What motivates you to work at Sema4?

As the SVP of Sales, I lead a large team responsible for growing our commercial business in Women’s Health and Oncology. It is a privilege to work with healthcare providers as they incorporate advanced genomic medicine into clinical care. I am motivated to make a difference in people’s lives, and genomics will be transformational to their health. I worked in the technology space when the human genome was first sequenced. More than 15 years later, we are just scratching the surface of our understanding of the human body and the mechanisms of disease. I’m excited to work at a company committed to delivering more effective and personalized healthcare through data-driven insights.

2. What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month makes me reflect on the opportunities I have been provided personally and professionally and the generations of women and men who have paved the way to enable my success today. I am a first-generation American, the daughter of Irish immigrants, and the first member of my family to go to college, so I have much to be thankful for as well as much more work to do to ensure other multi-cultural women and men have a similar opportunity.

3. Can you tell us about a female role model who has inspired you?

I am a science girl, so at the end of the day, I am inspired by the women who have contributed to technology and science, especially those who have driven key developments in modern medicine. Among them are Marie Curie, who discovered and championed the use of radiation in medicine and fundamentally changed our understanding of radioactivity, and Rosalind Franklin, whose work was central to our understanding of DNA, RNA, and viruses.

My team also inspires me, particularly the working moms (and dads), balancing work and family during this crazy past year. It has certainly made conference calls and video conferencing a lot more interesting and has created an environment where boundaries are more difficult to establish in every part of our lives.

4. What barriers have you had to overcome to reach this point in your career?

The barriers and challenges have varied during different parts of my career and life. As I began my career in engineering and technology, I had to prove myself in male-dominated disciplines and had to work very hard to make sure that my contributions were recognized. About 10 years into my career, when I started a family, I contended with questions on whether I could balance a high-pressure career and family. I have an amazing husband who supported our boys and me as I accepted increasing leadership responsibilities. As I became more tenured and took more accountability as a business leader, the barriers have become more institutional. How do you create an environment and a culture for high performance? How do you motivate teamwork and collaboration across multi-disciplinary teams? How do you deliver optimal value to support your clients in integrating genomic medicine into patient care?

5. What advice would you give to other women who are looking to build their careers?

My advice to both women and men is to go wide and deep to develop your cross-disciplinary skills. We are in a complex environment where we need excellent problem-solvers. Ask for increasing responsibility and own it. Leadership is about executing and being accountable for successes and failures. Always be prepared and present when you are with your co-workers and clients. Add value in every interaction. Be yourself, unapologetically. You can have high expectations and be compassionate at the same time. Support others’ success. It has a way of reflecting back on you.

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Do you want to join Sheila’s team? To find out more about open positions on our Sales team and throughout the company, please check out our Careers page here.