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Whether it’s a business opportunity or a flower bed, The Wistar Institute’s Kathy Day helps it flourish

February 28, 2024

We talked with Kathy Day, administrative coordinator for the Business Development and Legal departments, on her path to Wistar, what she loves about her work, and her passion for gardening.

What does your day look like?

I arrive at work very early – I’m sitting at my desk by 6:05 a.m. so it’s very quiet here. That gives me an opportunity to get my coffee, to get settled in and start my day. First, I handle the Business Development (BD) mailbox. We receive lots of emails sent to that address, and I take some time to sort through what is BD related, and what should be disseminated to other departments. Then I start prioritizing my day, depending on what’s needed in Business Development and Legal.

Every day is exciting, every day is new. I don’t know what I will face along with the other daily administrative tasks that still have to be addressed. Scheduling calendars for the SVP of Business Development and VP of the Legal department can be challenging. Lots of what gets finalized at Wistar at some point comes through one or both of these departments. Most days it’s like a juggling act and making sure that meetings are prioritized accordingly and that nothing hopefully falls through the cracks. But that’s the exciting part about it! I love talking to people. I love interacting with people. I love it when we have legislative visitors that come in – Congressman, Senators etc. so, they can learn more about what we do. And everything that I do for Wistar I do to elevate our presence in the community.

What was your path to Wistar?

I’ve been at Wistar 15 years, which is surprising to me. I came here after 33+ years at FMC Corporation, where I was responsible for the communication support for the President, the CEO, Investor Relations and various Vice Presidents. I handled the press release distribution and the regular analyst conference calls. And for seven years I was part of a diversity initiative that required me to visit all the FMC locations, international and domestic, so I did a lot of traveling. I learned a great deal. We all bring something unique and special to the table, and you cannot expect to have fresh new ideas if everybody sitting around the table looks like each other.

How does your work support the science here at Wistar?

I feel like I make a contribution to everything that happens in our BD department at Wistar and I like that. Heather is a really good mentor. She includes me in practically everything so I know how the pieces fit together. It’s hard to do your job if you only know one piece of the puzzle. You need to know what’s important and how to prioritize and plan. It’s vital to know what’s important today, and what needs to be done next week or next month. I feel like I have an important role here, and I’m part of a team that makes me want to give my best and be my best.

What makes Wistar special?

The people are our greatest asset. We have the most wonderful group of people because they are so supportive. My husband passed in 2019, and the outpouring of support I received was amazing. I got letters, cards, text, and emails from people that just wanted to check on me, and when I came back to work, there was somebody standing at my desk checking on me every five minutes. That’s very, very special to me. I lost my mom last year and the Legal and BD departments were again very caring and supportive during that time. That’s one of the key things that has kept me here: the people. I know I don’t just have colleagues, I have friends – lifelong friends – here at Wistar.

What do you do to unwind?

I’m very active in my church, so I have lots of church-related activities I attend, and I receive lots of love and support from them. I have two wonderful children – a son and a daughter – who are very protective of their mother, so we spend a lot of time together. I have also become an avid gardener, which is funny because I used to kill cactuses. Now I have huge flower gardens and flower beds in front of my home. And I never knew I had that ability! My grandmother and my mother were great gardeners, but it never hit me until later. Now I love gardening when the weather gets warm, I love being outside. And last but not least, I love to spend a good day shopping and then going out for a great meal.