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Encouraging to Dream | Dr. Elizabeth Harrison

Dr. Elizabeth Harrison


Dr. Elizabeth Harrison has a proven track-record in enterprise turnarounds, business development, public affairs and organizational empowerment, with a focus in the last two decades on the healthcare sector. Elizabeth assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer at MetaSystems Group Inc. (MGI) on April 1, 2018. MGI is the Boston-based subsidiary of MetaSystems Hard and Software GmbH, located near Heidelberg, Germany. MGI provides automated imaging platforms, advanced workflow management and the use of artificial intelligence for image assessment for Cytogenetics, Digital Pathology, Toxicology, Biodosimetry and Microbiology applications.

Above are some known facts about Elizabeth, a pioneering leader, and a great mentor and guide, inspiring and empowering her team and those around her.

When The Women Leaders Magazine wanted to feature Elizabeth, she felt her team could help us better understand her. Here are some beautiful words from a highly successful team about their steadfast leader.

Laura Schweizer, Director of Operations for MGI tracing Elizabeth’s footsteps in the company, says, “When Beth joined MGI, she brought a fresh and forward-thinking perspective to the organization. She was excited to collaborate and connect with the staff and focused on building relationships and encouraging employees to take the initiative and think bigger. 

She is an enthusiastic leader with a clear vision and is decisive and adaptable. Her focus on bringing efficiency and modernizing processes has thrust the company forward, creating a scalable organization equipped for continued growth.”

Talking about Elizabeth as a leader, DeAna Paustian, Manager Technical Sales Team, says, “Elizabeth possesses numerous qualities found in great leaders such as integrity, fairness, accountability, excellence in communication skills, and transparency. In addition, she is very personable and encourages an “open door” policy. She ensures that all employees feel welcome to discuss what is on their minds and encourages suggestions for organizational improvements.”

According to John Fonte, Chief Commercial Officer and President of Sales & Marketing, Elizabeth embodies an “over the horizon” mentality coupled with a can-do attitude. Having a CEO who encourages growth and is willing to take risks has fundamentally transformed the company. “She has encouraged the Dreamers to dream while creating an infrastructure to support our transformation.”

Antonya Fornaro, Manager of Employee Relations, adds, “Elizabeth had completely transformed MGI from when she started her vision in April 2018. There were only 17 full-time employees when she started, and today MGI’s business is thriving with 33 employees and counting! Sales have more than doubled under her leadership, and employees are motivated and inspired by her more than ever to meet and surpass their goals. Elizabeth has such a profound impact on the organization and works tirelessly to ensure the continued success of MGI. She is a fearless leader who is not afraid to break into new ventures while ensuring her organization is running like a well-oiled machine. She implemented a successful structure and a strong foundation in her leadership team for MGI to flourish for many years.”

A True Inspiration

According to excerpts from Elizabeth’s team, one can witness how she has dedicated herself to recognizing potential and providing opportunities to take on greater levels of responsibility. She believes in the expertise of the staff. She includes people from every level in major organizational decision-making, giving team members a participatory role and capitalizing on their knowledge and judgment, which increases employee self-worth and commitment to the company. This active empowerment of staff has created and nurtured an extremely high-performing team that trusts each other and themselves to execute the company’s collective mission.

Elizabeth’s team has described her following a servant leadership style, where she places the needs of the employees first, shares power in decision-making, and assists in helping her employees perform to the best of their ability. Elizabeth encourages her team to break out of their comfort zones and strive to improve themselves personally and professionally, the critical element being that she supports their growth at each step.

One of the most inspiring women in Elizabeth’s life has been Bette Anderson, who was the first woman to be named Undersecretary of the Treasury and served under President Jimmy Carter. Bette took Elizabeth under her tutelage at an early age. “She opened doors for me to worlds I could only imagine. She demonstrated through her own career that toughness and fearlessness combined with graciousness and aptitude are key to breaking many glass ceilings,” says Elizabeth. “She encouraged me to explore career alternatives that were not mainstream, to look inward instead of outward for strength and to accept my uniqueness as a gift, not a curse, and to be thankful for all my gifts.”

Elizabeth is one of the most inspiring women we have ever met. She encourages each of her team members in a positive and impactful way and constantly challenges and empowers her teams to reach their full potential. Being an excellent listener, Elizabeth has been hailed for making concise decisions no matter how tough they are and for always standing by her team. With this brilliant mindset, Elizabeth has been taking the company to new heights.

Building A Brand

One of the most significant achievements for the company has been being granted a patent for artificial intelligence-based chromosome analysis; this new DNN (deep neural network) technology provides laboratories with enormous gains in efficiency, which allows for quicker results and better patient care.

“Looking outward, we will introduce solutions for start-ups and incubators to support lab activities, even when grant money and funding is becoming scarce due to economic uncertainties. We will definitely keep growing, but we will also continue to concentrate on deepening our understanding of our customers’ needs and concerns,” says Elizabeth.  “We’re entering an exciting era in our internal organization as well. For the future, we’re implementing a new ERP that will eliminate data redundancies and encourage team decision making within our organization.”

But for Elizabeth, the future holds developing a succession plan for the next generation of leaders in the North American organization while expanding the company’s relationships with the hundreds of clinical laboratories, research centers, teaching institutions, and CROs that can benefit from Metasystems’ culture of continuous innovation combined with German precision. Many disparate areas, such as environmental studies, veterinary sciences, food & water security, and forensics, are converging with traditional areas for MGI, such as cytogenetics, toxicology, digital pathology, and microbiology. This convergence underscores the need for intelligent, versatile platforms to attack complex questions. “There are some daunting challenges in the world of healthcare, food security, and veterinary sciences – and I am convinced that MGI has the talent, know-how, and track record throughout our global network of companies to provide exciting, innovative, and effective solutions to meet these challenges,” adds Elizabeth.

" It’s easy being a leader when all goes well; when things don’t go well, that’s when leadership is closely observed and succeeds or fails "

Dr. Elizabeth Harrison


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