Search Completion Announcement – Jaguar Health

Search Completion Announcement – Jaguar Health

Melissa A. Yeager, J.D.
SVP Regulatory Affairs and Quality
Jaguar Health
Melissa A. Yeager, J.D.
Melissa joins Jaguar Health with 20 years of experience developing biopharmaceuticals. Companies she has lead regulatory affairs are: Alder Pharmaceuticals, Breath Therapeutics, Gilead, and Corus.
Melissa brings strategic thinking, team building and a track record of product approvals to the Jaguar Health portfolio.
Welcome to The Jaguar Health team, Melissa!
Jaguar Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAGX) is a commercial stage pharmaceuticals company focused on developing novel, sustainably derived gastrointestinal products on a global basis. Their wholly-owned subsidiary, Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., focuses on developing and commercializing proprietary human gastrointestinal pharmaceuticals for the global marketplace from plants used traditionally in rainforest areas. Their Mytesi® (crofelemer) product is approved by the U.S. FDA for the symptomatic relief of noninfectious diarrhea in adults with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy.  
Learn more at www.jaguar.health


Building Rapid Trust: Assess & Verify

Building Rapid Trust: Assess & Verify

When we are interviewing people to join our clients’ teams we are closely looking into what the person’s work history. We explore what kind of character traits this person possesses and how the person communicates trust. We listen to their stories about their accomplishments and impact on the companies they have worked with. We examine the candidate’s unique capabilities, how they think and solve problems. The underlying interview theme is building trust, and understanding who this candidate truly is and what they are capable of bringing to your organization. We are looking for alignment with you, your team, and your goals.

As recruiters, we look for several common attributes in candidates we know we can trust.


  1. Does this candidate communicate transparency, competence, and credibility?
  2. How does this person demonstrate leadership? Do I believe that this person is capable of developing followership (the ability to get others to follow you)?
  3. How does this person show compassion and respect for others?
  4. Does this person give concrete examples of how they solved problems? Is their thinking sound?
  5. Does this person explain what they learned when things did not turn out as intended?
  6. Do they take personal responsibility for results?
  7. Does this person communicate openly and share a little about who they are outside of work?


Recruiters can be very helpful in the verification part of your process. We have looked at hundreds if not thousands of candidates just like the one you are looking for. We know how to calibrate talent, and we know who these people are and what their strengths are, we can surmise if the fit will be good or not. We know who is difficult to work with, and who has the capabilities, timing and drive to advance your company.

If you are not using a recruiter, you will need to figure this out by speaking with references or others that have worked with the candidate. If the person is working, you will need to be discreet, and it would be better for the candidate if you called someone who worked with them at a previous employer, and not their current one.

What is it that you want to verify? You want the facts. Here are questions to help you determine the truth:

  1. What did this person lead and accomplish?
  2. Was this person able to develop and execute a strategy that led to a successful outcome? How did they accomplish this?
  3. If the outcome was not successful, then was it the result of something this person did or a market/regulatory/finance/reimbursement situation, or was it something they oversaw?
  4. Does this person build bridges and relationships, demonstrate respect and, stay optimistic and solution-oriented

Trust is the most critical factor in leadership skills. Trust is also essential for earning the confidence of others and creating followership.

While we are temporarily have lost the ability to meet in person, and we may choose to keep video interviews as a strategy for the future. It is important to know how to verify the trustworthiness of a candidate and to learn what you need to know about people and make hiring decisions that add value to your organization. This is true regardless of in-person or video interviews – you will need to verify what you find out.

We hope this three part series was helpful to you and we look forward to hearing from you soon. Stay well.

Virtual Trust: Part Two

Virtual Trust: Part Two

How Can I Demonstrate Trust in a Virtual World?

We have been living and adapting to very few (or zero) in-person meetings and interviews. Meeting online in a video room can be more productive for people who already are familiar with each other, and have experience working together. However, for people unfamiliar to you, like a new hire, or a candidate, how do you demonstrate that you and your team are trustworthy?

Zoom/MSTeams/Google Meet are all two-dimensional platforms, and people can seem flat when viewed on the screen, it is impossible to feel or experience them as you would if you were in person. What is lost is the very human ability to read people’s subtle cues and body language – you simply cannot sense how people are reacting. It causes us all, as humans, to feel disconnected and emotionally flat. It also requires us to work harder to know who they really are and what you viscerally feel and what they are like when near. You have no idea if this strange new person will energize your team or deplete it. The candidate also has no idea if you are a great leader, or if your team is truly collaborative or combative, or if the subordinates are productive.

Here is what you can do to be certain that you are building trust with the people who are unfamiliar with you and your team.

1. Be impeccable with your word.

My father told me that I was only as good as my word. Today, people are searching for reasons to build connections, and relationships, they want to know you will follow through on what you commit to. If you say you will, you do.

In an interview, this can be conveyed as a story. For example, “our mission is to build a device with great predictive capabilities to “save millions of lives.” You explain exactly how your product does just that, and the journey the team took to get from where you started to where you are today. Step by step, how you overcame challenges, and how you encouraged the team when they needed it, and course-corrected when that was required. Share what you learned and how the team grew together, and how you reached your common goals. Consistency of doing what you say you will do will get you a long way in building trust. Telling a true story compellingly conveys trust.

2. Be Prompt and Be Prepared

Trust is an emotion and a belief that others can rely on you. Demonstrating reliability by being on time is especially important now that you can no longer blame traffic! Being on time shows the other person that you value their time and can be counted on. This also applies to sticking to the time allotted for a meeting – do not go over.

Being prepared – do your homework on the candidate, read the CV, and have questions, anticipate what questions they are going to have about the company, the team, your vision mission, and values. Be curious about them, showing you care about who the person is will impel you closer to someone and build strong bonds. That is what you are trying to accomplish.

3. Listen well

Be sure to convey that you comprehend what the other person is saying. An easy way to do this is to paraphrase or summarize what you heard. This allows the other person to clarify and trust you to be a seeker of true information and not base conclusions on assumptions. You truly want to hear what the person has to say. This significantly reduces bias and builds trust.

You want to listen for genuine behavior for people who are whole and real are who you are looking to add to your team. Your job is to show them how whole and real you are and convey your vision for the future.

Be sure you extend the courtesy of listening to understand and show people you care. Speak and then listen, be sure to make room for the pause, allow the other person to continue to speak, especially if they feel subordinate to you in any way. Be gracious.

4. Be Welcoming

Treat your video conference guests like you would if you invited someone into your office or living room. The more comfortable and relaxed you make them feel, the more likely you are demonstrating your trustworthiness.

Be cognizant of what your viewers are seeing as your background. If you have a false background (or photo for a background), be sure to use a green screen or you will become bits and bytes every time you move. This is very distracting, and you want someone to know that you care about their experience enough to handle the little things.

Practice how you appear on video – be sure your appearance is not just a talking head with eyeballs, but more of head and shoulders like you would if you were sitting in the same room. You want someone to think that you are trustworthy, credible, and capable of leading.

5. Limit Distractions

Be sure you dress your part. If your company dress code is corporate casual, wear that. If you are in an executive-level role and the attire is more formal, wear a jacket and tie.

Remove distractions: Tell your family you have an important call to make and unless it is a dire emergency you are not to be disturbed. The family is also not welcome to walk around behind you waving peace signs either! Put your pets in another room.

Your goal is to demonstrate that you are trustworthy, putting the other person at ease and instill the belief (in the candidate) that you and your current team can be counted on to do what they say they will do. You are conveying that without an in-person connection and benefit of human to human contact that we have relied on to measure trust.

I welcome your insight and experiences – please write your thoughts and send to me at laura@raynaksearch.com.

Virtual Trust: Part One

Virtual Trust: Part One

How do you know you can trust the candidate without meeting them in person?


This  is  the  first  in  a  three  part  series  of  blogs  written  as  a  tool  for  you  to  use  during  this  pandemic  and  beyond.  This  tool  will  help  you  identify  trustworthy candidates  that  you  are  unable  to  meet  in person. The purpose  is  to  reduce  your  anxiety  about  making  a good  choice.  While  there  are  no  perfect  candidates there  are  plenty  of  strong  honest  performers.


Lets first examine what trust is and isn’t. Trust is an attribute, a feeling, and is essential to all successful relationships. Think back to a time when someone  you  know  violated  your trust,  and  how  hard  it  was  for  you  to  trust  them  again,  if  at  all. Trust  is defined by Websters as the “Firm belief in the reliability, trust, ability or strength of someone or something.”  Trust  is  also  considered  an  emotional state, and not solely an expectation of someone’s capability.  Trust  is  an  intangible  asset  and  the  glue  of lasting  relationships.  Likely  the  most  difficult  truth  about  trust  is  that  it  is  an  abstract  mental  attitude toward  a  proposition  that  someone  is  dependable  ( a perception  which is hard to control or manage).  So  if  trust  is  nebulous  and  a  bit  ethereal  in  substance,  how can  you  know  and  measure  trust  in  someone  you  do not  know  and  have  only  experienced  via  video chat  or by  phone?


It  is  critical  to  your  company’s  success  that  you  bring in  people  who  are  trustworthy  and  can  work  well  with others. This  will ensure  the  highest  levels  of productivity and  success  for  you.  After  all,  you  cannot  get  as  far as  you  want  without  great  people  on  the  team.


Behavioral  interviewing  is  commonly  applied  to  address trust  in  a  candidate  –  but  what  happens  when  you  are  not  in  the  same  room  and  are  unable  to  read  the silent  cues?  What  you  are  looking  for  in  a  candidate is  the  assurance  that  the  candidate  can  and  will  do what  they  promise.  Here  is  a  list  of  questions  to explore  that  can  help  you  assess  the  trustworthiness of  a  candidate.  It  is  very  important  to  verify  their responses.  One  way  is  to  verify  their  answers  with their references if the candidate has indeed met or exceeded  expectations  and  goals  in  past  roles.


  • Has the candidate met or exceeded expectations and goals  in  past  roles?
  • Does  the  candidate  have  a  history  of  following  through  on  verbal  and  written  commitments?
  • Do you feel good about this person as a person?
  • Why do you feel good about this person?
  • Does this person have a history of creating strong positive  relationship?
  • Is  the  candidate  paying  attention  to  what  you  are asking, are they comprehending, are they asking clarifying questions  or  repeating  your  question  to  make  sure they  understand?
  • Is the candidate paying attention to what is important to you  and  what  you  want  to  accomplish?
As  you  can  see  you  are  looking  for  depth  of  character  and  ability  to  deliver  on  what  you  need  to have  accomplished,  work  well  within  your  team,  and express solid communication skills. Listening and clarifying are  very  important  to  show  you  that  they  have  the desire  to  deliver,  and  are  likely  to  be  trustworthy.


A good recruiter can help you through this process, and knows many candidates through the years, and can leverage their network to find you the right people, who you can trust.
Selecting the Right CEO  for Your Company

Selecting the Right CEO for Your Company

Large  companies  are  able  to  craft  robust  succession plans, while  the  middle  market  and  smaller  companies  often have difficulty finding and retaining successors. CEOs impact the company’s strategy, execution and ultimately  business  and  financial performance.


Finding the right CEO is the Board of Directors’ most important  task.  From  the  board  perspective,  no  one  on  the  outside  could  understand  completely  all  of  the nuances  of  your business,  culture  and  your company’s situation  within  the  industry  better  than  an  insider.  External candidates  will  always  need time  to  adjust  and  require  guidance  and  support  of  the  board  to succeed.


So just how do you find the right CEO? 


First:  In  order  to  get  what  you  want,  you  have  to know  what  you  want.   What  are  your objectives?   What is working and what is not working with your current situation?  What criteria  are  you  going  to  measure  each candidate  against? How  will  you  measure success  once you  hire  the  person?


Second: It is always a good idea to explore multiple scenarios  and  plan  for  contingencies.  It  may  take  a little  bit  longer  than  you  would  like  to  find  the  right person.  Do  you  have  a  member  of  the  board  of directors step in temporarily? Do you hire an interim executive?  Who  within  the company  could  take on some  of  the  responsibility?


Third:  Assign  a  board member  to  oversee  the  search, and  drive  for  results.  This  person  needs  to  make finding  the  right  CEO  their  highest priority.  Often  it  is best  if  this  is  not  assigned  to  the Chairman,  but  to another  board member.  This person  works  to  define  the expectations and goals for the position, works with the executive search professional to develop a position description,  performs  the  initial interviews,  and  helps build  consensus  among  the  board members,  and assists  in  creating  a  smooth  recruiting  and  hiring process,  which  is  important  to  attract  quality  talent.


Fourth:  Look  for  qualities  that  are  universal  to  high-level  performers.  Some  of  the  things  you  want  to  look for  are:
  • Integrity
  • Track  record  of  demonstrated  Good Judgment
  • Capable (experience with a similar situation/ industry) and Capacity Builder
  • High Energy  and  High Endurance
  • Visionary  and  Strategic  Leader
  • Inspiring,  Courageous  and  Compassionate
  • History of Building Productive Relationships with colleagues, partners, and other stakeholders
  • Embraces Change  and  Leads through Change


Fifth: Engage  an  executive search firm,  and  work  with the  firm  to:
  • Manage  and  drive  the  process.
  • Build  consensus  among  board  members.
  • Remain objective about the hire. We know how chemistry can result in a poor choice and will help you  avoid  deciding  on  pure  chemistry.
  • Reach  out  to  people  outside  of  your network.  You  will  see  more  and  possibly  better talent.
  • Create  a  decision partner.  This  is  someone  who has  worked  with  many  companies  at  these decision points  and  who understands the  pressures you  are  under.  Someone  you  can  trust  to  help you  come  to  the  right decision.
  • Create a choice. Ultimately, you want to choose between  2  or  3  very appropriate candidates,  each  of  whom  could  do  the  job.  The  only decision  then  becomes,  “Who  is  the  very best  for  us?”
  • Be a negotiation partner. Often recruiters can help you  build trust  with  the  chosen candidate  during the negotiation process by becoming an interested negotiator, and help keep emotions to a minimum during  the  often  tricky  offer  process.


Solid CEO’s are hard to find.  The process  is  sometimes difficult  to  manage  without  the  assistance  of  a  search professional.  A good search professional will keep the process  moving  quickly  to  a solution,  build consensus, and  minimize  pure  emotional  decision  making.   In  most  cases,  working  with  a  search professional provides  you  with  a pool of  higher quality  candidates from which to choose.  A  good  search  professional  will  take  most  of  the  heavy  lifting  out  of  finding  and  securing  the  Right  CEO.
How Your Brand Impacts Attracting Senior Executives

How Your Brand Impacts Attracting Senior Executives

You  as  a brand,  is  a  popular  concept.  It  seems  that people  are  embracing  this  tenet  and  communicating their brand in their LinkedIn profiles, Twitter handles, resumes,  and  other  social  media  profiles.  How does this  apply  to  the  selection  and  hiring  of  top C-Suite talent?


One  way  to  look  at  this  is  to  identify  the  employers the  person  has  worked  with  before  and  what  their brand  stands  for.  How  does  your  company  brand  rank against  this candidate’s  previous  employers?  What  do those  brands  and  your brand  stand  for?  What  is  this candidate’s  personal  brand  communicating?  This  is  very important when bringing on someone unfamiliar – someone  you,  your  board  of  directors,  or  your  team has  not  worked  with  at  a prior company.  Because  you do  not  have  the  first-hand  experience,  you  will  rely  on the  brands  the  candidate  has  worked  with  to  tell  a story  about  the  candidate.


For  example,  someone  who  has  worked  for  a top-five industry leader (Merck, Goldman Sachs, Edwards, Illumina,  Johnson & Johnson)  or  who  graduated  from  a top  university  is  going  to  have  a  higher  standard  of performance,  a  feeling  of  comfort  when  working  with other people from similar companies and educational backgrounds. Each of these companies and academic institutions  have  a  distinct  brand  and  culture  that  is derived  from  the  brand.  How  does  work  get  done?  How  are  processes,  thinking,  and  behaviors  influenced by these brands? Expectations for results will also be higher, especially if  these individuals  were  top performers at  these  companies  and  academic  institutions.


If  your company  is  viewed  as a top-performing company, or a “hot and up and coming company” attracting a candidate  from  a  top school  or  other  top  brands  will  be easier.  You  are  one  step  ahead  in  attracting  good talent.  If  your  target  candidate  is  not  similarly  ranked as  you  are  (i.e.  either  one  of  you  is  significantly better)  then  you  need  to  answer  questions,  such  as:
  • Why are you interested in them, or why are they interested in you?
  • Does this candidate bring a special set of skills, and are they ranked in the top 20% of performers in a similar role?
  • Why would this candidate be interested in your company?
  • What is it that they will gain by joining you?
  • How will candidate compensation be affected by brand comparisons?
  • Will  my  company  be  willing  to  stretch  to  acquire a  prestigious  candidate  or  will  the  candidate  be lucky  to  join  my  company?


If you understand your position with respect to each candidate,  and  proactively  adjust  your  approach,  you will  be  both  more  efficient  in  your  hiring  process  and candidate  target  selection. The  most  effective  way  to identify  your  “why”  is  to  know  your  company values and  mission,  which  naturally  reflects  the  brand  and focus of your business. For instance, “Our company develops technology to address unmet neurological disorders  that  affect  over 10%  of the world’s population.”


The  brand  conveys  your  “How”  including  how  you  execute and  the  standards you adhere  to;  and  how people communicate within your organization. This creates  impressions  feelings,  and  it  is  how  you  will be remembered. It can also help you identify fit.  Brand  speaks  to  the  level  of  quality,  and  standards (i.e. Walmart vs Nieman Marcus).


In summary – knowing your brand and knowing your candidate’s brand (and employment history / brands) will help you identify if the candidate is up to your standards, or whether  your company  is  to  their standards.  This  is  a great  filter  and  will  help  save  you  time  and  effort in the recruiting process.


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