Grant Elmquist

Mayo Clinic Labs @Work

Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.


What is your current role, and how long have you been in it?

I am a business partnership executive for Mayo Clinic BioPharma Diagnostics. It’s a fairly new role, and our group had a hand in coining it when it was originally under development. It’s been nearly three years in this role for me at this point, eight years at Mayo Clinic overall. Before this, I worked in Mayo Clinic Labs’ Hematology/Oncology space.

Grant Elmquist


What does your day-to-day work involve?

BioPharma Diagnostics is a new area, and we face some challenges being, basically, a startup company under the umbrella of a 150-year-old organization, but a startup with the Mayo name makes all the difference. Day to day, I partner with industry — biopharma, biotech, clinical research organizations, and others — and find ways for us to be strategic in our interactions with them in hopes of developing long-term relationships. We want them to come to us with their projects, regardless of what stage they are in, to explore how we can work together. I try to get a better grasp of what their needs are and help them to better understand the unique capabilities Mayo Clinic has that can address those needs, with the help of our extraordinary operations team.

I’m in meetings with clients and internal stakeholders for much of my day. What those meetings involve, though, varies widely and often requires the ability to pivot quickly. I may think I’m going to a meeting with one or two people, and a client brings a large group because they are so interested in talking to Mayo Clinic, so I have to navigate that. It’s often my job to learn what a client wants, their needs and timeline, and gain an understanding of the scope and scale of a potential project, so we can craft a strategic partnership. It’s an ongoing process that’s still new for all involved, so we continue to develop the role as we go.


In what way does the work you do benefit providers and patients?

Our end goal is enhancing patient care. We are definitely mission-aligned, bridging all three of Mayo Clinic’s shields: practice, research, and education. From a provider’s perspective, we’re often working with cutting-edge technology and testing, and we’re involved with novel research that allows providers to see emerging tools that they’ll be able to use with patients in the future or align with their areas of interest. Projects we work on often enroll patients who are searching for answers, relief, and hope, just like patients who visit the Mayo Clinic searching for answers.


Is there anything about your role that people might find surprising or unexpected?

People might be surprised by the wide range of work we’re doing in BioPharma Diagnostics. We work across research and science technology and a host of disease states, and the focus changes day to day and client to client. We’re constantly learning as we’re searching for solutions, working with Mayo Clinic consultants both in the laboratory and in the clinical departments. We span the gamut of specialities and expertise throughout Mayo Clinic, as we work with logistics, legal, and regulatory/quality experts, other internal divisions among others.


What part of your job do you find the most challenging?

My role is a bit ambiguous. We’re still figuring things out as we go, building the plane as we’re flying it, but ultimately, we are in development. The challenge is the constant change and pivoting based on projects, disease states, technology, special requests, and timelines. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires strong communication, internally and externally, as well as the ability to always be flexible.


What gives you meaning and purpose in your work?

I take the responsibility and privilege of representing Mayo Clinic very seriously. Many of the industry people I work with have little or no experience working directly with Mayo Clinic. Being able to share our capabilities, our unique culture, and what makes our organization so special is an honor. Getting up every day and having the opportunity to take Mayo Clinic to the rest of the world is an awesome responsibility, and it’s fun. I am humbled to be able to share Mayo Clinic with others.

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Tracy Will

Tracy Will is a senior marketing specialist at Mayo Clinic Laboratories where she covers innovation, specialty testing, and advances in laboratory medicine. Tracy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2016.