Leading With a Purpose

by Savoy Staff

Photo Caption: Kerry Clem, Chief Commercial Officer, Acorda Therapeutics

As the Chief Commercial Officer for Acorda Therapeutics, a biotechnology company based in Westchester County, NY, Kerry Clem understands the significant impact the company has on the lives of people living with progressive neurological conditions. “Acorda is a patient-first organization, which is demonstrated in our mission, vision, and passion. It is rewarding to know that there are thousands of people, most of whom we will never meet, whose lives are better because of the work that we do. These individuals and their loved ones count on us and the goal is to never disappoint.”

Kerry has spent decades in the biotech industry in progressive leadership roles, working with private and public start-up and high growth organizations. He was the architect of many high performing commercial teams before joining Acorda Therapeutics in 2010 as VP of Sales, later becoming Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) in 2021. As CCO, he is responsible for leading the Sales, Marketing, Market Access, Commercial Strategy, Commercial Operations, and Digital Strategy teams. He is also a member of Acorda’s Executive Leadership Team, helping to set the company’s strategic and operational direction.

Acorda was founded in 1995 with the goal of developing treatments to improve the lives of people with neurological conditions. The company received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2010 and for Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2018. Acorda’s mission and values are central to its culture, for which it has received multiple awards, including Best Places to Work in New York (seven times), Forbes 100 Best Medium-Size Workplaces, and Fortune 100 Best Workplaces for Women, Millennials, and Baby Boomers.

Acorda’s President and CEO, Ron Cohen, M.D., holds Kerry in high regard. “Kerry is one of those rare people one recognizes as a leader at first sight. He’s the kind of leader you follow not because you have to, but because you want to. He achieves this not by virtue of raising his voice or barking orders, but by projecting a quiet confidence leavened with humility, by possessing deep professional knowledge that he uses to teach and mentor others, and by having high expectations, first of himself, then of you. Kerry also displays loyalty, commitment, perseverance, and a genuine desire to contribute to the betterment of his fellow human beings. How do you not want to follow that? He’s the teammate you want holding the ball when the game is on the line.”

During his ten plus year tenure at Acorda, Kerry has helped steer the company’s growth through the commercial success of its MS and PD products. Throughout his career, Kerry has been a champion of inclusion, innovation, and cultural evolution – motivating others to become the best version of themselves. He was a founding member of the Acorda mentorship program and has previously helped facilitate a program to encourage minority graduates at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to pursue careers in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Kerry has advice for young, minority professionals who are beginning their own professional journey – “Often, as a person of color navigating an environment that was not built with you in mind, you are forced to change direction when others are allowed to forge straight ahead. In the midst of taking these detours never compromise the essence of who you are in exchange for a faster or easier route.”

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