A Season for Giving That Lasts All Year

During the holidays and all year round, a gift

from the heart is the best gift of all.

We all feel it this time of year. As temperatures drop and snowflakes swirl, lights and festive decorations illuminate the long, dark nights, and names are diligently checked off seemingly endless shopping lists, we know that the holiday season is upon us. In spite of the stress that can accompany the holidays – the long lines, the gift wrapping, the social obligations – this time of year marks a widespread urge to give: to family, to friends, even to those we’ve never even met. We all feel it, this intangible, albeit very real, spirit of giving.
For many, the spirit of giving carries over into the workplace. When I look at companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device and blood and biologics industries, I am struck by what seems to be a collective tendency toward philanthropy and (at the risk of sounding cliché) a desire to make the world a better place. I can’t help but wonder if the people employed in these industries share some common trait that compels them to help others, both in their private lives and through what they do for a living. Although social responsibility is a year-round endeavor for many organizations, I thought it appropriate to take a moment during the holiday season to highlight one such company and its culture of giving.

Making a Difference, One Diagnostic Test at a Time

Myriad Genetics is a Salt Lake City-based company that has developed molecular diagnostic tests for all major diseases, most notably cancer, to determine patients’ genetic predisposition to develop a given disease, allowing them to take action to delay or fully prevent the disease’s onset. Since its founding in 1991, Myriad’s hereditary cancer tests have benefitted over 2 million patients. And while Myriad is a MasterControl customer, this is not the reason I chose to write about the company and feature it here. As you will see, Myriad’s outstanding work is more than enough reason to merit public attention: from its core products to its corporate social responsibility program, the company just can’t get enough of making a difference in the lives of others.

“It seems like everybody who works for Myriad is here for one reason: to save lives,” said Sundone Boutvyseth, a talent acquisition specialist at Myriad, in a recent interview. “Everybody has the same passion. It’s strong here, even at the executive level. It’s really amazing.”

This article is related to the Webpage: MasterControl Community Focus.
When Sundone isn’t screening applicants to fill vacant positions at the company’s growing Salt Lake City office, he serves as the head of Myriad’s Community Council, a group of 15 to 20 employees who volunteer their time to plan and hold year-round charity events to bring awareness to local nonprofit organizations. This year, the group along with other Myriad employees raised nearly $70,000 in donations to assist nonprofits such as the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Primary Children’s Medical Center, Neighborhood House, Pioneer Theatre Company, Needs Beyond Medicine, Susan G. Komen and Utah Food Bank, to name just a few.

For its end-of-year holiday project, Myriad worked with The Road Home where employees donated their time to staff the “Candy Cane Corner,” a holiday store for families in shelter and housing programs. The store gives parents the opportunity to choose gifts for their children from a selection of new clothing, toys and household items donated by members of the community and by companies like Myriad.

Sundone said he is inspired by the people he works with, stating that most are active in their communities, both at work and in their free time. He believes this contributes in large part to the open and team-oriented work environment at Myriad and ultimately, the results that employees are able to achieve together.

“The people who really enjoy what they’re doing are passionate about making a difference, in any way, shape or form,” Sundone said, echoing my initial hypothesis. “Everyone in this company and in this industry has the same outlook: changing lives and saving lives.”

Giving is a beautiful thing, whether it’s giving patients the gift of knowledge about their health, or the gift of hearing, or a heart’s life-sustaining beat, or alleviating the symptoms of painful and debilitating arthritis. Companies in the life sciences and other regulated industries are driven by the idea of making a difference. Their whole purpose is bringing life-saving and life-changing products to those who need them. That so many of these companies go above and beyond in an effort to help their communities is truly remarkable. Do people in these industries share a common trait – or gene, even – predisposing them to help others and give of themselves? A romantic holiday notion, perhaps, or maybe the subject of Myriad’s next genetic research project?

The holiday season tends to bring out the best in people, but for companies like Myriad, giving back is a year-round affair. We applaud Myriad in their philanthropic mission, a mission we share here at MasterControl. And we wish everyone happy holidays!

To learn more about Myriad and its corporate social responsibility program, visit www.myriad.com.

While Myriad participates in many community efforts throughout the year,
one of its biggest events is the Making Strides Walk to benefit
the American Cancer Society.

How does your company make a difference in its community? Let us know by sharing in the comments section below.