Rhonda Napier joined Thought Leader Select as a research manager in the spring of 2010, after serving the company for two years as a researcher. A graduate of West Virginia University (bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology) and Marshall University (master’s degree in adult fitness and cardiac rehabilitation), Rhonda worked in research and clinical practice as an exercise physiologist for 13 years.
During her time at the Ohio State University College of Nursing, Napier led National Institutes of Health-funded research on the effects of exercise on hypertensive women. More recently, her work at the Gillings School for Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill focused on quality and access to healthcare.
The Thought Leader Select Blog sat down with Rhonda to discuss her skills and experiences, as well as her contribution to the work of Thought Leader Select.
TLS Blog: Good afternoon, Rhonda. Why did you join Thought Leader Select?
Rhonda Napier: I had the good fortune of meeting the company’s leadership team through my husband, Chris, after he became acquainted with them. That was back in 2008, and they had an opportunity for me to come into the company as a researcher. The idea of exclusively doing research for me was odd, because I had been a clinician for so many years—but I became attached to it very quickly, because our work at Thought Leader Select reminded me of all the work I had done on clinical trials for Ohio State University and the National Institutes of Health.
When I was working in the world of clinical trials, I saw first-hand all the great work that pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals were doing to bring new medicines to the market and improve public health. These were great people to work for and work with—they really wanted to impact the lives of patients for the better. So I immediately saw working as a researcher at Thought Leader Select as a way to ensure that the very best people in pharma and the very best people in the medical community would benefit from our unbiased approach to KOL research. We connect the pharma world with those who treat patients in the most ethical way possible, and I love that about our company.
TLS Blog: How do your academic and/or professional backgrounds inform your work at Thought Leader Select?
Rhonda Napier: I’m a physiologist, and I am passionate about patient advocacy and patient care. In my work, I really try to translate what I learned working in the therapeutic area of cardiology to our thought leader research. Companies hire us to do research assessments—projects—to get to know the leading professionals in a particular therapeutic area.
A project is more than a set of keywords and subsequently throwing keyword-driven data in into a database. Our clients deserve better! They want to know the level of impact a certain KOL will have in clinical and advisory work—impact that means better medicines and better patient care. I know that I can really find the data that’s relevant to our clients’ needs. We could use web-crawlers and other tools, but I truly believe that having a set of scientifically trained eyes on all the data we find helps us to capture the best data and lose nothing.
And doctors are more than a keyword search. They are people with skills and experiences, passions and interests. Our research brings out who they are as people and gives them the proper standing they deserve.
TLS Blog: What do you enjoy most about your work at Thought Leader Select?
Rhonda Napier: What I like the most is that I never feel like I’m just a cog in some big research wheel, like I would imagine some of the project managers at more of our IT-driven competitors would feel. I really see and feel how our unbiased, highly ethical approach to our work brings out the very best collaborations among pharmaceutical companies and the medical community.
I also like how thorough we are, and the high standards we set for ourselves here. We never cut corners—we’re always expanding what we can do for our clients. We are always challenging ourselves to redefine what the standard is for “our best work,” and that value comes straight from the top of our company, from Paul Meade (president of Thought Leader Select).
TLS Blog: How do you spend your down time?
Rhonda Napier: Like everyone on my team, I work very hard. My number one passion is my family—I’m very lucky to have two beautiful sons and a great husband. Much of our lives revolve around youth sports, and nothing is better than sharing time with each of them—except maybe when we’re all together watching our OSU Buckeyes win!
And while I thrive on being a good mom, I think it’s important for me to set an example for my sons in my work. I want them to see what a strong person–a strong woman–can achieve working for a company like Thought Leader Select. My work is a source of great pride, and I want them to see that and know, one day when they are grown up, how hard I worked—not only for them, but for myself and my own fulfillment, too.