Leadership and Resilience in Spatial Biology: A LifeSci Search Executive Insight with Rob Carson

Explore our engaging discussion with Rob Carson, President, CEO, and Board Director of Ultivue, in this LifeSci Search Executive Insight. Rob reflects on his leadership journey, shaped by his father's influence, his approaches to fostering a positive work environment, and his perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing the spatial biology field. Gain valuable insights from Rob's experienced viewpoint on leadership and industry innovation.

, | May 22, 2024


Q: What was the most significant influence in your life that contributed to your current position?

A: Certainly a significant influence was (is) my dad. As I was growing up, he was a leader within his industry (electrical utility) and within my community and state. The fact that he “did things the right way” and served in both corporate and non-profit roles struck me.

Q: What is the #1 piece of advice you would have given yourself five years ago?

A: Buckle up! There have been many changes in my career, the businesses I’ve been a part of, and, of course, the world over that timeframe. A few years ago, I read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Lots of wisdom there. If I could go back five years, I might tell myself, “bump up your timetable for reading that book… and more books in general!”

Q: What is the most significant challenge you see life science tools companies, particularly spatial biology-focused ones, facing in the next three years?

A: At Ultivue, we refer to “Accelerated Impact” – moving from spatial biology for research (and development) to clinical utility at scale. This is a broad bridge that we, as a company and the industry, must cross.

Q: What is the most important thing in creating a positive work culture?

A: Purpose, principles and people are the three “Ps” we try to discuss. Attention to these makes the remaining ones (priorities, plan and performance) easier. Transparency is also essential.

Q: How do you think about retaining employees?

A: Supporting colleagues in doing more of what they’re really good at while also providing opportunities to stretch and try on new hats is key. So is a mindset of “owning the outcome”—making and striving to keep your commitment while having sufficient freedom in how you do so.

Q: How do you celebrate wins on your team and at your company?

A: Taking time to do this can be challenging—there’s always the “next thing.” However one chooses to celebrate (e.g., a team event), it’s important to acknowledge specific contributions by specific individuals… while also recognizing that it’s the “we” that makes us “work” (able to achieve the wins).

Q: Are you bullish or bearish about the next six months?

A: A six-month (or any sufficiently long) stretch is never binary—there are usually some lumps to take or hills to climb even as wins rack up. But our company has ambition, and we learn and improve as we chase it. That’s inherently bullish.

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