Name + Title: Matthew Sekac, Senior Director, Global Strategy & Sales Operations, at Park IP Translations, a Welocalize company

Office location: New York City, NY

Hire date: Started as an intern at Park IP in Summer of 2006; full-time start date was June 2007.

Where were you born?  Providence, Rhode Island

Languages spoken: English, Spanish and Portuguese

What did you study at university? Double Major in Economics and English; Minor in Spanish at Duke University.

If you could learn any language, which would you pick and why? There are a few languages I’d really like to learn, but if we’re to pick one I’d probably pick Japanese. It’s a key language for Welocalize, Japan plays a large and important role in our industry, and I’ve always had an appreciation for Japanese culture.  It’s also a lot harder to learn for an English speaker—especially reading and writing—than most European languages, so if I’m getting one magical short cut I’d spend it on Japanese. If had to learn a new language the hard way, I’d probably pick French since it’s such a beautiful language and one I would have a much easier time picking up.

Do you have a bucket list? What is something you are hoping to check off the list soon? I don’t have an actual list, but of course there are things I want to make sure I do. This past summer I just got married, so that’s a pretty big one.  I also recently played a round of golf at the Ocean Course in South Carolina, which would have made the list (I think a lot of the items on my list would involve golf).  I’ve been to France a few times, but never to Paris, which is one I’m hoping to check off the list on my next vacation.

What are you most proud of (personally and/or professionally)? I’ve always felt very lucky to have a large, tight-knight family and have found my way into circles of great, loyal friends—not to mention my incredible wife.  I’m both proud and tremendously grateful to have been part of so many strong, longstanding relationships with such amazing, supportive and loving people.

Professionally, I joined Park IP Translations in 2006 as an intern, and was part of its growth and maturation from a handful of people in a small office near Central Park into a truly global business with clients, offices and operations spanning countries on three continents.  Since 2012, Park IP been part of another amazing organization, Welocalize, which has built a truly incredible team of people around the world.  I’m proud to have been a part of that ride, and excited to continue the story.

What life sciences and regulatory industry publications or resources do you recommend?
Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine, Managing Intellectual Property magazine, and IPPRO Magazine are all publications in the IP space that I’ve consulted regularly.  I also find that the newsletters and the websites of leading IP firms in each country can be extremely interesting and valuable resources.

Any trends you’re seeing in the life sciences industry?
We do a lot of research, study and analysis of data relevant to our clients’ businesses and industries; in the area of patents we spend a lot of the time looking at foreign filing activity and the key drivers of international patent filing volumes.  That’s how we were able to identify the phenomenon we called “the AIA foreign filing aftershock” in 2015, and while that was an extreme, rare and one-off set of circumstances, we’re also looking for more modest leading indicators that might help us better anticipate our clients’ needs, better position resources, and overall just to be able to serve as a knowledgeable partner.

With respect to life science companies specifically, one of the things we’ll follow are evolving regulatory conditions in various countries. In India, for example, in 2005 you saw non-resident filing activity skyrocket following the country legalizing life science patents for the first time in order to comply with WTO requirements.  Recently, however, there has been some turbulence over the government’s policy of compulsory licensing for certain drugs; that situation has been continuing to develop, and it’s the kind of thing we watch in part to find clues as to what we might expect from our clients and the broader industry moving forward.

If there’s one broader development we’re watching right now, it’s probably the Unitary Patent, which we discussed in this month’s Global Communicator.  That might not qualify strictly as a “trend,” but it’s potentially a driver of trends moving forward; and the impact of the European Unitary Patent on filing activity will likely involve life science companies more than any other industry.

What is your day-to-day work like at Welocalize?
I’m extremely fortunate to have a dynamic and exciting role at Welocalize that challenges me intellectually and never fails to keep me on my toes. I also have an amazing team of folks in New York, North Carolina, Chester (UK), and Barcelona (Spain).  Our role as the Global Strategy and Sales Operations team is ultimately to maximize the value-added by our global business development, marketing and sales activities—equipping our client-facing and internal marketing staff with information, intelligence, data, and tools to make them more effective. Some of the things we do include as developing and administering the organization’s CRM; conducting and distilling research on current and prospective clients to facilitate the engagement of our reps; managing our semi-annual client survey and helping our service teams to draw actionable lessons from the results; and helping to drive the operational side of marketing and outreach activities.

Given that variety, my day-to-day can vary considerably depending on the time of year and what initiatives are currently the priority.  Many of those initiatives are proactive in nature, which means that we generally have a fair amount of autonomy about where to focus our resources.  Much of what I do personally is about supporting the team, helping them to work through challenges they’re encountering, offering guidance where I can, and sometimes getting involved myself to work things out.  I start most days eating breakfast, catching up on overnight email, reading world and industry news, checking in on the progress of the team’s main priorities, then going from there.

Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.