Meet the Expert: Stuart Lourie, Senior Director of Marketing, Teva Canada Innovation

Stuart Lourie, who leads the sales and marketing of Teva’s innovative medicines and biosimilars, has been in the pharmaceutical business for 30 years—but he’s as energized as the day he began. What’s his secret? Here, he shares how a mixture of gratitude and curiosity allows him to find motivation around every corner.

I often reflect on my first job out of university. After graduating from U of T’s Victoria College with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree, I took a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative with a small company called Hoechst (which eventually became Sanofi). I felt how lucky I was to be starting out in this industry. And I especially remember my first sales call: how thrilled I was for the opportunity, how much I cared and how nervous I was. Keeping that sensation of newness alive is one thing that keeps me really energized.

I still get a charge out of letting healthcare professionals and their patients know about new, life-changing medicines. In my first job, I was very fortunate to be exposed to the full gamut at the start: prescription medicines, hospital sales, retail and over-the-counter sales, generic sales—all across multiple therapeutic areas that introduced me to the widest range of experiences in our industry. In one case, we launched a breakthrough class of medications that treat heart attacks, and I had to go into hospitals and talk to cardiologists and train nurses on how to administer this life-saving medication and support its integration into their hospitals. This particular class of medications reduced mortality by a third: a massive bending of the curve.

The experience was breathtaking, even though I was a small cog in that process—I didn’t discover the compound, I wasn’t the product manager, I wasn’t the scientist coming up with these incredible results. But I got to be the person to go into hospitals and say, “Hey, I think this is really important. Can I talk to somebody about this?” In the next year, I’m looking forward to introducing several exciting launches that can make an even greater difference in the lives of the nearly 200 million people around the world who use Teva’s medicines. I still feel so privileged to be working in healthcare.

At Teva, I find the high pace of change motivating. We’re constantly pivoting and challenging ourselves, and it’s very invigorating. Of course, it helps when you work with people who are all in, who are fully committed to the work they do—as so many of my colleagues are. I get inspired by watching people push themselves, do a little bit extra, care so deeply, be so conscientious. It’s a real high-performance culture, and that’s both rewarding and really fun.

Teva is also an ideal workplace for curious minds. So many people at Teva are curious and really wanting to find out how we can serve our healthcare professionals and patients a little bit better. Being curious means asking oneself questions that require a little bit extra; it means asking “Why?” and pulling on the threads of that. You investigate and you find some insights—you find an “aha”—and that is so gratifying. It’s what got Archimedes to jump out of the bathtub shouting “Eureka!” It doesn’t feel like work if one is following something that one is curious about. Curiosity makes work and fun pretty interchangeable.

To me, family is the most important thing in the world. Mine includes my wife and two sons and our Labrador, Holly. I also enjoy spending time reading and on fitness as a way to enhance both physical and mental health. It’s not clear to me what gets the most benefit from fitness, the body or the brain, to manage energy and maintain resiliency. I’m grateful that Teva nurtures this side of its employees’ lives as well. In my 30 years in this industry, I have not found a culture that gives as much space to work-life balance (even at the most hectic times) as Teva, which values performance as well as making our families proud.

To someone just starting out in this industry, I’d pass on what’s worked for me. Be curious, especially about what makes the difference with customers. Do a little extra. Work hard. Have fun. And remind yourself every day what a privilege it is to work in the healthcare industry.