Kelli McKeirnan loves to learn. During almost twenty years working for biotechnology giant Amgen, McKeirnan always challenged herself to learn new aspects of the business while providing executive support to leaders across the R&D organization. “When I stop learning, I start thinking about other options,” she says.
As director of administration at Westlake Village BioPartners, McKeirnan is focused on making people’s lives easier. This means connecting people, developing relationships, and adapting to new management styles.
Continuing her quest for knowledge, McKeirnan joined Westlake Village BioPartners because she is interested in learning the venture capital business. “I want to learn how companies are formed, right from the beginning,” she says. “I want to see how companies grow and scale up.”
One of McKeirnan’s strengths is building teams. At Amgen, she set up a system where administrative assistants—rather than staying in their jobs for very long periods—would rotate to different functional areas every two years. This allowed her to build effective teams with almost no turnover. “At work we all have a common goal and we should enjoy our time together trying to achieve that goal.”
Early in her career, after graduating with a degree in sociology and business. McKeirnan worked in management roles in the hospitality industry, where she created teams and eventually managed more than ninety people.
But McKeirnan had a deeper calling. She wanted to be involved in something that helped people with serious illnesses.
McKeirnan believes in hard work and family. “Many people I worked with in the early part of my career did not make much money,” she explains, “but they worked hard and they were very family oriented…and I noticed they were very happy.”
Along the way, McKeirnan earned a realtor’s license and enjoys investing in and managing properties in California and other states.