With her flair for math and science, Tamara St. Claire surprised no one by earning a PhD in chemistry at UC Davis in 1995 and subsequently directing research teams at Roche Diagnostics and Abbott Laboratories.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the lifelong science career she’d imagined for herself. “I kept getting pulled off the bench into technical marketing meetings and sales calls,” says St. Claire. “And I was good at it.”
So good, in fact, that she often wrote business plans for her employers—then felt frustrated that she lacked the credentials to put the plans into effect. Finally, in 2002, St. Claire decided to pursue her MBA.
Thirteen years later, the former chemist became chief innovation officer for Xerox Commercial Healthcare, a $2 billion arm of the global business- service company. Calling Xerox “the best-kept secret in healthcare,” St. Claire helps the company use its own technology to create external opportunities in a patient-centered, post-Affordable-Care-Act landscape and scouts partnerships and acquisitions. “My goals are about moving the needle within Xerox—having not only revenue impact but strategic impact,” says St. Claire. She has a keen interest in telehealth strategies and recently championed Xerox’s partnership with HealthSpot Inc. to install medical teleconferencing stations in pharmacies, corporations, emergency rooms, and more.
St. Claire’s latest post follows stints as managing director of healthcare provider solutions at Xerox, chief business officer at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), and general manager and VP of commercial operations at Oxonica.
“My colleagues think it’s funny that I’m a PhD chemist because they see me so solidly as a business person,” says St. Claire. She credits her Haas education with giving her career “context, vernacular, and credibility.” —AS
Chief Innovation Officer, Xerox Commercial Healthcare