I’ve always loved science. I chose biology as my college major and had every intention of continuing on to medical school. But once I fully understood the years of education required to become a doctor, I changed course, and chose to become an attorney. I attended Drexel Law School on a partial scholarship, conquered the LSAT, and joined a prestigious law firm.
Practicing law taught me so much about critical thinking―how to examine a given situation, identify the gamut of issues involved, and work towards a beneficial outcome. But I found the work monotonous. I wasn’t passionate about law in the way I had always been passionate about science. I didn’t feel energized by my career.
A friend of mine worked at Klein Hersh. He knew about my love of science and medicine, and suggested I explore if a position with the firm might resonate with me. He explained how much Klein Hersh values tenacity, which I have no shortage of.
It was the fall of 2015. My wife and I were expecting our first child. If I were ever going to make a significant change in my career, now would be the time. As I considered the idea, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer. It all felt very relevant.
The interview process at Klein Hersh was intense and meticulous. With every step, I grew more engaged and excited. I was drawn to the individuality of the work, the opportunity to grow a practice, a return to my love of science, and the chance to work with like-minded colleagues who share that passion. I was offered a position in the physician recruitment group, which aligned perfectly with my interests. I jumped at the opportunity.
I’ve since developed particular expertise in central nervous system disorders, neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and rare diseases that affect very small populations and are often devastating to children. Each of us at Klein Hersh is a subject matter expert in our respective area. Our structure mirrors that of the partners we work with, covering the full lifecycle of science and healthcare. Here’s why this model makes absolute sense.
The success of our company, and ultimately, that of our partners, is based on our ability to develop strong, long-term relationships. If all of us were all trying to get to know the hundreds of thousands of people in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare space, we wouldn’t get to know any of them. Our primary job to know the best talent in the life sciences, not to place them. Placement comes when the time is right.
Focusing on the individuals within our own circles allows us to really get to know them. They become our friends. We know about their careers, their families and their interests, and they know about ours. We stay in touch. And we get to know our partners equally as well. When companies turn to us to help meet specific needs within their organizations, we know who and where the best candidates are. We know how to match the right individuals with the right opportunities.
For me personally, it’s incredibly rewarding to provide people with the same experience I had in finding Klein Hersh―helping each individual connect with a job they are passionate and energized about. But what truly drives me, and all of my colleagues here, is much greater than that, because the industry we serve is one that deeply affects people’s lives. We’ve chosen our careers with great purpose. We share the same love of science, the same passion for helping others, and the same reverence for the responsibility we’ve accepted.
The work we do has a domino effect. Its impact reverberates far beyond the talent we place, or the partner for whom we have found the perfect match. Yes, we are helping to create brilliant leadership teams who will significantly impact how companies are built and how technology is developed. But what fuels us every day is the knowledge that each person we place might be the one driving the next healthcare innovation or discovering the next scientific breakthrough, and perhaps changing the lives of patients in need.
There is a pediatric neurologist I placed as a chief medical officer. She was charged with developing a drug for a rare disease that impacts only 1 in 400,000 kids worldwide, and she was completely committed to helping these kids. Two years later, the drug was approved, and now these kids have hope where there was none before. It’s humbling to think we created that connection. The company developing that therapy may not have found this neurologist without Klein Hersh. It’s the best possible feeling when it all comes to fruition, when we put the person in place who gets a treatment to market, whether it helps 25 people, 25,000, or 250,000.
We all have so many stories like this to tell. It’s the complete opposite of working as a lawyer, when only one side wins.
Not a day goes by when I don’t feel completely fulfilled by my career, and by my family. My wife and I have two kids now. My dad is doing great, thanks to cutting-edge immunotherapy that saved his life. He’s become a tireless advocate for healthcare innovation, even appearing in television commercials for Fox Chase Cancer Center, where he received treatment. It’s from him that I learned the responsibility each of us have to serve our community.
At Klein Hersh, we are true members of the life sciences community, and we’re genuinely appreciative of the opportunity to contribute in our own way. The partners and leaders we work with are changing science. They’re advancing healthcare. On any given day, I realize that perhaps the next placement I make will help to save the next dad. Or the next kid. My colleagues and I talk about it all the time. We know we’re incredibly fortunate. What we get to do is amazing.
About the Author
Matt Taitelman is a senior director within the physician recruitment practice at Klein Hersh International, where he works across multiple therapeutic disciplines with a focus in CNS and rare disease. Klein Hersh’s physician recruitment team has a specific focus within clinical development and medical affairs, conducting director through chief medical officer-level executive searches across a wide range of disciplines, including oncology, immunology, CNS, infectious diseases, and general medicine.