Published: October 29, 2019
Q&A With Chris Antaris
Chris Antaris is the Associate Director, Operations and Data Analytics within the Global Indirect Procurement Group at Apotex.The Global Indirect Procurement team also includes the Category Management and Supplier Relationship Management groups. Together, they work toward Apotex’s mission by optimizing the value of every dollar spent. In turn, this optimization provides Apotex the opportunity to reinvest in innovation which supports our mission of innovating for patient affordability.
As an Apotex employee for 12 years, we asked Chris about his experiences and what he looks for in potential candidates.
Why Apotex, and what inspired you to stay for 12 years?
After I graduated from York University with a degree in Molecular Biology and Chemistry, Apotex was a household name in pharmaceuticals and a Canadian-owned company. With my scientific background and innate desire to help others, moving into the pharmaceutical industry was just a natural fit. Once I got here, I never looked back. What continually inspires me is how we work together as an organization to help millions of patients worldwide by providing affordable and accessible medicines. It’s fulfilling to not only have a part in this but also see our mission come to life every day.
The people are another reason why I stayed. You’ll often hear that the people at work can be like your second family, and it’s true at Apotex. When I made the decision to pursue an MBA, from the Rotman School of Management, I knew it would be challenging to balance school and work. My Apotex family was supportive, engaging, and motivated me to succeed. As a result, I was promoted to progressively senior roles and was able to make a larger impact towards our mission.The people here are truly great and have played a positive role in my 12-year tenure with Apotex.
It sounds like you’ve had quite a few standout moments over the last 12 years.
I have had many standout moments during my career at Apotex, but I would like to speak of a time which was distinctly memorable, and impactful on both my career and personal life. During my tenure in R&D I was given the huge opportunity to work with Dr. Barry Sherman, founder of Apotex.
After working with Barry, I quickly came to know how much of an incredible individual he was. He was kind, humble, and a visionary. He was always willing to take time out of his day to chat about anything that was on my mind, especially business, physics, or chemistry. He was very supportive of my career ambitions and encouraged it. I learned a great deal from Barry, but perhaps the most important was when he told me that as a generic pharmaceutical company we had an obligation to ensure affordable medicines were available to everybody, not just those who can afford it. Those words were truly inspiring and have resonated with me as one of my most memorable moments at Apotex, as it embodies our mission and commitment to our patients.
What do you enjoy most about coming to work at Apotex each day?
There are two major things: the people and the opportunities I have been given.
Apotex has a diverse workforce, made up of some of the greatest people and minds. Each day, I am able to work cross-functionally and collaboratively with colleagues to tackle some of the challenges facing our industry. We also connect on a personal level through coffee chats and lunches to better understand each other and strengthen the rapport among us.
Additionally, every day I come into Apotex feeling energized, engaged and motivated because of the opportunities I have been afforded throughout my career.
Most recently, I was given the opportunity to develop the Operations and Data Analytics team from scratch. I really enjoyed the challenge of building a high-performing team, it’s been a great experience and has been a lot of fun. We currently have some of the brightest and most innovative people pushing the status quo, and addressing Big Data problems, using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Look for some great things coming from the team in the near future.
As a leader, what do you look for in potential candidates?
When I look for skills in a candidate I try to look beyond education. I think education is an important aspect of finding a candidate but there are other skills that play a factor too, such as being a high performer, innovative, and being able to think outside of the box – essentially, a critical thinker.
As the data analytics team, I look for someone who is analytical and able to look at the data in different ways to gain new and meaningful insights. I also look for someone who understands how to contribute and perform on a team. We take great pride in working together inclusively and sharing ideas, it elevates the entire team.
It is also important to me to look for people with leadership qualities, who have a career path in front of them, because at Apotex, development is essential. As part of their development and as their leader, I want to equip my team with the skills and experiences necessary to help them achieve their career aspirations.
One of the most important qualities in a candidate is curiosity. I look for people who are always challenging the status quo and asking how we can do something better. And lastly, I look for someone who can have fun at work, because work without fun is just work.
Are you looking to join a passionate, innovative team? Explore the open positions on the Global Indirect Procurement team.