Around the same time she learned to walk, Mirjam Niederberger took up the sport of climbing, a common hobby in her family. She began climbing inside a recreation hall in Switzerland, where she scaled 2-meter-high walls above floors covered with mattresses to support her falls.
She admits learning to trust other people while climbing has never been easy. At first, she was afraid they would let her fall. She felt safest climbing with the people she had developed a deep sense of trust with — her mother and sister. Over time, however, she learned to trust that others would catch her on her ropes if she fell. This gave her comfort, security and a feeling of safety.
Above all, she learned to trust herself. Mirjam learned that to be successful and reach her goals, she had to be able to trust her instincts and skills. Without trust, she would have been too focused on her fear of falling. Mirjam now prefers to climb solo a few times a year.
“You can find trust everywhere,” Mirjam said.
Mirjam, Human Resources Administrator EMEA based in Switzerland, sees how trust plays a crucial role in the corporate world, too. We need to be able to rely on ourselves, and each other, to get our jobs done.
You can find trust everywhere.—
Human Resources Administrator EMEA
Building trust with our patients, colleagues and health care professionals is essential to our patient-forward mission. Establishing and maintaining trusting relationships positions us to be an integral part of a patient’s cancer care team. Our developed trust helps to advance our mission in many ways.
Mirjam believes trust is vital in our fast-paced industry. She said if we are truthful and can rely on each other, our company can efficiently grow and compete in our field.
In her position, Mirjam builds trust with colleagues by helping them find a solution for a problem. Even if she doesn’t know the answer, she and her team will dig deeper to point colleagues in the best direction to find one. By fostering positive relationships with employees, her team strengthens and unifies colleagues’ trust in their department.
“More people have been communicating with EMEA HR, which I believe is a sign of trust,” Mirjam said.
For Ran Afik, Clinical Development Manager based in Haifa, trust is more than a Novocure value: it is one of life’s fundamental values. Trust is based on what we know from others and what we can provide to others, Ran said. Ran visualizes trust by thinking of credibility as a tower. Trust is the foundation, and it needs to be solid.
In the year and a half that Ran has been with Novocure, he has relied on and trusted our 20-plus years of scientific evidence. In his position, Ran uses the available scientific information the company has released to write protocols for clinical trials for new indications. He also writes supporting documents, such as investigator brochures, informed consent forms for patients and more.
When building and maintaining trust, Ran said, it is important to be honest about what you do and do not know.
“If we have a successful experiment, we advance one small step and we open a door to a room,” Ran said. “Now, we see 10 other doors to be unlocked, which means we learn how much we actually do not know about something.”
Ultimately, Ran said he has to trust the scientific knowledge we provide to move projects to the next level.
Hiro Mori, Device Support Specialist, based in Japan, believes developing trusting relationships with patients, families, nurses and doctors is critical to our mission.
As a patient-forward company, building trust with patients is especially vital. One way Hiro forges trusting relationships with patients is to listen intently to what they and their caregivers are saying and asking. She builds trust through regular communication and day-to-day interactions.
This includes monthly visits with patients and regular phone calls as needed for patients and caregivers with DSSs and their teams. Hiro said picking up on non-verbal communication is equally as important as verbal communication.
“We foster trust by avoiding communication errors,” Hiro said. To overcome these errors, she explicitly breaks down concepts and information for patients.
Hiro acknowledges glioblastoma (GBM) is a complicated diagnosis, so in order for patients and caregivers to obtain correct information on the disease and our therapy, we must strive for good communication based on trust.
“That way, patients, their families, and caregivers can spend their days calmly and peacefully,” Hiro said.
Hiro notices the psychological and behavioral benefits of establishing trusting communication. She recalled a patient with GBM who was anxious about starting treatment. Novocure colleagues, including the DSSs, communicated clearly with the patient about the treatment, answering any questions he had, which made him feel more comfortable.
Once Hiro’s team communicated additional resources available to patients, like the new Care Center in Japan and support from DSSs, the patient found comfort in the support available.
This patient went on to share his own experiences and information about GBM and treatment, hoping he can help somebody else.
Jonathan Gephart, a Florida-based Clinical Research Scientist, said trust lives at the center of an organization and needs to be maintained throughout it.
“We can’t function without trusting each other about what we’re telling each other,” Jonathan said.
In Jonathan’s role at Novocure, establishing and maintaining trust is crucial because he interacts with physicians who have to trust that he is presenting accurate information. From there, physicians take that information and make medical decisions that affect people’s lives, Jonathan said.
In his position, Jonathan discusses the science behind Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) and anything about the disease state, such as health risks or complications. He takes it very seriously that our external stakeholders, investigators and healthcare professionals trust what he is telling them.
“The key to my profession is being a reliable source,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan said he builds trust by trying to be as accurate as possible in what he tells people. Similarly, he believes being accountable goes a long way in building trust.
“I am telling them what I believe is accurate at the time,” Jonathan said. “If I find out later that what I said was not accurate, I always correct it as soon as possible.”
One benefit of having trusting relationships, Jonathan said, is the feeling that in every situation you are in with someone, you have their support and you can rely on them.
The key to my profession is being a reliable source.—
Clinical Research Scientist
The beginning of the pandemic was difficult for many of us, and we had to find ways to adapt quickly while keeping patients at the forefront of our work. For some of our colleagues, that meant adjusting to new ways of working and doing business.
Rebekah Alexander, Logistics Coordinator Supervisor, based in Portsmouth, worked closely with the Device Support Specialist team during the development and execution of virtual patient starts early in the pandemic.
One of the biggest components of a patient start is the delivery of equipment and paperwork. These items are typically hand-delivered by the DSS at a patient start. It was essential to deliver them directly to patients and find a solution to return the necessary signed paperwork for these virtual starts. Rebekah brainstormed with colleagues to determine the best way to meet these needs. She helped review patient array layouts that were included in each virtual start patient kit, before sending them to the Warehouse Operations team, who printed and shipped them for virtual starts.
Trust is fundamental for Rebekah’s team because they take care of behind-the-scenes efforts for other departments. That way each department can focus on what they do best to streamline the overall performance of the company. For Rebekah, consistency and dedication are key in building trust, especially when supporting other departments, because consistent support ultimately grows our company’s success.
Rebekah said in her position, she strives to make sure nothing falls between the cracks. She moves things along by helping wherever needed.
“I like to think of us as the caulk,” Rebekah said.
As a supervisor, Rebekah acknowledges it is sometimes hard for her to delegate tasks to her team. She gains and builds trust with her team members when she gives them a complicated task and they complete it quickly and accurately.
“It shows other departments they can trust us to do the background work and can rely on us to support them where it is needed,” Rebekah said.
Daniela Divlianska, a Senior Medical Science Liaison (MSL) based in Florida, is helping the One Medical team prepare for growth. She educates healthcare providers on the science of TTFields and helps foster new research interest. An MSL’s role is to serve as the scientific interface between Novocure and the healthcare professional communities with respect to communicating scientific information about Novocure products, scientific data and clinical development plans.
Relationships with healthcare providers are important to our company, Daniela said. To build trusting relationships with healthcare providers, she aims to acknowledge and value their expertise.
“To know how to support them, you really have to listen to them,” Daniela said.
For Daniela, trust is openness in a conversation. It is the ability to listen constructively and make adjustments as needed. It’s also owning our actions, whether they are perceived positively or negatively.
We all make mistakes, Daniela said, and we resolve them by talking through the mistakes and sharing our thoughts and our understanding behind them. The other person will hopefully see our view and trust that there was no mal-intent.
Daniela practices actively listening by being objective with not only healthcare providers, but with her colleagues, too. She does this by mirroring or echoing their thoughts with the intention of being able to understand where they are coming from. She insists on giving every person she encounters the benefit of the doubt by believing there is potential for a trusting relationship.
Daniela said our commitment to our values allows our company to channel our energy to where the highest need is and, ultimately, continue our patient-forward mission.
“I think our company values are so interconnected,” she said. “A big recharge for me in times of adversity is knowing that whatever the challenges might be, we are here to support each other.”