ELITE Mentor Thomas P. McDonnell of Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Thomas P. McDonnell

Vice President, Product Strategy Lead Neuroscience Business Unit US

Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Instilling Passion, Teamwork and Fun

Building a diverse and talented team of great marketing professionals for the Neuroscience Division at Shire is something Thomas McDonnell believes to be his greatest achievement. “My approach: Learn about people’s goals and motivations, maintain regular contact with them and have conversations that build trust between us,” Tom explains. “Remember, this is also an opportunity—a two-way street for learning. A mentor can learn from the mentee as well.”

A good mentor, Tom says, should not only be a great listener but someone who also cares deeply about individuals and their progression. They should also appreciate diverse backgrounds and understand that everyone does things differently. But even though Tom encourages people to develop a vision for themselves—he also teaches them to be passionate about the team they’re on. And most importantly, he tries to instill this idea: “Have fun at what you do.”

The devotion he feels toward his team members is undeniable—and quite possibly returned in kind. “Despite a multitude of responsibilities, Tom is always accessible to anyone who seeks him out for help,” explains one of his employees. “He has an open-door policy. Even when extremely busy, he always found time to talk with me.”

“He is extraordinarily committed to his mentees,” another employee adds, “not only in the time that he devotes to them, but also in his quality of attention—he is deeply present and focused during our interactions.”

But it’s Tom’s giving approach to life that simply amazes his team.

“I feel his true gift as a mentor is serving as a role model for how to live life,” yet another member of his team added. “He always has a Zen-like balance about him. Between endless meetings, his lunch-time jog and taking frequent calls from his wife and kids, Tom always finds time to give to people on his team.”


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