With a passion for problem solving and a background in analytical chemistry, Matt Widman, vice president, patient services, now leads a team that serves as the touchpoint to the patient at AbbVie. Widman carries a unique empathy for the patient and their families because of his own personal loss, and that fuels him to ensure patients diagnosed with some of the most challenging conditions feel empowered and can reach their full treatment potential.
You started your professional career as a bench scientist – a very different area than where you are today. Why did you want to be a chemist?
I love solving problems, and it all resonated with me during my first high school chemistry class. I am analytical. I like math. I like science. I like numbers. Chemistry to me was having the ability to solve very large, complex issues and synthesizing them down to a way you can understand. Once I went down that road, I never looked back.
Did you have any role models in science or medicine to lean on as you pursued a chemistry degree and career?
It was a path I paved for myself. I was the first in my family to go to college. It was uncharted territory because there was a lot of responsibility for me to achieve success. While my friends and family couldn’t guide me specifically on this career path, what I’ve always taken away from them is how to treat others. I think when you work hard and do what’s right for others and for yourself, you’ll find a recipe for success.
Your career headed into a new direction when you left R&D as a chemist and pursued your MBA. What was that transition like?
When I went from an analytical chemist to a research chemist, I really enjoyed being more involved in the strategy, innovation and design of new experiments compared to repetitive sequence experiments on the bench. I made a choice to go to business school so that I could expand my knowledge and skills. After getting my MBA, I took on new roles in the area of strategic marketing, commercial development, program management and operations. I also spent time in a global marketing role which gave me a better understanding of how we work around the world to bring our innovative medicines to patients. Here, I experienced working with many different cultures, operating models, health systems, and strategies. The one thing that was similar was the commitment to our patients and making a remarkable impact on their lives.