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Thinking Like a Business Leader

Cancer researcher retools for advocacy career

Lynn Matrisian
Vice President, Scientific and Medical Affairs at Pancreatic Center Action Network
Adjunct Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2013

When she was Chair of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, one of Lynn Matrisian’s many responsibilities was running a research laboratory. But she felt a growing sense that she needed to do more.

“I’m very proud of the contributions I’ve made in cancer research,” Lynn says. “But I wanted to take it to the next level, so it has a broader impact on patients with cancer.”

After working as an advisory to the National Cancer Institute, Lynn concluded the realm of advocacy was where she could make the greatest difference. “There was an opportunity,” she explains, “to direct funds that re- shape the way cancer research is performed and what it can accomplish.”

But Lynn also realized that “she had lived in an academic world for many years, and simply did not understand the business world,” .

From her time at Vanderbilt, Lynn already knew about the Executive MBA program at Owen, which she believed would “broaden my horizons.”

Shortly after she began the program, Lynn accepted a new position in California. She commuted to Nashville every other weekend, studying on the plane and using video conferencing to meet with the members of her C-Team. After one semester, Lynn found that she was gaining the skills she needed for business. “I was impressed that the program had already altered the way I viewed the world around me,” she says.