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Meet Your Leaders

What It Takes To Be a Leader

  • February 5, 2024

The son of two small business owners, Brad Hansman, Vice President, Site Activation & Maintenance, was instilled with an entrepreneurial spirit. Growing up with strong examples of leadership fueled his desire to follow in his parents’ footsteps.

After graduating with a degree in accounting, Brad joined the finance world while preparing for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam. While many of his peers took a traditional route into finance – joining a public accounting firm before joining a specific industry – Brad took a reversed path. Starting in internal audit, Brad developed his skills before moving into the public accounting sphere once he passed the CPA exam.

After gaining experience in public accounting, Brad was eager to step back into an industry role and move away from the public space. Through industry networking, Brad met a recruiter who could help bring him closer to his goal: a finance leadership position. Requirements for Brad’s next role included a global, fast-growing company that had career upward mobility. A few short years later, Brad received a job description at a small, up-and-coming contract research company.  

Why Medpace?

“I had no clue what clinical research was, [but] they had an opening in their finance group,” Brad explains. Medpace was early in their growth journey when Brad first learned about them, and he was thrilled to join a company with offices popping up all over the world. Brad landed on the accounting team and after just two years, he accepted a manager role. However, it wasn’t the accounting experience that revolutionized his career outlook. It was the leadership opportunity and responsibility.

As the company grew, so did Brad. Soon, he had the opportunity to meet and later work with the Executive committee to assist in mapping out the company’s budget. After over three years of executive collaboration, Brad was offered a new leadership role. This time as a director. The only challenges Brad faced was the department he would be moving to – Site Payments & Contracts. With a finance background, Brad wasn’t initially confident in what this transition would mean for his career in the long run. Could he stay in the finance world while actively working on the outskirts?

Brad accepted the role after weighing the pros and cons. He was intrigued by its long-term trajectory and wanted to further develop foundations like critical thinking and efficiency. After settling into his new position as Director, Brad rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He had a lot to learn, and getting to know the ins and outs of the department helped him bring his clinical research knowledge up to speed. In this process, Brad was surprised to learn that his finance background helped to expedite the early stages of learning the ropes, but his ultimate motivation for the move were the opportunities that would come with stepping outside of his comfort zone. Following a series of promotions from Director to Sr. Director to Executive Director, Brad dons the title of Vice President. Here, he leads the Site Activation & Maintenance department. Under his leadership, teams comprised of clinical, regulatory, finance, and contracts experts across the globe support Medpace’s mission to accelerate the development of safe and effective medical therapeutics.

Do you have what it takes?

When he was in school, Brad had thought leadership meant titles and figureheads. Now, he views leadership as setting a good example. It’s somebody that’s a good listener, approachable. Brad’s natural transition into his roles gave him the confidence to delve into true leadership, one separate from titles in an email signature. He wants to ensure that he brings out the best in the people he leads, and his line managers are “pro” at mentoring and passing down motivation throughout the department. “So much of leadership is about others,” he shares. “And finding what motivates [people], [because] everyone is motivated slightly different.”

“In school we reinforce going from point A to point B at 100 miles an hour and getting there as fast as you can,” Brad explains. “And this would define success.” Brad reflects the changes he himself underwent throughout his career and now poses some suggestions on how young professionals may benefit from a change in mindset.

The path to success

Rather than joining a race to the top, Brad challenges those entering the workforce to be introspective. Looking back at his own entry level experiences, Brad has realized that a career is a marathon, not a sprint. Part of his introspection included taking stock of the elements of his roles he loved the most. Problem-solving, analyses, and numbers sat at the top of the list. Brad discovered that he thrives on the operations side. Taking his own advice led him to outgrow his initial dream of a finance leader. He thrives in his current role with opportunities to not only continue to grow in his career but also witness the growth of the people within his department.

As Brad looks to future leaders, he wants them to know that with leadership comes growth, and neither of which come easy. Stepping, leaping, and springing out of your comfort zone are the necessary steps aspiring leaders must take. “When you do that, you always end up impressing yourself,” Brad says. “It’s scary. It’s intimidating. We’re all afraid of failure.” However, there is no growth without change, and Brad encourages prospective leaders to challenge their fears. It just might land you in your dream role.

Medpace careers

Site Activation & maintenance