The PROOF Centre of Excellence team reflects on success in the context of work and life.

On any given day, you’ll find PROOF Centre staff and scientists scattered across the lower mainland, and busy working either at St. Paul’s Hospital, UBC, VGH or the Hornby St. office. But on a recent and typically cloudy October afternoon, PROOF team members in Vancouver converged upon Cavino to mingle and reconnect.

With the team gathered togther, PROOF Centre’s CEO Dr. Bruce McManus, and COO Janet Wilson-McManus talked about the journey of taking a project, like the blood test for heart failure rejection, from concept to clinic, and they invited others to share their stories of success.

Breanne Crouch shared a story about stepping out of her own comfort zone of working in transplant research to working in a new arena of research, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with a new population of patients. The program is underway with a successful start to patient enrollment.

Others in the PROOF team shared life successes, like relocating to a different country (Dr. George Mak), getting engaged to be married (Casey Shannon), and becoming a tenured faculty (Dr. Gaby Cohen Freue).

Is there room for failure in success?

“Success and failure are sometimes too goal-oriented,” reflected Dr. Raymond Ng, CIO, after the mingler. “Often it may make sense to use broader terms. Instead of ‘success’, we should also think about ‘satisfaction’. The two terms are not identical; sometimes having success does not mean satisfaction, and vice versa. Instead of ‘failure, we should also think about “regret”. Having failures does not mean that we have regret; and sometimes people build their success on others’ regret. My PROOF Centre experience is mainly tied to successes and satisfaction; and when failure occurred, there was no regret.”

Data mining analyst, Virginia Chen, agrees. “Whether we’re talking about biomarkers or life, we start with a goal in mind. But then we learn something new, and adjust our strategy.” For Chen, success means being able to re-evaluate direction with each new learning, without being tied to the original intended goal.

When the going gets tough, statistician Dr. Gaby Cohen Freue says that the journey to success requires passion, patience and persistence to get through the bumpy patches. Dr. McManus used the analogy of President Abraham Lincoln, who was rejected time and again during his political career before eventually becoming one of the most-revered American presidents in history.

PROOF eyes success (and satisfaction, with no regrets) as a team

With the heart failure program set to begin clinical validation, the COPD program in the midst of enrolling patients, and the announcement of a new collaboration to discover biomarkers of muscular dystrophy, it’s easy to forget that the road has been anything but smooth for the organization.

“There’s something special about being here, particularly in the St. Paul’s environment,” observed Roxanne Rousseau, who spends most of her time at VGH.

Perhaps the secret that will carry PROOF through the coming months and years is the feeling of belonging to a team that cares. As Janet Wilson-McManus says, “We’re a family here.”

How do you define success?