Site Head and Chief Operating Officer, Lilly Gateway Labs, Eli Lilly
It is often said that it’s not what happens to us but how we react to it that matters. For Julie Gilmore the loss of both her parents and other close family members acted as a catalyst for a career—and life—dedicated to helping treat and cure disease. “What motivates me every day is helping people and the best way that I have found to do that is in making scientific contributions.”
Julie embarked on a path in global drug development and life sciences when she completed her Doctorate in Membrane Biophysics from Purdue University and her Postdoctoral Fellowship in Drug Transport from Indiana University School of Medicine.
Shortly thereafter, Julie joined Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company based out of the Midwest where she has proven to be a rare and valuable asset; an employee who has devoted their entire career to one company.
During her 22 years at Lilly, Julie has held several leadership and scientific positions across research and drug development, including Head of Information Sciences for Lilly Europe, Global Head of Scientific Communications, and Head of Portfolio Management for the Neurodegeneration and Pain Early Phase Portfolio.
“I’ve really benefited from a diverse set of jobs in the 22 years I’ve been with Lilly. I’ve done different leadership stints in everything from scientific communications to project management in different therapeutic areas and now I’m in San Francisco.”
Julie moved to the Bay Area to become the Site Head and Chief Operating Officer for Lilly Gateway Labs, a shared innovation lab unveiled in December 2019, designed to speed the discovery of innovative medicines through collaboration with local biotech companies. “Biotech companies rent lab space, workstations, and offices and I engage with them on their scientific programs and innovations”.
Julie points to her recent transition within the Lilly family as an “intelligent and calculated risk” she probably wouldn’t have taken on in the past. “With every passing year I become less afraid and increasingly bold. I moved to a new city and am starting something that we’ve never done before.” Julie adds this golden nugget of wisdom, “If a new job doesn’t scare you, it’s probably not worth taking it. It won’t develop you. It won’t stretch you.”
Julie considers herself privileged to have had great mentors and sponsors at Lilly. “There’s not a lot of women in this field but I was lucky that one of my first bosses, Dr. Aarti Shah, saw me through the last twenty-two years. She was an exceptional leader and became a great friend.” The impact of this relationship inspired Julie to take on the role of mentor herself. Today, Julie serves as a mentor and advisor to several university graduate school programs including UC San Francisco.
We couldn’t let Julie go without getting her to divulge the grounding principles she lives by. “If you ever have an opportunity for more education, take it. If you ever have an opportunity to travel somewhere you’ve never been, go. If you ever have an opportunity where you can help someone, do it.”