For Adam Bassing, becoming a lawyer was the furthest thing from his mind growing up. Raised in a rural, blue-collar suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, Bassing came up in a community that focused more on the core Midwestern values of hard work and dedication than a four-year degree. His father was a truck driver, and his mother worked as a secretary to make ends meet. Now, as the associate general counsel for global biopharmaceutical company UCB, Bassing brings those down-to-earth values as well as his faith to his work, leading with compassion and generosity in the process.
Bassing’s journey to college was born out of his desire to play football. He went to Graceland University on an athletic scholarship and graduated with a BA in history. Soon after, he began a career as a special education teacher. However, after some soul-searching made him realize that career path wasn’t for him, he switched gears and studied law at the University of North Carolina. Although the program was challenging, he says his Midwestern work ethic gave him the dedication he needed to graduate and begin a fifteen-year career in law, which eventually led him to UCB.
As associate general counsel, Bassing reports to the general counsel of the Americas, whose jurisdiction runs from Canada to Brazil. Bassing’s team oversees clinical operations, sourcing, and site services. However, that’s only half the job, according to Bassing; the other half involves coordinating activities with his team and managing their professional development.
The latter is what Bassing particularly enjoys. Central to his approach is his desire to aid in the professional development of his team, improving skills and helping them seek out their own passions. For example, when one team member expressed an interest in a different area of the company, Bassing worked to facilitate that passion and offer opportunities for his team member to grow. And while he helps others find their passions, Bassing has made it a priority to bring lessons from his own upbringing into his work.
The values Bassing learned growing up in a working-class community are his greatest asset in his work, he says. “Always do your best,” Bassing says. “To me, it’s what a responsible person does.” Maintaining focus and putting in long hours has served him well, allowing him to adapt to the demanding schedule the legal field sometimes presents.
In addition to those core Midwestern values, Bassing’s faith heavily informs his worldview and the way he manages at UCB. “I’m a committed Christian—I was raised that way, and my wife and I have made that a priority in our lives,” Bassing explains. This primarily extends to treating clients, coworkers, and team members alike with respect and kindness. “Whether you’re the CEO or the janitor, all people are equal in God’s eyes and worthy of my respect,” he says.
For Bassing, there is no substitute for hard work; however, he also makes sure to strike a delicate balance between work and spending time with his wife and his two sons. “My number one job in life is to raise my two boys to be good Christian men,” says Bassing. “If they become good people who treat others with love and respect, I’ve succeeded in life.” While he has ambitions for his career, Bassing ultimately places his faith and family at the top of his list of priorities. “If it meant sacrificing time with my family, they’re more important to me than another career move,” he adds.
Even so, he is proud of the work his team does at UCB, and of the global biopharma company’s mission to deliver impactful solutions that patients value. Of the company’s slogan, “Inspired by patients. Driven by science,” Bassing says, “That’s not just a tagline; the company truly believes it.” Although it is a for-profit company, UCB’s employees, from the CEO down, put patients at the heart of everything they do by asking one question: “How will this create value for people living with severe diseases?” Bassing sees this mission as an extension of the kind of values he holds dear, making it a great place for him to grow personally and professionally.