Grow Your Own: Proactively Recognizing & Developing Top Performers

Wednesday, April 30 2014
8:00 am – 10:00 am

Location: MassBio, 300 Technology Square, 8th Floor, Cambridge, MA

Too often we find ourselves regretting the departure of a key employee/top performer.  We know retention is a constant challenge, especially for these high value team players.  We will hear from a panel of experts on how to engage top performers, develop programs for HIPO/future leaders, succession plan and implement simple ways to “Grow Your Own.” This lively, interactive discussion will cover such key issues as:

  • Succession planning, hiring for the long term; professional grooming & growth
  • Developing programs for “star” or high potential employees
  • Criteria and behavior biomarkers to identifying key employees
  • Rewarding and recognizing top performers
  • Retention and employment engagement practices

Who should attend?  Human Resource staff and people serving in leadership roles within biopharmaceutical organizations who are committed to identifying, retaining and growing key team members. You will leave this Forum with solid ideas to bring to your teams and organizations for immediate impact & implementation.


  • Barbara Carter, Executive Coach and Biotech HR Consultant, Barbara Carter Consulting
  • Sarah Larson, Sarah Larson, VP of Human Resources, Foundation Medicine
  • Philip A. Litos, Chief Operating Officer, Marsh & McLennan Agency- New England


  • Lee Merrill, Vice President, Human Resources, FORMA Therapeutics


This Forum is presented by the Human Resources Forum Working Group.


Speaker Bios:

Barbara Carter, Executive Coach and Biotech HR Consultant, Barbara Carter Consulting

For over twenty years, Barbara has held a variety of senior human resources leadership positions, ranging from small start-up to large global companies, in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.   She has been a member of the executive team and responsible for leading human resources initiatives and programs including organizational development, management coaching, performance management, training, recruiting, compensation, benefits and reward and recognition systems.

Since 2008, she has been a human resources consultant to leaders of small start-up drug, device, and diagnostic healthcare companies working in a variety of roles including head of human resources, executive team development and executive coach. From 2001 to 2008, Barbara was Vice President, Human Resources and Public Relations at TransForm Pharmaceuticals.   TransForm, acquired by Johnson&Johnson Pharmaceuticals in 2005, was recognized as a “Best Places to Work” by The Scientist magazine for 8 consecutive years (’02 – ’09) and by the Boston Business Journal in ’06.   From 1981 to 2001, she worked at Genetics Institute, Inc. a fully integrated biotechnology company  acquired by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 1997, as Assistant Vice President, Human Resources and Administration.    

Her current and past clients include:  Acceleron, Agios, bluebird bio, Cydan Development, Eleven Biotherapeutics, Flexion Therapeutics, Foundation Medicine, Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Kala Pharmaceuticals, SpringLeaf Therapeutics, Taligen Therapeutics, Taris Biomedical, T2 Biosystems, TowersWatson and Virdante Pharmaceuticals.  

She holds a graduate certificate from Columbia University in executive coaching, a certificate in Human Resources Management from Bentley College and a B.S. degree from Fitchburg State University in special education. 

Sarah Larson, Sarah Larson, VP of Human Resources, Foundation Medicine

Sarah Larson joined Foundation Medicine in April 2010. Specializing in talent acquisition and management as well as the building of strong corporate cultures, Sarah brings over 14 years of progressive Human Resources management to Foundation, including expertise in strategic organizational development, coaching, compensation analysis, employee relations, and alignment of Human Resources to support rapidly growing companies. Prior to joining Foundation Medicine, Sarah led the global Human Resources function at CombinatoRx, now Zalicus, and worked for several years as a recruiter and account manager at Cambridge Search, a search firm specializing in recruitment within the life sciences industry. Sarah holds a BA in Communications from Rivier College.

Philip A. Litos, Chief Operating Officer, Marsh & McLennan Agency- New England

Mr. Litos brings over 35 years of executive level management experience in the health benefits industry.  Since May of 2010, he has served as Chief Operating Officer (COO), Marsh & McLennan Agency- New England Region.  As COO, he is responsible for all of the practices and overall operations of the business.  Mr. Litos joined the Bostonian Group in 2000 and, prior to the Marsh & McLennan’s acquisition of Bostonian Group, served as President of the company. 

Phil began his career with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and, over a 20 plus year period, held a variety of senior positions, the last nine years serving as Vice President Sales and Service.  His responsibilities included directing the claims and customer service operations, building new distribution channels and overseeing National and Major Account client relationships.

Mr. Litos is a member of Cigna’s National Producer Advisory Council; event co-chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Annual Uncork the Cure Committee and sits on the New England Council’s Health Care Committee. 

Lee Merrill, Vice President, Human Resources, FORMA Therapeutics

Lee brings over 20 years of diverse experience in all aspects of HR. His skills include the ability to engage the business environment with a strong strategic and tactical approach while maintaining a high degree of concern for people and results. He has an extensive recruitment background both internally to companies and as the head of his own recruitment firm. Over the most recent years, he has successfully led HR departments at Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, Targanta Therapeutics and Acambis. He has established start-up HR departments supporting multiple sites in both the private and public sectors internationally. He obtained his MBA from Babson College and his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont.



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