Sara Mills


joined in the fall of 2016 as one of the first two full-time employees

Process development in stem-cell-derived cell therapies, plus a little tech transfer.

We’re a flexible pressure cooker: it’s controlled insanity. We work on our own schedule. The necessary trade-off for that flexibility is my perpetual availability to my clients: I will always prioritize the client and their need(s).

Sara Mills on a sailboat

That first patient dosed. It is such a long road to get there, and that road—in this industry—is necessarily paved with failures. So, that first real-life application hits me every time.

My first hero was also the first female exec I knew: my mom. She began a career at AAA highlighting Triptiks when she was a teenager and by the time she retired she was a regional CEO. I saw her take risks, push boundaries, and excel. My parents always told me that they trusted the choices I made for myself and I think the combination of seeing success and being given the space to take my own risks positively affected my own trajectory. I hope to pass that same sense of possibility on to my son.

Early breakfast with my kiddo followed by an early meeting in another time-zone. Three days a week in the office and two days working from home is a typical weekly breakdown. Always, yoga. Evening work after family dinner and toddler bath & bed.

So many of us have worked together at past companies in the regenerative medicine space; in my case, I’d previously worked with Jerrod Denham, Chad Green, and Vince So. The thing about working with so many of the same people at different companies is that it allows us to hire true rock-stars who can handle the pressure. You want the people you know will be teammates you can count on and who will enhance what you bring to the table.

Seeing behind the curtain of so many companies of varying sizes in the space means we stay nimble and approach problems and solutions differently. And our team is one you can bounce ideas off of, which is invaluable. The work we do is, by necessity, deeper and more considered than what you think of when you think of a consultant. Creativity cross-pollinates with expertise and can lead to solutions no one would have thought of otherwise. I also love that there’s always a new problem to solve. I think I’m at my best when I’m tackling a problem that feels almost impossible. Feeling that solution take shape around a client’s specific goals is so gratifying.

At work: my attention to detail and a preference for—or maybe I’d call it an obsession with—perfectly formatted documents, high quality documentation.

Personally: competitive sailing. The first time I was on a boat I was instantly hooked and I remember saying to a co-worker at the time, “I was made for this.” The challenges of sailing almost mirror the rest of my life—you never sit down to rest for long, because there’s always a new and urgent thing that needs done, and needs to be done right. You’re a part of something bigger than yourself.

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