Master-level Statistician Teresa McClendon’s life is bursting with many things to love, so it is fitting that our employee spotlight is shining on her in February, traditionally considered the month of love. She met her husband, Chris Keese, while he was paired up on a blind date with one of her friends, but cupid had other plans. They dated for 7 years, then tied the knot. Today, they remain the best of friends and happily married. “I think my 37-year marriage is probably the accomplishment that I am most proud of in my life,” McClendon says proudly.
Teresa and her husband, Chris, enjoying an outing near their Idaho home.
The couple shares their scenic 33-acre ranch in Grandview, Texas with 4 horses, 4 cows and a German Shorthair Pointer named Cosmo, who is their constant companion, and they also share a deep passion for riding. McClendon, who was born into a Texas horse family, competes 3 to 12 times a month in a rodeo event called Barrel Racing, where she races around 3 barrels in a clover-leaf pattern on horseback. (Even a recent back surgery couldn’t keep her away from her love of riding; she was back in the saddle 3-1/2 months later.)
Teresa McClendon on her horse ‘Striking Poses’ in competition.
Teresa’s husband competes in Team Roping, where he and another skilled rider work together to rope a steer. Following the rodeo circuit, the couple packs up Cosmo and the horses and relocates to their 10-acre off-the-grid farm in Idaho for 5 months of the year, and escape the Texas summer heat. With such an active, mobile lifestyle, it is not surprising that McClendon began telecommuting to work 20 years ago.
Interestingly, McClendon originally set out to be a veterinarian. But while at Texas A&M University, in the early ’80s, her love of mathematics was reignited by an introduction to statistics, computers and a Beta version of SAS for PC. She enjoyed them so much that she switched direction and never looked back. She has since amassed 33 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry as a statistician for various companies including Alcon Laboratories, Novartis, InVentiv Health Clinical, Syneos, and now Navitas Data Sciences.
McClendon’s early years in the industry were spent in preclinical statistics. She moved into the clinical area during her 26 years at Alcon Laboratories in Fort Worth, Texas, and gained experience in all phases of clinical studies, working her way to Senior Statistician - MS. In 2012, McClendon accepted a Senior Biostatistician position with inVentiv Health Clinical in Princeton, NJ, where she worked with Clinicaltrials.gov and gained experience working with a global team of experts.
Later, as a Biostatistician Contractor, McClendon developed a good working knowledge of FDA regulations, ICH GCP guidelines, and the drug development process. Through the years, she has worked in ophthalmology, and in the otic, anti-infectives, respiratory, and oncology therapeutic areas.
Three of Teresa and Chris’ horses grazing in serenity.
McClendon was recruited to Navitas Data Sciences by a colleague who felt it would be a perfect fit for her. He was apparently right. Just this past month, McClendon celebrated her one-year work anniversary with the company. She is openly thrilled to be working with a supportive and professional team who seem to enjoy their jobs at Navitas as much as she does. Statisticians, uniquely gifted with inquisitive minds and organized thought processes, are at their happiest when engaged in challenges that test their abilities.
When asked to cite an example of what kind of projects make her enjoy her job, McClendon answered, “I was recently tasked with reviewing a spreadsheet of complex data for a deliverable. It was almost like putting the pieces of a puzzle together,” she continued, “certainly a challenge, but all of the pieces to the puzzle were there, they just had to be found and put in place.”
This love of rising to challenges seems to follow Teresa McClendon throughout her life, as illustrated by her swift recovery from her back surgery. In addition to her support and love of animals, she also helps support a local chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an organization that builds and provides beds and bedding to underprivileged children who sleep on the floors of their homes. McClendon begins each morning by consciously choosing happiness and lives each day to its fullest, with gratitude and endless love in her heart.