Uzma Shoukat-Mumtaz headshot with outline

Uzma Shoukat-Mumtaz

CONSULTANT

joined DHC in Q2 of 2019

Stem Cell Therapy process/product development and manufacturing (including tech transfer and technical writing)

I think of it as a place where a bunch of resourceful experts with complementary skill sets can come together to contribute to the massive knowledge base of the team at large. Everyone here is top of their field and have been so carefully hired to strengthen a specific piece of the puzzle. I know that my skills will be utilized to full capacity and that every time I need to expand upon my knowledge in any area, the best person to learn from is right here. That trust that we all have in one another is a great thing to experience in the workplace.

I’d like to be able to tell a new person that you’re never going to be in just one role. Here, we have the opportunity to leverage our areas of expertise in such a way that we also add to our own toolbox as we go. It’s an incredibly varied working experience and it’s also fascinating to see our client from both the outside and the inside…to get a full picture of the process and to be instrumental in optimizing it.

Our family loves day trips (or at least, before COVID-19,
we did)! Our favorite places to go are
San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.
There’s nothing better than relaxing with your feet in the sand, staring out to the horizon, and appreciating that moment, surrounded by the people you love.

I’d say it’s the client feedback after we’ve completed an engagement. Knowing that we’ve been invaluable to our clients and helped them reach their milestones provides such a feeling of validation and gives our work a genuine purpose.

During my youth I witnessed several of my loved ones either suffer or lose their life due to various illnesses, and I think experiencing that type of tragedy at a formative age set my purpose. I didn’t think I was going to be a scientist, though. I remember that my life goal at age 11 was to be a doctor, to help people in a concrete hands-on way. During my junior year in high school, though, the stem cell field began to really take off and my direction changed. Learning about this new young field was what spurred my interest to focus on biology. By my college years I knew for sure that I wanted to have a career in developing stem cell therapies. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve been asking the big questions: why am I here? what is the purpose of my life? I turned to faith to answer so many of these and to help me do good in the world, which is what I feel that I’m drawn to do. I make sure that I’m always thinking about the other person, whether that’s my spouse, my children, my colleagues, my clients. I always ask myself, “how are my actions and words affecting those around me?” That type of mindfulness and awareness of others is what makes me whole.

I consider empathy and emotional awareness to be a strength and I actively work to pass it on to my kids. The moment I held my oldest for the first time I felt so heavy with the weight of responsibility of shaping another person’s experience and personality. I want my children to be one of the kind influences out in the world. I also want them to know that sometimes we can impact others without actively realizing it. On Thanksgiving Day one year I experienced an example of how one’s actions can affect others when a former colleague reached out to me in an email to thank me for listening and talking to them during a tough time. Before that I hadn’t really considered what an impact I could have just by being present and listening; it touched me so deeply that someone would take time out of a busy family holiday to write an email to someone from their past. On the difficult days that’s probably what keeps me going: knowing that we can touch others to the heart even without knowing it at the time.

I think I enjoy detail work and big picture work equally, whereas some people strongly prefer one to the other. For example, I have over a decade of hands-on lab experience so I’ve done more than my fair share of pipetting, but I’ve also been able to expand my detailed knowledge into big picture solutions. Similarly, I have had many experiences—both personally and on the job—learning the stories of individual patients. That care and concern for the individual has grown into a big-picture desire to help others: the tens or hundreds or thousands of people I’ll never know, but who have been given hope and health because of something that I helped to make a reality.

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