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Yana Faykina is the director of Advisory Services for MMIT. Her team helps clients glean the maximum value from their insights subscriptions. They act as thought partners for our clients, helping them to tease out key intelligence from the research and contextualize these findings within the market dynamics.

Tell us a little bit more about your role.    

I lead a wonderful, diverse, and talented team of five consultants. Our core responsibility is to engage with clients and ensure they are getting the most value out of their subscriptions. This includes leading kickoff calls to align on expectations, timelines, and analysis, as well as supporting clients throughout the subscription lifecycle and giving monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual presentations.

I also work closely with other MMIT directors to put efficient processes in place that support strong collaboration between our market research, panel and advisory teams. Our team also partners with the commercial team to ensure we are supporting them around new product launches and renewals.

How did you join the company? What in your background brought you to pharma?

I’ve always had a predilection for studying science and various therapy areas, and I enjoy reading on these topics in my free time. Early on in my career, I had a brief exposure to the world of market access, and I really enjoyed it. I went on to work in pharma and promotional effectiveness, in a role that was focused on HCP research.

After a number of years, I realized I wanted to get back into market access to learn more about the payer space and better understand the intricacies of access. While I was interviewing at MMIT for a CSM role, we discovered that my background and skillset were more closely aligned with the advisory team. Four years later, I’m very happy as a member of this team. I’ve definitely found my niche!

What does your day-to-day usually look like?

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but most of my time is spent in meetings! I attend a lot of client meetings to support my team, and I lead engagement meetings with my own assigned clients. I also have one-on-ones with my team, plus additional mentor and coach sessions and internal meetings to mitigate risks and align on best practices for various subscription services.

Since the pandemic, this space has changed completely in terms of the amount of travel required. Most of our clients work remotely, as does my team, so the vast majority of our client meetings are now virtual.

What are some of the larger projects you’re working on?

In any given quarter, our focus shifts to support the commercial team in their product rollouts across our lines of business. Right now, we’re focused on supporting the launch of our new HCP Message Monitor product, which allows pharma teams to track the effectiveness of their messaging across individual healthcare professionals, or HCPs.

Message Monitor already allows pharma teams to track messaging perception across payers and IDNs. Providing an unaided, fly-on-the-wall view to also capture HCP impressions of the messages delivered during a meeting—and the impact of that messaging on their prescribing habits—will be very beneficial for our clients.

What are some of the common challenges of your role?

This may be a cliché, but I really believe that our most obvious challenge is ultimately a blessing.  We’ve been growing so rapidly, and the fast pace of our innovation means that people must work hard to keep up with what’s new.

Personally, I’ve had to develop subject matter expertise across new topics and datasets fairly quickly in order to guide and coach my team. As we’ve acquired additional datasets, like oncology pathways and new sources of real-world data, we’ve needed to get up to speed quickly in order to articulate the value of this integrated data to our clients.

While it has been challenging at times, it has also been so beneficial for my team’s personal growth. I’m grateful for the exposure I have had and the amount that I’ve learned in the time I’ve been at MMIT.

What’s been your career highlight to date?

That’s an easy one! My career highlight is becoming the leader of this great advisory team about a year ago. I very much enjoyed my role as a consultant advising clients, but naturally gravitated towards mentoring, coaching and onboarding employees. In addition to volunteering for these activities, I would also create standard operating procedures whenever I could, as it’s just in my nature to create structure and improve processes.

Since becoming the leader of this team, it’s been rewarding to work so closely with the consultants. Seeing them succeed is extremely satisfying. I always tell them that I’m here to help them unlock their full potential and succeed at new challenges.

What trends are you seeing across the industry that MMIT is in a unique position to help with?

Pharma companies are realizing that they need to incorporate real-world data insights earlier and earlier to have a successful launch strategy. MMIT is uniquely well-positioned to support our clients seeking real-world data, as we’re a one-stop shop. We can support them not only with claims and lab data analysis, but we also integrate real-world data with clinical pathways and our payer policy and restriction data. We help them see the complete picture of patient access.

Which company principle resonates most with you?

I was once nominated for an award based on ‘Integrity, Truth, and Reality,’ and that principle does resonate a lot with me. I’m passionate about discovering the root causes of current problems and providing constructive feedback, whether to my direct reports, other managers, or other teams.

I always try to uncover the source of the roadblock before problem-solving, because if you don’t address the core issue, you’ll see the same problems repeat themselves. I believe that every experience is a learning experience. We may not always make the best decisions, but making mistakes gives us an opportunity to grow and learn from the past, which enables us to improve over time.

I’m also a big fan of the ‘Kindness, Empathy, and Grace’ principle, because I’m a strong believer in the fact that there’s not a separate work life and a separate home life. These things are one! I am mindful of being empathetic to all my colleagues, as you never know what people are going through on a personal level. I tell my team to make sure that they’re taking the time to stay motivated both at home and at work. Whether it’s reading a book or taking an exercise class, it’s important to do what you need to in order to stay productive and happy.

What would you tell someone just starting their career with MMIT?

Norstella encompasses such a wealth of information! We have so many different business units, data sets, and product lines. Make sure you don’t become siloed in your department to the extent that you lose awareness of the other products we offer. Nurture a healthy curiosity about what other business units are doing.

Go into MMIT University and learn all you can, and don’t forget to raise your hand to get involved with projects that go beyond your immediate role. For example, you could participate in the advisory-powered thought leadership program. Writing an article for our blog can help you gain additional expertise in a particular area of interest.

Also, having a mentor is tremendously helpful. A mentor does not necessarily have to be your manager; it could be someone from another team who you’ve become friendly with. Mentors can really help you grow in your career.

Where do you see Norstella in the next year or two?

We will continue to serve as a key partner to our pharma clients in the effort to smooth access to their therapies. We really are a one-stop shop of data sources, from real-world data to clinical trial data to lab data, EMR data, restriction data, pulse data.

What really differentiates us, however, is that we’re able to merge all of this data to give our clients completely new and innovative insights. We help clients realize which access barriers are blocking their drug, and why—and to prioritize the next steps to circumvent and resolve those barriers.

What do you like most about working at MMIT?

Personally, I like our youthful and innovative spirit! One of the things that I’m really grateful for is how willing and devoted our top leadership is to recognizing young talent. We have so many younger people in key roles throughout the organization, and you don’t see that in a lot of large-scale companies. Our leadership is dedicated to nurturing young talent, allowing them to develop skills on the job, and giving them space to shine.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my husband and my dog, Charlie. We take a lot of walks around Princeton University and downtown Philadelphia, and we stop by dog-friendly coffee shops and cafes. I also love theater, and I try to see as many Broadway shows as I can here in Philadelphia, plus making the occasional trip to NYC! My all-time favorite show is Wicked. In my free time, I also do yoga to stay centered.

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Yana Faykina

Yana Faykina
Director of Advisory Services, MMIT