Entering Possibly Humorous Zone

So I don’t know how or why, probably genetics has a lot to do with it, I take a light-hearted approach to life and look to find the humor in things or just make up the humor. Peter Holthe, the driving force that made FOCM happen, called me irreverent. Having just looked it up, it means: showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously. I don’t intend to show a lack of respect but I like humor more than seriousness. Of course there’s a time and a place for both. But funny observations are always just under the serious stuff for me.

So my twin brother recently must have been surfing the web, maybe Wikipedia and spent time on the origin of the names of a couple of America’s states: Idaho and Texas. Below will be what he wrote and what I replied with.

My brother sent this: The name “Idaho” has no translation at all because it’s entirely made up. In an early form of marketing that would make these modern-day businesses proud, the name was suggested by a local leader in 1860 who claimed the word “Idaho” was a Native American word for “gem of the mountains.” Later that same year, gold was discovered in the Clearwater area, proving his invented name wasn’t far off base.

To which I replied: That’s close to accurate.  It was made up, but it was “Idano” and a typesetting issue on the old printing press mistakenly set the n as an h.  Quite easy to do as they are close to each other. The name “Idano” was because when others heading west asked the people in what is now Idaho, why they stopped there and didn’t go any further, their answer was “idano”.

Then he sent this about Texas: Like the Dakotas, Texas was named with friendship in mind. Texas is a variant of a word (Teysha) used by some Native Americans to refer to friends or allies. It has many different spellings, including “Texias,” “Tejas,” and “Teysas.”

To which I replied: A variant book of name origins reveals this: Like the Carolinas, Texas was named after a particular member of the royal family, albeit, for Texas, it was a lesser known Earl of a small, rural Scottish Isle.  His name was Tex, Earl of the Isle of Mull.  Tex was rather eccentric and thought being Earl meant he was King of his Isle.  When people would see something new or different on the isle, they’d ask “whose is that?” The answer was always “it’s Tex’s”.  Tex did little actual work and spent a lot of time thinking – coincidentally Tex is the reason that to “mull” it over means to think on something.  Tex’s incompetency lead to his eventual over throw and he was sent to the new colonies. He eventually settled in what is now Odessa. He got very active in the public square where his eccentricities and overblown ego eventually resulted in the state being named Texas.

FOCM Network Brainstorming Project

A friend and FOCM member in good standing is starting her consultancy company and is looking to find a good and proper name. As an annual dues paying member, she is entitled to this calling forth the idea generation of the FOCM Network.

The option to name it something like: lastname (use Smith as the example) consulting, of course is an option. I proposed we ask this network to do some thinking and see if we could come up with a name that will communicate what it is she can best contribute.

So here’s the background info:
This individual has over 25 years experience as a Clinical Research Scientist, Director of Clinical Operations, Executive Director and VP of Strategic Programs, Alliances and Governance. The past 12 years have been in the area of managing strategic accounts and partnership governance. This is a particularly strong area of expertise and focus.

Let’s use the normal brainstorming rules – no idea is a bad idea, don’t shoot down any other ideas – just want to generate name ideas. I’ll get it started:

CRO/Bio/Pharm Alliance Management, LLC
Alliance Governance, LLC
Clinical Research Partnership Governance, LLC
Smith Consulting, LLC
Clinical Research Alliance Governance, LLC
Clinical Research and Governance, LLC
Strategic Governance, LLC

Reply in comments with your quick, off the top of your head ideas. Many thanks.

New FOCM Member

On June 28, 2019 while attending the annual Drug Information Association (DIA) meeting in San Diego, FOCM was busy expanding its network. All new membership ceremonies are significant and strict adherence to protocol is (almost) always followed. This particular ceremony included a new addition to the protocol. FOCM is pleased to announce that Jodi Andrews, Founder and Co-CEO of Pro-Trials Research received her membership card.

This ceremony took place on the exhibit hall floor. What was added to the procedure for this ceremony was a shot of bourbon prior to the handshake, card presentation and photo. Later, a small pour of Fireball was distributed to the new member.

The Power of Words on Performance

Over the years, I have read a lot of self-help books, listened to tapes and podcasts.  At this point in my career, I thought I didn’t need to read those any more as, at this point, I am who I am. 

Reading this article reminded me that there is much value in the attitude and approach of continually learning.  As my friend, Martin Cleary has said repeatedly: be in knowledge acquisition mode.  This article also reinforces the power of words on personal actions.  Jeff Haden is the author. https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/stop-using-i-start-using-this-word-instead-you-can-improve-performance-reduce-stress-increase-your-willpower-endurance.html?cid=landermore

I recommend you read the entire article.  I’ve briefly selected a couple of simple yet powerful points:

Research has proven that some forms of self-talk are effective.  For example there is a difference between saying “I can’t,” and, “I don’t,” to yourself.

One group was given a simple temptation and told to say, when tempted, “I can’t do (that).” The other group was told to say, “I don’t do (that).” 

Here’s what happened: 

  • Participants told to say “I can’t” gave in to the temptation 61 percent of the time.
  • Participants told to say “I don’t” gave in to the temptation 36 percent of the time.

Simply switching one word, “don’t” for “can’t,” made participants twice as likely to stay the course.

Then the researchers conducted a second experiment: Participants were told to set a personal long-term health and wellness goal. When their initial motivation waned — as initial motivation always tends to do — one group was told to say, “I can’t miss my workout.” A second group was told to say, “I don’t miss my workouts.” The third group, the control group, wasn’t given a temptation-avoidance strategy. 

After 10 days: 

  • 3 out of 10 control group members stuck to their goal.
  • 1 out of 10 “I can’t” group members stuck to their goal.
  • 8 out of 10 “I don’t” group members stuck to their goal.

Not only was “I can’t” less effective than “I don’t”; “I can’t” was less effective than using no strategy at all. 

According to the researchers:

‘I don’t’ is more persuasive than ‘I can’t’ because the former connotes conviction to a higher degree.

Or in non researcher-speak, saying “I can’t,” leads to negotiating with yourself. “I can’t have dessert… but then again, if I work out later… or if I skip breakfast tomorrow…”

Once you start to negotiate with yourself, you need willpower to win that argument.

But “I don’t” leaves no room for argument. “I don’t” doesn’t reflect a choice; it states who you are.

One word makes a huge difference.

Especially when that word is a pronoun.

The Power of “You”…

Science shows the difference between using “I” and “you” when you talk to yourself can be dramatic. 

Take public speaking: Research shows that second-person self-talk — saying “You can do this” to yourself instead of “I can do this” – will improve your performance.

And then there’s this: Swapping “you” for “I” can also improve your willpower and endurance. Researchers had participants do a number of 10k cycling time trials. After a baseline was established, researchers encouraged them to frame their self-talk differently.

  • Replacing “I need to keep going” with “You can keep going.”
  • Replacing “No pain, no gain” with “You can work through the pain.”
  • Replacing “I can do this” with “You can do this.”

While the differences seem insignificant, the results were not: 13 out of 16 participants rode faster, and the average person’s time improved by 2.4%. 

Just by saying “you” instead of “I.”

FOCM Member Displays Membership Pin

On June 11, 2019 in RTP, NC I attended Heather Hollick’s book release event. Heather wrote a book on networking, entitled Helpful: A Guide to Life, Careers and the Art of Networking. I was introduced to Heather by Tanyss Mason. It was Christine Sears who recommended Tanyss get in touch with me when she was undertaking a job search. Heather and I clicked immediately over a phone call on our mutual view of networking.

The book release event was held at the NC Biotech Center. I promoted this event to the FOCM network. Five members joined the approximately 40 others. I was pleased to see member Peter Benton in attendance. As I walked over to say hi, he pointed out that he was wearing his FOCM membership pin. Peter thought FOCM should have some kind of salute, the three finger salute isn’t going to be it, but it was a good attempt on short notice.

Peter Benton FOCM Pin

New FOCM Member

While attending SCOPE in mid-February in Orlando, I had the good fortune of welcoming Marie Perrone into FOCM. I had met Marie several years before via an introduction by long-time FOCM member, friend and former co-worker, Deb Nichols. It took so long for Marie to get her card due to some strange, but ultimately explainable issues in the background check that is run on all FOCM member candidates. The joy of receiving her card and the overwhelming relief to have resolved the items of her past is quite evident in the photo of this memorable event.

Marie Perrone receives her FOCM Membership card
Photo taken by Deb Nichols

FOCM Surprise Event

It was a typical Halloween Eve evening, weather-wise in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It should come as no shock to anyone that it was also October 30.  I’d rather hastily organized the 10/30 FOCM event just the day before as Brian Langin was coming to town.  Brian has the distinction of receiving the first FOCM card ever handed out.  So clearly, he was worthy of me getting people together.

Brian was first to arrive, followed by me and then surprise, surprise, surprise, Paula Brown Stafford joined us.  Paula and I have known each other for 22 years when I first started in the clinical research industry working at Quintiles together.  She has said to keep her on the FOCM event distribution lists as someday she just might surprise me and show up.

Brian, Me, Paula

In what can only be described as one of the happiest moments of her life, Paula received her FOCM card. 

 

 

 

 

It was a fun evening.  Others in attendance: Rob Sucharski, Duncan Shaw, Peter Payne,  Lauren Sherwood, Heather Malinowski*, Steve Young, Peter Weiman*.

*1st time attendees

FOCM Welcomes New Members

On a warm, pleasant evening in October, the 1st day of the month to be precise, a significant event in FOCM history occurred; 4 new members received their cards.

I was in the RTP area to attend the Arena International Clinical Trial Supply Southeast meeting and hosted a FOCM networking event at the Sheraton Imperial Lobby Bar.

Attending that night were long time* members as well as first timers+.  As best I can recall, the following people were there: Michael Williams*, Kris Gustafson*, Mike Burrows*, Rosina Pavia*, Paul Oldfield*, Tim Sauls*, David Holland, Carolyn Waff+, Lauren Sherwood, Israel Bocanegra+, Shae Wilkins* (traveled the farthest) .

Receiving their membership cards were: Lauren Sherwood, Carolyn Waff, David Holland and Israel Bocanegra.  As you can expect, emotions ran high during the card ceremony, with many people wiping tears from their eyes.  The look of sheer joy on their faces the moment they realized they’d completed the sometimes long, sometimes short, but neverthless arduous and rigorous initiation process.

Carolyn Waff

David Holland

Lauren Sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

Israel Bocanegra

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Inductees – 10/1/2018

LaunchBio NC Networking

LaunchBio (LaunchBio) holds events on the first Thursday of the month in Durham, NC.  They are held in the Chesterfield Building in the downtown area.  The building was formerly a cigarette manufacturing building.  It has now been converted and there is incubator lab space for drug discovery and development.

It is a great opportunity for networking with people involved in the clinical research industry.  Here I am enjoying a Durty Bull Lager beer and conversation with Peter Weiman and David Holland (they’re drinking the IPA that was being served).

LaunchBio_August_2018_Web-10

FOCM New Members and DIA 2018

FOCM was busy before and at the DIA convention in Boston in June.  FOCM along with Zymewire, Investigator Support Services, Kwipped and DataMatrix sponsored the 2nd annual Sunday night networking event before DIA exhibits opened.  In the exhibit hall, FOCM gave its seal of approval to several vendors, assisTek being one.  Unfortunately, the Arizona State Sun Devil hand sign snuck into the picture.  In the shadow on the table, it appears to be a weapon of some kind.

Clinical Reconnections Event Hosts

assisTek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the recent annual Drug Information Association (DIA) meeting held in Boston last month, two outstanding individuals completed the grueling probationary period, thorough background checks and initiation process. Please join me in welcoming Andrew Suri and Megan Carson to FOCM. As others who have received their membership cards, the ceremony itself can be emotionally draining. This was no exception, the sheer joy on their faces tells the story.

Andrew is Director of Business Development for Clinogix.  Megan is Assistant Project Manager at assisTek.

Andrew Suri

Megan Carson