When one of the nation’s top spots in infectious diseases opened up last June, Candice Malone Long ’94 didn’t think twice. For the chance to help when the world was facing a raging pandemic and in need of vaccines and therapeutics?
“It was an absolute ‘yes,’ ” said Long, who has spent 25 years with Johnson & Johnson, the world’s broadest and most diversified healthcare company, and its pharmaceutical division, Janssen. Her tenacity – and the work of the “incredible” teams she leads – supported a pivotal moment with the recent FDA Emergency Use Authorization of the first single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.
Recruited to Mary Washington to play field hockey, Long burned it up in the classroom and on the turf, earning All-American status in both. As captain, she led her senior-year team to the No. 2 spot in the U.S. and joined the UMW Athletic Hall of Fame, all while earning degrees in business and history with the guidance of faculty who showed her the way.
The leadership style she employs at Janssen took shape in the liberal arts and sciences environment at UMW, she said. She learned the value of raising her hand, taking the lead in initiating discussions to seek solutions, and engaging diverse teams in setting and meeting goals with high expectations. It paved the way for her work at Johnson & Johnson, including preparing for potential Emergency Use Authorization of the company’s investigational COVID-19 vaccine.
“I learned so much at Mary Washington because of the approach to education, the engagement with professors,” said Long, who also earned an MBA at the College of William and Mary.
She discovered her alma mater in the late 1980s, passing by on the way from her Reston, Virginia, home to high school athletic games in the region. The size and feel of the campus – along with the enthusiasm of a particular athletic administrator – reeled her in. “Coach [Dana] Hall set high expectations and helped us understand how to reach them,” Long said. “She had the opportunity to guide us as athletes, but she did so much more. She guided us as individuals.”
Long came aboard under a strict set of ground rules from Coach Hall. “What I decided to recruit as a coach was character,” said Hall, who retired last year. “I held my athletes to a higher standard of athletics and personal values.”
Long had both.
“I saw her play once, and that was it,” said Hall, who enlisted Long’s help in forming a student-athlete tutoring program. “She was of the highest integrity, with manners and respect. She was my go-to girl, no matter what anyone was having trouble with.”
And she was equipped for the task, earning her own high grades at Mary Washington, participating in the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey trials, and dipping her toes into the automotive and government industries. In graduate school, a hospital internship and a campus visit by leadership from Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical manufacturer Ortho Biotech set her up for success.
Hired in sales, the Johnson & Johnson credo stood out, highlighting a thoughtful approach to the health of humanity and an authentic concern for the people it serves. “Patients are waiting. They need help,” Long said. “That is extraordinarily motivating.”
Just as they had at Mary Washington, teammates and mentors at Johnson & Johnson offered their time and guidance as Long moved through sales, marketing and global positions to her new role as president of the Janssen Infectious Diseases & Vaccines division. Her teams are charged with bringing to market treatments and vaccines for infectious diseases, including HIV and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Long’s personal calling? Motivating others to go above and beyond on behalf of the patients they serve. “At Janssen we are motivated by a desire and capacity to make an impact in the lives of patients and the health of humanity.”
The recent FDA Emergency Use Authorization reaffirms her point.
When she isn’t at work, Long makes time for herself and her family, from morning workouts to playing in the snow – their New Jersey home got pounded this winter – with husband Greg and teenagers Claire and Colin.
At Janssen, Long is also executive sponsor of the Janssen Cares employee giving program and Open and Out, an employee resource group that builds an inclusive workplace environment for the LGBTQ+ community.
“We are capable of so much. At Mary Washington, I saw that you don’t have to do it alone,” she said. “And, if you can find a career where you’re filled with purpose and passion, it shows up in everything you do.”