Home Insights Half an Hour with Chris Savage

Half an Hour with Chris Savage

Which part of Ashfield do you work for and what is your role?

As the SVP of Global Strategy and North American Sales and Marketing, I’ve had the opportunity to partner with a varied group of colleagues within the Engage organization. Since I’ve joined the organization, I’ve had the opportunity to lead the refinement of our five year strategy and to build and implement a new go-to-market approach. The combination of job responsibilities challenges me to think both short and long term and ensure the strategy we’re designing can be implemented. It’s a really nice balance of focus.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I’m a life sciences lifer.  After 9 years at Merck and Co. working across the Research and Development organization, I joined Vynamic (within Ashfield Advisory) as employee #35 back in 2010. Throughout my time at Vynamic, I had the opportunity to develop deep expertise in the product launch space working with life sciences clients in the US and abroad, and build wonderful friendships with a talented crew of individuals. In October 2020, I started my transition over to Ashfield Engage, where I’ve continued to encounter a wonderful collection of hardworking, smart and fun-loving colleagues and have recently taken on expanded responsibilities including overseeing North American Sales and Marketing.

What do you like most about your role?

It has to be the opportunity to work with talented people around the globe and across UDG Healthcare. I’ve had the opportunity to work on Project Enterprise with colleagues from across UDG Healthcare, omnichannel pilots with colleagues within Ashfield Engage and Ashfield Health, and the refinement of our 2025 strategy and build out of a new sales model with team members across North America in Ashfield Engage. All of the different perspectives and approaches have challenged me to “up my game” every day.

What has been the biggest challenge in your role so far?

I came into this role during COVID, so I haven’t had chance to connect with many of my colleagues face-to-face. To me, shared experiences is how you deepen working relationships and so I’m looking forward to the time where I can get into the same room as my global colleagues to collaborate.

What is on the agenda for you in 2021?

From a strategy perspective, refining our 2025 functional strategies across Ashfield Engage and putting a wrapper on Project Enterprise are my top priorities for the remainder of 2021. And for the Sales and Marketing portion of my role, I’ll be focusing on implementation of our new sales model which will refocus a majority of our business development resources on expanding our work within our existing clients and harnessing our marketing capabilities to help identify warm leads that our new business partner can pursue at new clients.

Which Ashfield value fits you best and why?

Definitely Energy. I do my best to bring an upbeat, light hearted approach to every meeting, every engagement, every hallway conversation. We have a lot of work to get done but there is no rule against having fun while you’re doing it.

Which five famous guests (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party and why?

I’m a big introvert so the idea of having dinner with people I don’t know and don’t have a shared connection with is pretty low on my list of priorities. While they aren’t famous, I’ll take good friends, a firepit, a nice beverage and some home cooked food over a dinner with famous people 10 times out of 10.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

My preferred downtime activity is training for, and competing in, triathlons with friends. However, with 8 and 10-year-old sons, those plans have been put on hold since I coach 3 baseball teams. Right now I’m at the ballfield every night of the week and 3-4 times on the weekend.

Tell us something about yourself that nobody would know.

I was an Animal Science major in college since I thought, at one time, that I wanted to be a veterinarian. During one winter break, I worked with a large animal vet and one morning was tasked with sawing cow horns off live cows so they could be sold at auction. While no animals were harmed in the ordeal, the cows were none too happy with me that day and by the end of that experience I was convinced that a career as a veterinarian was not in the cards for me!

Finally, what is your one piece of advice for your colleagues? 

Always lead with best of intentions and assume others are doing the same. With the flurry of communication going on around us on a given day, sometimes words and meaning can get misconstrued. But if you give others the benefit of the doubt, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and stress.