Marie L. Rahne headshot

MNCCTN HUB Team Highlight: Marie L. Rahne, MBA

We at the MNCCTN HUB are highlighting our team members and the fantastic work they do throughout the year. The MNCCTN HUB is the central team that works in the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, while MNCCTN is the overall, wider network made up of five health care Partners and 22 clinical sites that conduct research throughout Greater Minnesota. Enjoy our first highlight with the Director of MNCCTN, Marie L. Rahne, MBA. Marie was the first employee on the MNCCTN team in October 2017 when she started as Senior Manager, later promoted to Director, MNCCTN. Hear from Marie about the career path that led her to MNCCTN, what she enjoys about working in research, how MNCCTN is unique, and what qualities are a good fit for a career in research and administration.

What was your career path before MNCCTN?

I’m what you call a lifer at the UMN. I completed my undergraduate degree here in Art and have been working here for 16 years. Before joining MNCCTN, I worked in a few roles over at the College of Science and Engineering at the UMN. The first was in the Fine Theoretical Physics Institute, which is where I first recognized the connection between science and creativity. Seeing how theoretical physicists worked on problems of math and physics using all these different and deeply creative approaches to move the field forward really clicked in my brain. I went back to school for my MBA and took a role in Electrical Engineering as the administrative lead of a Center developing technologies for spin-based computing and memory systems. In that role I learned a lot of the program development, strategic planning, and relationship management that I use today in my MNCCTN role.

career roadmap

What is unique about MNCCTN overall?

One of the things I find most special about MNCCTN is the collaborative nature of the entire enterprise. What we’re doing can’t be done by any group alone, and the fact that so many individuals and organizations have come together for the betterment of our communities is really inspiring and rare. We’re building something special and the work is challenging, rewarding, frustrating, strategic, and creative. Across the network, everyone keeps showing up because they believe in what we’re doing and the impact it can have.

What 3 words best describe the MNCCTN HUB team?

The HUB team is motivated by a real belief in what we do, supportive of each other as colleagues and people, and anchored in their values as individuals and as a team. They are also just great people and fun to work with every day.

What do you enjoy most about working in cancer research?

For me it goes back to a deep love of science. I love the iterative nature of the scientific process and the amazing commitment that researchers have to their work. When I took this role at the Masonic Cancer Center, one of my goals was to be able to work in an area that moves amazing science closer to making an impact in people’s lives today. Working with smart and motivated people, like those across MNCCTN, makes even hard or complicated work enjoyable for me.

What are the most important characteristics or qualities for a job in research?

I’d categorize my role as more administrative than research. Some of qualities that have gotten me to where I am today are a desire to learn and grow my skills, curiosity, ability to see the big picture and how individual elements work together, trust in the people on my team, comfort with ambiguity, a drive to try new things, and resilience to rebound and learn from disappointments or failures. I think folks working in research have to have patience, strong communication skills, willingness to problem solve, empathy and a commitment to helping others, and be life-long learners.The ins and outs of research can be taught, but not everyone is cut out for a job in research!