Lynn Donaldson became a business owner by turning one of life’s challenges into a strategic success. In 2011, shortly after losing her job, she broke her ankle, making it impossible for her to travel to interviews. Donaldson had spent more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, working at every phrase of the product lifecycle, from research to product development to marketing, finally becoming a consultant. When a former client contacted her asking for help with a pre-launch project, Donaldson began to consider starting her own firm.
In 2012, Donaldson launched ConnectA Pharma, a recruiting company that matches talented individuals to companies that need their expertise. ConnectA Pharma creates bespoke teams for projects at any stage. Donaldson calls this the “Right (adaptable) resource, at the right time, with the right expertise!” At the same time, Donaldson launched iVate Strategy to provide strategic input during the early phases of product development. Getting earlier commercial input, says Donaldson, gives products a better chance of survival at launch.
ConnectA Pharma Resource has provided personnel and project support to the big Top 10 pharmaceutical companies, as well as smaller companies. Donaldson says, “We have provided a variety of project support, ranging from strategic to tactical and some of our contracts have been ongoing for over five years.” Clients choose her companies, Donaldson says, both for the quality of their staff and their unique approach. “It’s about how we think,” she says.
Donaldson has expanded to four companies – in addition to ConnectA Pharma Resource and iVate Strategy, she owns integris3 BioSolutions and ConnectA Training Resource. She is now working to bring these four companies together under one umbrella, with the help of SCORE.
Donaldson worked with SCORE mentor Deborah Newkerk. Donaldson says Newkerk provided an excellent sounding board and helped Donaldson think through challenges. “Because Deborah understood my business, she was able to provide suggestions based on her vast experience and expertise,” says Donaldson.
Newkerk is now helping Donaldson bring together her companies to streamline her operations, including suggestions for branding, ideas for the umbrella name, and messaging. Through the difficult challenges that running a small business (or four!) entails, says Donaldson, “Deborah has kept me sane.”