FINDING SOLUTIONS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Christopher Aldridge

I love to fix things. Growing up, my dream job was “inventor” and I have always been curious about how stuff works. It earned me the nickname of ChrisGyver. I find great joy in learning just about anything; I’ve always had a passion for technology and that’s probably why I followed a mainly scientific study path.

Born and raised in Geneva, I studied in a few different schools, including both an international school and the public system and ended up in mechanical engineering at EPFL in Lausanne. The mechanical engineering class was definitely my favorite, but I soon realized that I was not tailored for the academic life and decided to try my luck in the real world.

Taking on the challenge of fending for myself, I tried all kinds of jobs with always the same goal in mind: finding something I’d be passionate about and where I can make a difference. The silver lining of this situation is that it took me on all sorts of adventures that would turn out to be my real education. After a few jobs here and there and 7 months working on a Spanish Island, I returned to Geneva where I was employed by Thomson Reuters. I ended up spending 7 years working there, in customer service for a few months, and then in IT as an operations controller in their data center, but always with the same question in mind: “Is my work really making a difference?”.

In 2010, I took three weeks off work to join my cousin on a trip to Brazil that was about to change my life: I met my future wife there, and after a few years of back and forth, I left everything behind to join her in Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil. There, I worked in several different and unrelated fields and positions, including a rock’n roll bar and doing unexpected things like build my own beer brewing setup from scratch.

My wife and I then decided to come back and give living in Switzerland a go in 2017, and that’s when I could reflect on my journey and realized that my background was maybe not the most typical route, but it had surely been damn instructive. From mechanical engineering, to learning about cultures around the world, jobs I wouldn’t do again, others I would, learning Spanish, bartending, working in a huge corporate company, in customer service, in IT services, in Big Data infrastructures, shift work, learning Portuguese, Beer brewing, and so many others… That’s how I knew that I could adapt to doing just about anything, I just needed to find a job that I loved with a passion.

I spent a lot of time searching for a new opportunity. Most of the jobs were looking for specialists in a specific field and it took me a while to think of looking for a job in a startup. That’s when I discovered SOPHiA, and was gobsmacked by this unbelievable technology. I immediately felt inspired by the company’s mission and activity in the cutting-edge field of Data-Driven Medicine and thought that was my chance of having a job with a meaningful purpose in a place that seemed like a mine of information to learn about. There was an open position that needed someone like me, with a passion for finding solutions to new problems and a strong capacity to adapt; I thought it was an amazing opportunity for me to jump aboard the spaceship towards the future of healthcare!

Now a member of the Services team, I love being at the focal point of all the problems that arise in SOPHiA’s day-to-day in a controlled traceable and efficient manner. We are put to contribution on helping resolve a wide variety of issues at all levels, and we also drive companywide projects to improve our tools and facilitate the treatment of each team’s specific issues by, among other things, generating tailor made Jira projects that follow their specific workflows and schemes.

Being a bit of a jack of all trades, I’m a go-to guy to fix the issues that are hard to solve, that require unusual or imaginative out of the box solutions. This in turn is a fantastic source of knowledge and every day I’m presented with new issues that I’ve yet to figure out how to solve, and along the way I get to learn about all the other teams and their side of the business. My learning curve at SOPHiA has been such a rich experience that I could not have found anywhere else. “Just” that is already amazing, but the mission of the company makes it even more fulfilling, because we all know that at the end of the day, our work, regardless of our role, is making a difference and contributes to save lives. Having the chance to be part of that makes it so meaningful to get up and go to work every day and gives me immense pride and joy.

Going the extra mile, taking the time to do things properly, being able to help both our clients and colleagues achieve their goals and surpass their challenges is something that gives me a huge sense of satisfaction daily! And last but not least, thanks to SOPHiA, I work with and have had the privilege of meeting the most amazing and brilliant people. Sharing these last few years with them has been really lovely, and not only do all these people work hard but they play hard too, and it’s been so much fun!