AACR Reviews | Glassdoor

AACR Reviews

Updated April 22, 2017
31 reviews

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1.5
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Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.)
22 Ratings

31 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Associate Director Web"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AACR full-time

    Pros

    The mission: Prevent and cure cancer. Working with a great team to help support the cancer researchers around the world.

    Cons

    The organizational structure is top down. When the CEO is unavailable, decisions are not made. Micromanagement from the top slows progress.

    Advice to Management

    Delegate to senior management, trust the great people on the team to do their job.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Believe the Reviews"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great center city location, close to SEPTA and Old City

    Some good-hearted coworkers who try their best, despite the obstacles

    Cons

    Lack of leadership
    Lack of accountability
    No flexibility in schedule
    Lack of trust throughout the organization
    Low morale

    It might be easy to write off one, two, or three bad reviews of an organization by labeling the authors as “disgruntled employees.” However, when the majority of reviewers says that same thing, they can’t ALL be wrong. And they’re not.

    With a mission of finding a cure for all types of cancer, one would think this would be an awesome place to work. But missions don’t make an organization; the people do. And when the people at the top are allowed to treat employees with little to no respect for their time and talents, it becomes a real struggle to get any idea/initiative/program off the ground, let alone approved by the CEO, who micromanages everything--only to change her mind about things six weeks or months later.

    If you desire a nonprofit career where you can make a real contribution and difference, do yourself a favor and look elsewhere. Even the senior directors, who one might think would garner some respect, kowtow to the CEO’s often-baseless whims like bobblehead dolls. And because they are treated poorly, that treatment is passed down to other employees. “Teamwork” between departments is a foreign concept and almost frowned upon, lest another department look better than yours. It’s 5th grade meets the workplace, with a heavy emphasis on 5th grade.

    Meaningful work is out there. It’s just not here.

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to lead
    Trust the people you hire to do their jobs; many of them are smart and creative
    Lose the inflated egos
    Allow people a little flexibility; you will get it back in spades

  3. Helpful (6)

    "Overworked, underpaid"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Most of the people are fantastic, and the mission is admirable. It's also in a beautiful location in Old City. Looks great on a resume.

    Cons

    - little to no room for advancement
    - expected to accept more responsibility with no compensation
    - some people advance very fast while others stay in the same position for years
    - favoritism of the CEO/higher ups is obvious
    - the attitude is that you should be happy to have a job; they constantly act like they're doing you a favor
    - low salary compared to other companies
    - health benefits/vacation/holidays are not great
    - it is so quiet in the office that it is eerie
    - tuition benefits are essentially non-existent
    - CEO makes an absurd amount of money (she openly talks about owning a Maserati) and yet many people are underpaid

    Advice to Management

    The 'traditional' office atmosphere and the huge division between the lower level workers and the higher ups is so bizarre and a huge negative. It completely affects the morale of the company. It's bad when people are leaving so frequently that no one is allowed to send out a company-wide email about their departure. This company has totally lost sight of its true purpose, cancer research, and focuses on money and status. The CEO makes a ton of money, drives a Maserati, and throws extravagant dinner parties all to show how successful she (the company) is. It's a farce. This company is in desperate need of an updating from the top down.


  4. Helpful (7)

    "Profoundly Negative Leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Assisting in support and promotion of cancer research is very rewarding. Located in the beautiful historic district of Philadelphia. The staff working in the trenches are great people with strong work ethics.

    Cons

    As the other reviews have stated, the CEO has been in the organization since 1965, as CEO since the 80s. She is good at raising money, but is very poor at managing the company. The CEO makes over $1 million a year, yet deprives staff of adequate salaries for the work they.

    Advice to Management

    Allow flex time and telecommuting, treat employees with respect, and compensate appropriately. Also, plan for the exit of the current CEO.


  5. Helpful (8)

    "Take Your Other Job Offer, Seriously!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AACR full-time

    Pros

    There are a lot of great people that work at the AACR that are very dedicated to putting out a great product, be it the scientific conferences or the scientific journals.

    Cons

    Upper Management (CEO) is overly involved in every decision down to the lowest levels making it difficult to keep reasonable timelines. CEO's view is that every one should be happy to have a job at the AACR and should dedicate their life to the AACR (which really means dedicate their life to her). HR is incompetent and with little oversight from the Board of Directors there is no real checks and balances on CEO, which ultimately results in the large employee turnover.

    Advice to Management

    40+ years is long enough for any one person to be CEO. The organization is bigger than any one person. Time to make a change at the top. The least the BOD could do would be to require a succession plan. The CEO is in her 70's. Kind of irresponsible of the organization. And what's up with that $1.3M deferred compensation payout in the 2014 990? She really didn't take any vacation for 10 years? Really? And she waits 6 months to give her direct reports performance reviews every year. It is all just wrong.


  6. Helpful (9)

    "Toxic culture, discouraging place to work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AACR full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    When I started at the AACR I really wanted to like the place, as the organization has a great mission and is located in a really cool spot in Center City Philadelphia. Unfortunately, because of the psychotic upper management and the overall toxic culture of the place, it was not a positive experience.

    Cons

    Basically everybody I knew while I was there was trying to get out and was looking for another job. The main reason for this very bad culture is the CEO who has been there for over 50 years and runs the place like a gulag. The culture of the place is rotten to the core, and is really not about trying the fulfill the mission of curing cancer, but rather it's all about trying to make the neurotic CEO happy. If you make any little mistake, she will find out and there will be hell to pay. She is the ultimate micromanager and is a narcissistic vindictive person. I was pretty low on the totem pole and had few interactions with her, thank god, but her insane policies and rules were felt by all. Everyone is scared of her, and your managers will not protect you, as they are also trying to save their own butts. It's an extremely top down organization and you will not be allowed any independence whatsoever, and god forbid you try to take initiative and make a decision. You will be crushed. The CEO controls everything, including the promotions and raises of ALL the employee (yes, you read this right. She doesn't even let her managers make these decisions about their own employees). The performance evaluations and accompanying promotions or raises (if they are approved) are chronically late because the CEO simply doesn't care about the employees. The employee review process which was supposed to be done by January never took place before June or July (or later). Everybody had to wait for the little bit of money they were due, while she makes an extravagant salary. The management does not care about the well being or happiness of the employees and sees all of us as easily replaceable. That explains the poor morale and huge turnover. If you are unlucky enough to get an interview, ask HR about the reasons for the outrageous turnover. Also, during the interview, have fun taking the ridiculous grammar/typo tests, as well as a detailed personality test (all mandated by the CEO, of course).

    Advice to Management

    Empower your employees! But since this would never happen, here's a more practical advice: retire and let people with common sense and good leadership skills run the place. It could be a great place to work, but now it's just awful.


  7. "AACR, a decent place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Publications Intern in Upper Darby, PA
    Former Employee - Publications Intern in Upper Darby, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great environment, helpful health tips in break room, nice and friendly.

    Cons

    maybe the security checkpoint in the lobby, it's a pretty important building in Philadelphia.

  8. Helpful (10)

    "Fantastic mission; horrendously mismanaged"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The mission and goals of the organization are truly outstanding. The science that the AACR represents is truly cutting edge and the best in the cancer field.

    Cons

    The organization is run like a totalitarian regime by a CEO that long ago should have stepped aside. She rules everything, including the board of directors, by fear and intimidation and by surrounding herself with "yes" men/women rather than talented people who can objectively provide input into how to make the organization better.

    EVERYTHING must appear as though it comes from the CEO's office, and this creates a massive backlog in everything that needs to be done. And then blame for not achieving project milestones is often sent back on the staff person who was simply waiting for their work to clear the CEO bottleneck.

    I cannot agree more with the other reviewer who said that the CEO treats the organization like her "own personal vanity project." The goal of nearly every piece of output is to make her look good. Her approach to technology is stuck in the (mid) 20th century (the AACR just got a blog launched last year, and it's posts are mostly puff pieces about how great they are).

    I could go on, but I think you get the point...

    Advice to Management

    Find someone that you can groom to take over the organization ASAP. The CEO is in her 70s, and there is no one that appears ready to take over if needed. Because of the incredible centralization of power, the vacuum created if/when she needs to step down could likely bring the entire organization down.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Poor culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at AACR full-time

    Pros

    Good location, nice offices, decent pay

    Cons

    Concentrated power and control, no room for growth, uptight culture

    Advice to Management

    Modernize a lot of things


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Great mission"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AACR full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The AACR has a great mission and attracts good talent. The organization is reputable and many employees secure greater opportunities after working at the AACR.

    Cons

    The AACR is managed by a culture of fear. Employees are misled -- starting during the interview process -- and many feel stifled professionally. I've never experienced such a high turnover rate. Most employees leave before reaching two years of employment once they realize the job is not what they signed up for. It is a depressed atmosphere. People are afraid of the CEO.

    Advice to Management

    Tell the CEO the truth about how your employees feel. Have a concern for the people who work for you and honor your word. They care deeply about the mission and deserve the chance to make an impact.


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