Looking back on Halloran’s 20 years
Early in my career, I worked as a pediatric nurse in an intensive care unit. As you can imagine, it was often difficult to work. I saw families desperate for treatments, and all too often, their medical teams had to deliver bad news. But, I also got to see children, who were stronger than they could realize, slowly make their way towards recovery with their cautiously hopeful parents absorbing each moment. There is nothing better than seeing a once-sick child that you have cared for, finally, go home. There is nothing more heartbreaking than the alternative.
At this time in my life, the idea of starting my own company was just one of those nagging thoughts, but I eventually realized that my purpose, and the purpose of the organization I would build, would be to do everything we can to ensure that more sick children and adults finally get to go home.
Fast-forward to February of 1998. I was expecting my first child and had a “now or never” mindset on starting a business. With that, I founded Halloran Consulting Group. My original motivation was to enjoy more flexibility as I embarked on the journey of motherhood. But as the primary breadwinner, I also needed to teach classes at Boston University and Mass Bio to maintain a stable paycheck. As a lifelong energizer bunny, it never occurred to me that it would be incredibly hard to do all of those things while adapting to a new baby.
Over the next few years, as I worked for two very different development stage pharmaceutical companies, I realized that a talent gap at the early stages could build in fatal flaws in both the strategy and execution of development programs. Executives rarely saw the need to hire an experienced workforce until there was proof the company had potential. I imagined that this could be what slows down development and keeps life-saving treatments from patients who are desperately in need. Thus, the enduring vision of an on-demand senior team of drug developers was born.
My first several years were spent in the ‘closet of doom,’ an unfinished half bath that held only me and a computer. The business then moved to the unfinished basement where conference calls were handled in the overflow laundry room or the backyard, weather permitting. Next, we moved to an upstairs flat in a rather dingy house on a beautiful pond in Brighton. It happened to be next door to my house, so I could see my kids get off the bus and be present when someone small would lift a Diet Coke from our office fridge.
Reflecting on those days as we now occupy three floors in the trendy Seaport district of Boston, my fondest memories are of the team’s energy as we began to coalesce, and actually – but just barely – juggle all of the proverbial balls. We knew we were doing something unique and meaningful, but we had a lot to learn. During that time, we evolved to see “problems” as opportunities to make progress. We would occasionally trip while taking that next step, but we’ve always continued with added wisdom.
My biggest challenge to date was the 2009 financial crisis. We had little working capital, and our clients were closing their doors without notice and with unpaid invoices. I realized we did not have the know-how to navigate these challenges, so I reached out to my network to bring in the expertise to help turn the company around and to gain the knowledge we needed.
That experience taught me there is no way anyone can be an expert at everything. That’s why I surround myself with people who have strengths where I do not, who can offer perspectives that challenge the status quo, both in our company and in the industry. This “disruptor” quality, combined with our mission of improving human health, creates a magnetic quality that has inspired all of our employees, clients, and partners to join us.
Within our management team, we work diligently to recognize leadership, excellence, and commitment in our employees. Our success is due in part to our honesty about the strengths and growth areas of each member of the organization, but more with the personality, passion, and experience, we bring to every single one of our engagements. We are never comfortable with the status quo and continuously strive to change and improve ourselves.
We always make it a priority to cultivate relationships with both our employees and our clients. Ever my mother’s daughter, I have always put people first in my life, holding true to the principle if you do the right thing, profits will follow. And that’s why we all get up in the morning, isn’t it? For me, it’s because I know that when I walk into our office, I have the power to help people who are truly in need and that I have an incredible team behind me to get the job done.
Thanks to all of you for being a part of the Halloran family and making this labor of love incredibly rewarding.