DR JOANNE M. HACKETT: Enabling a Better Quality of Life for Everyone

Dr. Joanne M. Hackett | CCO | Genomics England
Dr. Joanne M. Hackett | CCO | Genomics England

Joanne M. Hackett, the CCO of Genomics England, is an accomplished entrepreneur, scientist and strategist with experience in the execution and management of complex business transactions. She has extensive management experience in health and pharma industry which enables her to ensure the commercial success of the organization. Joanne possesses multidisciplinary knowledge and she is highly skilled in team management, setting external investment strategies and the identification and evaluation of targets.

Joanne has spent many years in business management which is reflecting on her strengths and weaknesses and she is trying to surround herself with people who complements her. She believes “True leadership is about empowering those around you to be successful.” Joanne also believes that she has been very fortunate to have people around her who are excellent leaders and whom she could learn from. She has also witnessed behaviors that she did not want to emulate. Joanne has always tried to lead by example and listen twice as much as she speaks.

Genomics England has a very unique offering: the team at the company work very closely with the National Healthcare Service in order to provide clinical and genomic data for individuals with suspected rare diseases and cancer. This linked clinical and genomic data is crucial for advancing research and development, which in turn will positively impact healthcare. It is incredibly important for research (be it academic or industrial) to be carried out on this data. As such, the team has designed a secure Research Environment that grants access to the qualified researchers. The hope is that the undiagnosed participants will one day get a proper diagnosis – which will be the result of the data being accessed. The linked clinical and genomic data is very useful for repurposing drugs, stratifying for clinical trials and for real world data and evidence to be generated.

It is necessary to know the audience, what the market has to offer and what changes are required to advance the industry. It is also incredibly useful to be aligned with major strategic initiatives. Don’t try to ‘own’ everything – it is much better to contribute to a larger ambition and move things forward faster.

For Joanne “leadership is about defining a goal and getting those around you to support and strive to achieve it.” The leaders who see themselves as a part of something greater are the ones who are more confident and can take others with them. Leaders need to listen, be objective, be fair and empower those around them. Leaders also need to be reflective and seek feedback. No one has all the answers, and there is never just one opinion. It is very rare that leaders actually have the authority to make decisions in isolation. Consultation is the key. This goes back to knowing the audience – it is much better to have many leaders pushing forward the same agenda and influencing a wider network collaboratively.

Joanne has a genetic disease and she has always wanted to advance healthcare to enable others to have a better quality of life. She believes that good health is the best thing anyone could hope for and with her approaches; she wants to touch as many lives as possible.

Joanne spends a lot of time reading, attending conferences, events and showcases, and is implementing pilot projects to determine if it is feasible for full implementation. She also observes the way senior leaders conduct themselves and try to understand if any of the behaviours and strategies would be useful for her to adopt. she learns something new everyday.

Joanne has relentlessly pushed forward health partnerships between the A, B, C’s: Academia, Business and the Clinical community. She was instrumental in reconfiguring stroke services, merging three cardiovascular hospitals to their streamline services; implement a Genomic Medicine Service into the healthcare system. She was designing and implementing a Research Environment that houses clinical and genomic data. Joanne has also been instrumental in getting the Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme launched as well as the NHS Innovation Accelerator and the DigitalHealth and London Acelerator successfully running. Joanne spends most of her time mentoring, advising and investing in healthcare SMEs. She wants to continue to revolutionize healthcare. The deep personal satisfaction she receives from changing the way health care is delivered is enough to keep her committed and dedicated, regardless how frustrating it can be. For now, she will continue to change the world one genome at a time.