A Publication for West Coast Alumni and Friends
Finding the Right Moment
As vice president of sales and service at GeneMachines in San Carlos, Calif., Patricia Gray '98 (M.S.), '00 (MBA) is enmeshed in policy, new business development and strategic visioning for this leading-edge biotech company. But once upon a time, she was a 7-year-old taking apart a television set on the porch of her grandmother's house in Worcester.
"As it turned out, I couldn't put the set back together so that it would work," she recalls. "But Gram didn't mind. Life was much simpler then. She made us root beer floats and we sat in the summer afternoon and talked."
Today, Gray's thoughts often drift back to those times and what she learned about the things that really matter in life. "Once, I was driven by how I could make my impact on the world," she says. "I cared about my job title, about how I could get ahead as a mover and shaker. Now, I think I succeed on empathy and humanness as much as efficiency. I make more time for family, friends and community. Family steered me in that direction. It was time to regain that perspective and move toward a simpler life again."
Patty Gray dates her change in outlook to a particularly demanding period of her life. She had embarked on a new job in California while still managing a New York-based venture in which she had an ownership interest. But when her mother and father both became ill, she decided to return to Worcester to care for them. At the same time, she pursued two advanced degrees at WPI (a master of science in biomedical engineering, which she earned in 1998, and an MBA, which she received in 2000).
She went to classes at night and maintained her business responsibilities during the day. Ultimately, to save her mother's life, she donated one of her own kidneys in April 1999.
"The people at WPI understood what I needed to do and what I wanted to do," she says. "They were extra cooperative during those challenging five years. I will always be grateful to the university."
Gray began her career in 1990, after earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer. In 1999 she became product creation manager at Guidant Vascular Intervention in Santa Clara, where she remained until 2001, when she joined GeneMachines. In her current post she oversees worldwide sales and service. Previously, as vice president for research and development, she was responsible for the design, development and launch of new products for this maker of automated equipment and instrumentation for work in genomics.
Recalling the help she's received through the years, Gray gives back to the youth in her community as a mentor to two at-risk high school students in the Biotech Academy program at Andrew Hill High School in San Jose. She has taken the students to her workplace on Job Shadow Day, and on shopping and skating outings. "I work hard to be a strong, yet balanced, role model and friend to them."
For Gray, being a balanced role model means pursuing her own interests outside of work. Continuing a passion for dance that she developed growing up in Worcester, she enjoys ballroom dancing and performing in amateur musicals. She also plays on an ice hockey team, and paints.
Where once she was wrapped up in her career moves, Gray says she feels content on her present path, wherever it may lead. She senses that she will continue to find the right moment and that the right moment will continue to find email@example.com
Maintained by: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified: May 05, 2003, 14:44 EDT