How to Lead with Empathy and Create Positive Change in Your Company — And Beyond

Sponsored by Pear Therapeutics

Gigi Shafai

Photo courtesy of Pear Therapeutics.

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May 20, 2024 at 2:49AM UTC

Pear Therapeutics is a pioneer in Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDTs). Their cross-functional team operates at the intersection of biotechnology and software technology — discovering, developing and delivering clinically validated software-based therapeutics.

Unsurprisingly, a big piece of the puzzle of Pear’s success is their team of talented professionals who the company calls the “novel nature of [their] work.” 

“Physicians, clinicians, and researchers work side-by-side with software engineers, product designers, and developers to create software as medicine,” Pear tells Fairygodboss. “While our backgrounds may be diverse, we’re united by a mission to help patients and pioneer a new way of treating serious disease.”

Every team plays an integral role in the company. “Teams are like an orchestra — everybody plays their part, and conductors help connect the parts,” says Gigi Shafai, Head of the Medical Communications and Operations department at Pear Therapeutics. “As the conductor, I don’t teach the instrument, but I can fine-tune the music it plays.”

Shafai tells Fairygodboss that she was surprised at the orchestrator inside of her. Earlier in her career, she felt like building a team was more about the skills to do a job. As she progressed in her career and in building various teams, however, she was able to connect all the skills and experiences of each of her team members in order to create the right teams.

“In my current role as Head of Medical Communications and Operations, I am pioneering education and communications about a new treatment modality that has the potential to transform healthcare in today’s world,” she says. “I am integrating research, publications and scientific exchange with leading experts in addiction medicine, sleep medicine and payor communities to advance all aspects of Medical Affairs at Pear.”

Shafai has been in her role since June 2021, previously heading Medical Affairs and Health Economics and Outcomes Research at a pre-commercial biotech company. To learn more about her experience and her stellar leadership advice, Fairygodboss reached out to Shafai. Here’s what she had to say…

How Shafai successfully orchestrates her team and tunes them for success.

First, how does a leader like Shafai build her team? “I’ve had the fortune of working in the various sub-departments that I now lead, which has made me very aware of the complementary team necessary to accomplish our goals,” Shafai explains. “My approach was to ensure that we had a balance of operational, creative and technical skill sets as the team grew, in order to ensure a scalable team for growing and evolving business needs. As we are growing, I am passionate about ensuring that our current team members are valued for their past and current experiences, as well as where they want to head in the future.”

One key to her success has been always having in mind a specific leader that she wants to be more like — and one who she does not want to be like. “These leaders can either be inside or outside of your industry, or inside or outside your organization,” she explains. “Either way, both examples will help shape your approach as a leader.”

Leading with empathy and recognizing the human behind the work they all do is an important trait, as well. After all, one of the company’s values is standing together.

“We respect one another and seek diverse perspectives to create the best results,” the company tells Fairygodboss. “We dig in to solve hard problems and take pride in our achievements.”

Want to join Shafai at this empowering company that’s on a mission to empower ever more people? Pear Therapeutics is hiring! Click the link below to browse jobs.


Fairygodboss is proud to partner with Pear Therapeutics. Find a job there today!

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