Elizabeth Mily, executive vice president, Strategy & Business Development

Elizabeth Mily, executive vice president, Strategy & Business Development

Meet Elizabeth Mily

June 05, 2020
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lizabeth Mily heads the company’s strategy and business development activities, including strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, new business development and other strategic initiatives.

An experienced leader in the healthcare investment banking field, Mily most recently served as Managing Director and Chairman of the Lifesciences practice in Barclays’ investment banking division and, prior to that, as head of strategy and corporate development at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and previously as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. 

Here Mily shares her thoughts on joining the company as the world weathers the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, what she enjoys most about her profession, and valuable life lessons she’s learned on navigating through turbulent times.  

Q: Tell us about yourself and your family.

EM: I spent most of my childhood growing up in Columbus, Ohio, and went to college at Ohio State, so I’m a big Buckeye fan, and I enjoy sports generally. I was a rower in college and was varsity captain my senior year. As a family, my husband and I, along with our son, do a lot of recreation that involves physical fitness, like bike riding, tennis or just playing catch at the park. I actively keep up on how Ohio State is doing, particularly OSU football and the women’s rowing program, which I’m very involved with as an alumna.  

Q:  What has it been like to join the company at this time, while we’re in the midst of an integration and so many colleagues are working remotely?

EM: I am incredibly proud to join the company at this critical point in its history. As a banker, I worked with BMS and Celgene and admired both companies, as different and distinct as they were. I believe very strongly in the underlying rationale that brought them together, and I am thrilled to be part of the ongoing growth and mission of the new company to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.  

I am even prouder at seeing such a high level of resilience throughout the company over the past few weeks as we all deal with the impact of COVID-19. Employees are acting with great urgency in their roles while working remotely, enabling us as a company to stay focused on patients.

I am also amazed at the philanthropic leadership role our company has taken– this includes support for our patients who have been directly impacted financially by COVID-19 and donations to charitable organizations around the world. Further, I am very impressed by the thoughtful way in which we are planning to bring people more broadly back to our sites and the field. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

EM: What really attracted me to the field of healthcare, and especially to the pharmaceutical industry, is the promise of delivering new and improved treatments to patients. I’ve worked in healthcare for 27 years, and it has always held an element of excitement for me because of the innovations that can make such a difference in people’s lives. This is not just a business, it’s something that impacts everyone around the world. And when you work in business development, you are really in the heart of the innovative ecosystem.  

Another thing I love is the diversity of people, companies, deals, topics and challenges that can come at you on any given day in healthcare and business development. I find these aspects very rich and rewarding, and never boring. 

I’ve worked in healthcare for 27 years, and it has always held an element of excitement for me because of the innovations that can make such a difference in people’s lives.

Q: Can you share a valuable life lesson that would be applicable in our current situation? 

EM: I’ve lived through a number of up-and-down economic cycles during my career. What I find is hardest in times of crisis is not knowing how or when things will get better, especially when it feels really bad and things seem bleak. Inevitably, it does get better because humans have the ability to persevere and prevail over challenges. When things are not going well, you need the resilience to know that you will get through the tough times and find ways keep an optimistic outlook. Really focusing on what matters most in life is especially key. 

Q: Share a life challenge you overcame and what you took away from it. 

EM: Back in 2005, my mother was diagnosed with leukemia – specifically chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). She was hospitalized in critical care for a time, and being a nurse, she assumed the worst.  

As someone working in healthcare, with both pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, I made it my personal mission to keep her hope alive. I did everything I could by reaching out to people I knew for help and insight, and it was important that I did. Even though my mother was stabilized at her regional hospital, I received terrific guidance from people I trusted in the healthcare field who recommended that she be transferred to a National Cancer Institute facility. That move proved critical to her receiving the best, cutting-edge genetic testing and treatment. That was 15 years ago and she lived to see six grandchildren born during that time. What I learned through that experience is that as you’re trying to manage tough situations, lead your family, and be strong, you also have to be somewhat vulnerable and let people know you need help. If you allow yourself to accept that vulnerability, to open up and let others assist, you can make tremendous inroads.

Q: What excites you about the future of the company and what do you see as challenges? 

EM: The new company has a rich fabric of opportunity, with our product franchises, the deep and diverse pipeline of medicines in development, our relationships with external parties and our commitment to science and innovation. I’m really excited to be part of a company that is strategically and financially strong and committed to make the right investments to ensure we will continue to achieve our mission.  

One of the challenges we face, which I also see as an opportunity, is that we are still in the process of integration, of creating our new culture and bringing our teams together, and at the same time we’re all working virtually. This can create real opportunity in that we are getting to know one another in different ways and, frankly, learning different dimensions about our colleagues’ lives. I believe the faster we can really come together, the stronger we will be.