Mentoring begets mentoring. The theory is that a person who experiences good mentoring will more likely ‘pay it forward’ and be a good mentor themselves. Mentoring isn’t formally taught, it’s a gift passed down from one passionate person to the next with the goal of witnessing success. Good mentoring increases productivity, creates positive attitudes, instills healthy lifestyles, teaches collaboration, and promotes a work culture that contributes to the end result of the mentor’s mission.
Shirly Koven Bachman is one such mentor. She said, “I’m passionate about positivity. I like to make others feel better. Working with the team that I have and making sure they feel supported and successful is my truest passion.”
Bachman is the Vice President of US Market Access at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a Biotech company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She’s a rising star that had great mentors. People that recognized her potential and steered her down career paths best suited for her business acumen and personality. An unbelievable ride landing a dream job that she absolutely loves.
It wasn’t until junior high that Bachman left Paducah for Westport, Connecticut. She was 14 years old and her step-father's company, Westvaco transferred the longtime Paducah residents to New York City. Bachman said it was a ‘monumental move’. Her mom, Shirley DuPucchio had lived in Paducah for 54 years and this was going to be an adjustment.
After graduating from Staples High School in Connecticut, Bachman attended the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing.
One of Bachman’s marketing professors, Richard Shainwald, was a very supportive mentor. “He was instrumental in shaping my career aspirations by exposing me to companies and career options.” said Bachman. She went on to say, “With my gift of gab and fearless nature, sales was the perfect career to pursue.”
Paducah friends knew Bachman’s ‘gift of gab’ firsthand. In junior high school, she had more confidence in her little finger than most have in their entire body. She was a head taller than most and blessed with beautiful shoulder-length dark hair coiffed like Farrah Fawcett. Bachman said she’s always been a huge believer in EQ (Emotional Intelligence). “I think my EQ has guided me to where I am today and cannot be taught.”
Bachman’s first job was at Harland check printers out of Atlanta. Her position was sales and she called on banks and credit unions selling services. After training for a year in Charleston, it was off to the ‘Big Apple’ specifically Manhattan. Her first ‘grown up’ apartment was in Stamford, Connecticut which is about a 54 minute commute to New York City. Probably her most important first encounter was meeting her husband David. The two met at a Christmas party in 1986 right before she moved back to Connecticut.
David was living in an apartment with Bachman’s best friend Libby from high school. She introduced the two and after moving back to Stamford, they started dating. After three years, they got engaged in Florence, South Carolina.
Wedding bells were getting ready to ring. “The first time I took David back to Paducah to meet my sister, Carla Koven Berry, he fell in love with its charm.” said Bachman. For this reason, the couple decided to tie the knot and get married in Paducah. Bachman said they got the ‘red carpet’ treatment and it was truly one of her happiest memories. “It was a southern affair and truly a dream wedding.” said Bachman.
During the same year Bachman and David were married, Bachman changed career paths and started working at Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals. Twenty-two years later holding various sales and leadership positions, Bachman went rogue. In 2012 she ventured out of her comfort zone and signed up with a start-up biotech company called Medivation, an Oncology Biotech in San Francisco. After leading their payer team for five year, Pfizer bought out the company. The next career move was Alynlam Pharmaceuticals.
Alnylam is a Biotech company that focuses on drug discovery in RNAi therapeutics. The company is a pioneer in RNAi and was the first to bring these medications to market. In fact, the company commercialized three drugs in three years, the same number of years Bachman has been with the company. “My groups’ purpose is to work with all US payers to ensure that our patients have access to our medications. We make certain when a physician prescribes one of our drugs, insurance covers it so that patients have access and reimbursement without hassle,” explained Bachman.
David Bachman is a telecommunications marketing executive. He works as a consultant with technology startups. When the two first got married, the couple moved several times following David’s career. After several years, they moved several more times following Bachman’s career. Once Bachman and David decided to start a family, they settled in St. Louis, Missouri, a place they’ve called home for the last 23 years.
After firmly planting roots in St. Louis, along came Payne, 23 and Cole, 20. Bachman said, “David and the boys are at the core of everything I do and motivate me to do my best.” Payne graduated in May from Maryville University with a degree in Cybersecurity and Cole is at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Media Communications.
The family loves to travel, pre-Covid. “European travel is a true passion. As the kids have gotten older, we’ve taken several international trips. Our most favorite place on earth is Marbella, Spain. We love France too,” shared Bachman. Marbella is one of the best-known resorts on Costa del Sol. The beaches, nightclubs and venues are famous around the world. In fact, Marbella is one of multiple places around the Straits of Gibraltar in Europe where you can see the African continent.
Bachman said, “The goal after retiring is to spend a fourth to half a year exploring Europe and other international destinations.”
During the Bachman’s international travels, they’ve made many friends around the globe. “David and I have a very eclectic group of friends that we see regularly during non-pandemic times. I cannot wait to get back to a pre-pandemic pace and socialize with all our friends.” Bachman said she has work friends and St. Louis girlfriends but she’s not a ‘good’ girls weekend getaway type. She gets plenty of work travel time, however, during her free-time her husband is her travel buddy.
Bachman is in terrific physical shape. She’s a person that exercises using the Bar Method two to four times a week and participates in Yoga meditation. The Bar Method uses one's body weight for resistance along with props. A ballet bar is used for leg exercises along with balls, mats, and free weights on the floor all to a musical beat. Bachman said her secret weapon to combating stress is getting eight hours of sleep each night. Before ‘lights out’ at 10 pm, she’ll decompress by watching tv or reading a book.
Along with staying fit and traveling, Bachman enjoys cooking, interior design, and writing. Part of Bachman’s ‘giving back’ includes working with families whose kids are suffering from eating disorders. “I love to write and contribute to the Mighty documenting our family’s journey with eating disorders.” Her son Cole is in recovery from ED (Eating Disorder). The Mighty is a digital health community that connects people facing challenges and disabilities.
Bachman said, “I love seeing my family healthy, thriving, and happy. Children don’t come with manuals and seeing them mature into kind, decent adults brings me pure joy. Empathy, compassion, and positivity guide me each day to be better.” Mentors beget mentors. Bachman’s ‘with each one teach one’ attitude will serve the world well.