Why should statisticians aim to become good leaders?
How do you invest in yourself to become a good leader?
How does perseverance change the path taken by a leader in the field of statistics?

Gary Sullivan and I team up together to discuss the importance of leadership among statisticians. Understanding the basic factors of leadership and how it makes an effective statistician is important for every professional in the field of statistics to master.

Statisticians do more than just collect data and analyze the information they have collected. In many ways, statisticians, being the first-hand handlers of the data, also find solutions to problems at a much earlier time compared to other specialists in specific fields. Hence, beyond just relaying the facts, statisticians are also expected to provide first-hand solutions that they think may be capable of resolving the issues they find critical as they go through the data they have collected.

This is where leadership comes in. In our discussion, Gary and I exchange thoughts, and experiences and learned lessons through the years and how they can be applied in actual situations that statisticians face at work.

Here are some of the important realizations that we gathered during our conversation:

  • Leaders never stop learning even from their subordinates
  • Leaders invest in themselves in sharpening their tools, their skills and exploring possibilities for growth
  • Leaders get along with change and move forward by adjusting to the demands surrounding their profession.
  • Leaders thrive in finding more solutions in the face of limitations and barriers and pursuing the goals they have set for themselves and their team.
  • Perseverance differentiates the pathway of great leaders from good leaders.  
  • Clarity of purpose redefines the way a leader establishes his plan and how he pursues to reach his goals even when situations change.

Learn more about leadership that will help you in becoming an effective statistician. Listen to this episode and share this with your friends and colleagues!

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Gary Sullivan, PhD

Leadership Expert

He currently consults as a Leadership Specialist and Statistical Scientist for my company Espirer Consulting since March, 2018. Before this, I was the Senior Director for Non-Clinical Statistics at Eli Lilly and Company, where I worked for 28 years. I also worked as a technical statistician in Non-Clinical Statistics for the first half of my career at Eli Lilly. He led the development and instruction of the first leadership course at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in 2014.. I’ve provided leadership training to over 300 professionals in statistics and other fields, both at Eli Lilly and within the ASA. In addition, I’ve authored several articles and a book chapter on leadership for statisticians. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from the University of Pittsburgh, and both a Master’s and Doctorate in Statistics from Iowa State University. ​


  • BSc Hons Maths and Statistics, University of Edinburgh
  • 30+ years in the Pharma Industry as a statistician, with increasing responsibility at a range of Pharma companies and CROs in the UK and the US
  • Joined Roche in 2007 from GSK
  • Pharma Development Site Head (UK) 2016-2021
  • In 2021 my role in Biostatistics was as a Senior Director, globally responsible for Immunology, Infectious Disease and Ophthalmology, leading a team of ~30 statisticians working on many molecules such as Actemra,Rituxan and Gazyva, Tamiflu and Xofluza, Lucentis and Faricimab and Etrolizumab, as well as serving as the Biometrics representative to the I2O Portfolio and Decision Review Committee. 


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I want to help the community of statisticians, data scientists, programmers and other quantitative scientists to be more influential, innovative, and effective. I believe that as a community we can help our research, our regulatory and payer systems, and ultimately physicians and patients take better decisions based on better evidence.

I work to achieve a future in which everyone can access the right evidence in the right format at the right time to make sound decisions.

When my kids are sick, I want to have good evidence to discuss with the physician about the different therapy choices.

When my mother is sick, I want her to understand the evidence and being able to understand it.

When I get sick, I want to find evidence that I can trust and that helps me to have meaningful discussions with my healthcare professionals.

I want to live in a world, where the media reports correctly about medical evidence and in which society distinguishes between fake evidence and real evidence.

Let’s work together to achieve this.