Q&A: Career path jumps from megacorp to small not-for-profit

Michele Sawyer Photo

Source: Indianapolis Business Journal

It can be a culture shock to change jobs from a huge corporation to a small not-for-profit. But for Michele Sawyer, the move felt just right.

Sawyer started Sept. 1 as chief financial officer at the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute after more than two decades at drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. and its animal health spinoff, Elanco Animal Health.

The institute at the 16 Tech Innovation District was established in 2013 as a way to bridge the gap between research universities and industry in life sciences. It also acts as an incubator for biotech startups.

Sawyer’s mission is to help the institute, which had $25 million in revenue in 2020, build a strong financial foundation. Sawyer, 48, has a bachelor’s in business from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and is a certified public accountant.

What’s the major differences between working for big corporations, where you spent most of your career, and a small not-for-profit?

Probably the biggest difference is that you’re wearing a lot of hats. At big corporations, the work is very segregated, and there’s a lot of resources. At my new job, one day we’re talking about funding, and then the next day, we’re talking about communications or how to utilize lab space or what our benefits are going to look like. But for me, personally, I like that.

To read the full article, go to Inside INdiana Business.