Your Most Authentic Self: Christiane Langer on Working at BeiGene
Why did you choose to work at BeiGene?
Three things: First, John and his amazing vision, focusing on accessible and affordable medicines for patients in need worldwide. Second, the breadth and depth of our pipeline; and finally, the opportunity for me to take on a truly global team and be able to shape and impact our future as a team and our contributions in moving towards our vision.
Tell me about your career path. What were pivotal moments in your career, and what did those transitions teach you?
I always had a passion for people, helping others and science. I trained as an OB/GYN in Germany, focusing on gynecologic oncology. Witnessing first-hand in the late 1990s how Herceptin, as the first targeted cancer medicine, revolutionized the treatment landscape of breast cancer was amazing, and it brought me to the U.S. to do breast cancer research. From there I made the change into the pharmaceutical industry, convinced that I could help more patients on a higher level by helping develop novel cancer medicines where they were still very much needed. I went from big companies to smaller biotechs because I wanted to have more ability to impact the culture as well as strategy of what we were doing, and I also loved the more entrepreneurial aspects. Now, at BeiGene, I feel like I have finally arrived – I can do all those things and feel appreciated for what I/we do.
What skills or competencies are essential for a leader, and why?
In my opinion, being your most authentic self is critical to being an inspiring leader, who can create a vision and a common purpose for the team to get behind – being empathetic, an active listener, decision maker, being able to delegate, being vulnerable and practicing conscious leadership. A leader, in my opinion, cares about their team and people more than their own advancement, and by leading/living by example, shapes the culture they want to create for the team.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Have dreams and aspirations and never give up on those. Don’t be shy to ask and speak up. Always try and be yourself.
What is your team like?
I lead Global Medical Affairs (Ex-Greater China); we are a truly global, dispersed team of about 200 people, with 10 people on my leadership team. As Medical Affairs, we translate our awesome data/science into new treatment standards. I view my leaders as partners; we lead together, and I strive to bring in the best people, with the most experience and skills –human leaders who are a great fit for the rest of the team and our culture.
What is the most unique part about working here?
I have never felt as welcome and appreciated at any other company as I feel here at BeiGene, and I feel this is true for most colleagues. It is an inclusive culture, where the ‘how’ is as important as the ‘what.’ In addition, I find that everyone is uniquely united behind the vision to truly do what’s best for our patients.