Corryn Guyot, a Device Support Specialist (DSS) in the Central U.S. region, left her home life and family as she knew them when she began working for Novocure in January 2020. At the time, Corryn lived with her parents, but shortly after joining Novocure, she moved into her own condo 10 minutes from her folks in Michigan.
Corryn started as a floater DSS, covering North and South Dakota, northern Minnesota, northern Ohio and northern Indiana. Each month, she travelled to 30 to 40 patients.
As one of the few people in the country traveling through airports at the time, she often felt alone. She had to see her parents less often as a safety precaution, which added to her feelings of isolation.
She was on her own, covering a territory she had never visited before, not even on personal time. On top of that, Corryn felt unnerved by the unknowns of COVID. Suddenly, airports were nearly empty. Passengers had to wear masks, and flight attendants served only pre-packaged food and drinks.
It took courage for Corryn to board more than 70 flights in the midst of a global pandemic. Then, when she reached her destinations, Corryn faced another obstacle. Many restaurants and stores were closed.
“I had to just figure out, how can I do this?” she said. “Where can I stay? What are the COVID restrictions? Even things as silly as like, where are you going to stop and use the restroom? Or where can you grab a bite to eat? North Dakota or South Dakota don’t really have those stops when you’re driving through the middle of nowhere.”
Fortunately, the restrictions didn’t deter Corryn from getting her job done. She learned to adapt quickly.
“This experience made me a super confident DSS, in terms of traveling and problem solving,” Corryn said.
Kirill Stepovoy is a Senior System Engineer based in Israel. Before joining our company in January 2021, Kirill worked at a large public Israeli defense company. He worked there for eight years, where he grew familiar with his role, his colleagues and his knowledge. He often worked on multimillion-dollar projects, building and describing systems so other engineers could manufacture them.
When Kirill felt his growth was stagnating, he used his courage to make a career change from aerospace to the medical field.
“It’s totally different, but it needs the same skills, the same way of thinking and the same way to make decisions from my point of view,” he said.
Kirill believes it takes courage to try something new and that’s how personal growth begins.
If you are staying in your comfort zone, I believe you cannot succeed and you cannot build yourself in work or in life. You'll stay there.—
Kirill Stepovoy, Senior System Engineer
Kirill also cultivates courage in his day-to-day work by thoroughly researching solutions to problems. It is easier to be courageous when you are well armed with knowledge.
“I try to ask myself questions to see if I can find error in my thoughts by myself,” he said. “Then I try to ask people that are not connected to this project or this field, to see if they can find some error in the theory or in the calculation.”
Courage is also important for Novocure’s Global Clinical Operations team, who deal with many unknowns. They work especially hard at practicing communication skills, as there are several people working towards a similar goal, but at different stages of development, said Steven LaFond, Senior Manager of Clinical Trial Communications.
Steven, who is based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, leads a team that works closely with other teams to prepare materials for investigators, potential investigators, study participants and others who need information about our clinical trials.
He encourages team members to have the courage to speak up and ask questions when they are unsure of something.
“No one wants to appear unknowledgeable,” he said. “It’s especially frightening in a very intellectual space. There could sometimes be a pull to just passively agree without fully understanding the whole scope of what you’re going into, or acronyms that have the same initials, but perhaps mean completely different things. You are not deficient at all if you’re asking for that type of clarification.”
Steven said once you clarify something or learn something new, you might be empowered to provide support and ideas you hadn’t considered before.
Mor Vardi is a User Interface and User Experience Designer. Based in Israel, she works on making products user-friendly, considering what challenges patients face so they can use a product with ease.
Mor said having empathy for our patients helps her to call on her own courage.
“I think about our patients’ courage, specifically in glioblastoma, which is one of the most aggressive types of cancers,” Mor said.
Mor said seeing things through a child’s perspective can also help with courage.
“Children are not afraid to say something ‘silly’ — they say what they think,” Mor said. “This is a bit harder for adults as we keep considering things thoroughly. I am not saying that thinking something through is not the right thing to do, but sometimes we can take inspiration from children and not be afraid to look at things a different way, or speak our mind and not be afraid to sound silly.”
Joachim Horschitz, Digital Communications Specialist, DACH region, said his running hobby helps him build courage that he brings back to his job.
“It taught me that being courageous and trying hard, you can reach your goals and do even more than you thought you could,” Joachim said.
Joachim started practicing running in 2014. Back then, he couldn’t hike hilly terrain, let alone run it. Now, he runs up small hills and even mountains about 1,300 feet (about 400 meters) high.
He could only run about a mile (1.6 kilometers) at the beginning. With practice, he can now run 11 miles (18 kilometers) without mountains and 8 miles (13 kilometers) up and down a mountain.
To draw on his courage while running, Joachim vividly imagines how it would feel to complete the challenge successfully. This puts him in a positive mindset. He often uses this trick to help him with obstacles he faces at work, too.
He also teaches new employees how to use that courage in the workplace.
“I encourage people to be courageous and have new ideas and propose them because in my opinion, even small or unrefined ideas, can grow into something larger and make a difference in some way,” Joachim said.
As for who inspires Ana Sofia Pinheiro Nunes to be courageous, she credits her late mother.
“My mom fought cancer several times in her life, always with very positive mindsets,” said Ana Sofia, Supply Chain Senior Business Analyst. “When I think about all the things that she did, even though she had so many battles to fight, I’m very proud, and I can just wish to be half of what she was during my life.”
Ana Sofia’s mom was a nurse and administrative head in a small medical clinic. Even with her battles with cancer, Ana Sofia said, she never recalled her mom missing work. Her patients were always her focus.
“What I find incredible is that I never heard my mom complain or say, ‘This is unfair!’ or ‘Why does this happen to me?’” Ana Sofia said. “She always had the mindset of ‘I need to go through this phase, and I will get to the other end, stronger than before.’”
Ana Sofia said she persists through obstacles at work because just like her late mother, patients are at the forefront of her mind. Just as people with glioblastoma and mesothelioma navigate the challenges of their diagnosis, Ana Sofia believes we must have the courage to conquer our own challenges.
Have the courage to put yourself out there and try to make your day count, because that's our most important focus. Our patients, they live that way every day.