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ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Reviews

Updated Jan 7, 2022

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Found 333 of over 439 reviews

4.2
80%
Recommend to a Friend
86%
Approve of CEO
ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital President and CEO Richard C. Shadyac Jr.
Richard C. Shadyac Jr.
134 Ratings
Pros
  • "Family like atmosphere serving a great mission(in 36 reviews)

  • "We have great Benefits at ALSAC(in 26 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Work-life balance can be challenging unless you work at the corporate office(in 28 reviews)

  • "However, leadership tries to do as much as possible without impacting the donors(in 20 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

    Ratings by Demographics

    This rating reflects the overall rating of ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and is not affected by filters.

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    1. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 10 years
      Featured Review

      Great Place to Work, Wonderful Mission

      Oct 4, 2021 - Manager 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a great place to work – for so many reasons. Prior to working for the mission, I worked in corporate America where the true bottom line was related to shareholders. And while it was an honor to work at those organizations, I cannot think of anywhere I would rather work than ALSAC. Here’s why: Compelling Work: I love my job and yes I said love. I studied marketing in school and get to work on efforts across the organization. Whether the work is centered around our Thanks and Giving Campaign, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month or our many events, each day is different. And we get to do this work to help support the work of St. Jude that helps sick children. I cannot think of a better way to use my time on earth. Caring for People: At ALSAC, there is a true spirit for caring for the workforce and providing equitable opportunities for staff special assignments, promotions and participation in task teams. There is a true sense of caring about people that has not been present at other places where I have worked. I appreciate the effort from my peers and managers who care about me as an employee and worker. In particular, the pandemic was difficult for many people for a variety of reasons. I have appreciated the flexibility offered to continue to excel in my job while also having more options to ensure I can take care of my family too. Many other businesses have not shown as much caring for their workforce and I am very grateful to be able to work at a place that is so caring. Training and Advancement Opportunities: Each employee is encouraged to and is responsible for creating their individual development plan with their manager. For many years, great effort has gone into making a wide variety of training options available to staff to learn new skills, train for leadership opportunities and have critical conversations. There are many ways employees are notified of opportunities (Weekly Email to Staff, Intranet Website, Workday Open Positions, Special Assignment Applications). At ALSAC, there are plentiful ways for me to have opportunities to try new things to advance my career. Multi-cultural Workforce: As a multicultural employee, I am really excited about the efforts at the organization to ensure ALSAC is a place of employment that is inclusive for all. There are 8 or 9 multicultural employee resource groups ranging from an African American group, to Hispanic, to Young Professionals, LGBTQ+ and beyond. These groups generally help advise what can be done as an employee to make a workforce that is culturally sensitive as well as advise on ways we can communicate externally to these same audiences. As an LBGTQ+ employee, I am a part of helping to advise how we can share the stories of St. Jude with the LGBTQ+ community in ways that are authentic to our mission. We are working through where we can head and as an employee I feel empowered to participate in the group and have a voice.

      Cons

      Priorities: As with most organizations, it is a fast paced environment. The pandemic has particularly stretched the resources in a few areas, so it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the many opportunities. Nights and Weekends: As much of the work prior to the pandemic was related to running in person events, sometimes the work can happen at night or on weekends. The management team has been accommodating to ensure that time can be taken off during the week. However, those hours may not work for some people. Lots of Change: Given the disruption that has occurred in the world with the pandemic, so much of the business is needing to change to reflect a more digital and distributed way to work with donors. This has resulted in lots of change that can sometimes be discomforting for some employees. However, with change also comes opportunities and I find that potentially exciting. Plus, just about every business is in the same situation.

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    2. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Great place!!

      Jan 3, 2022 - Logistics Manager in Memphis, TN
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Excellent vision for mission at hand

      Cons

      Large organization that can get cumbersome

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    3. 3.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Pay

      Jan 7, 2022 - Area Representative 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great Company and treatment of employees

      Cons

      Long Hours, Expectations of personal time during events

      1 person found this review helpful
    4. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 8 years

      Great Place To Work

      Dec 21, 2021 - Account Manager in Memphis, TN
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great Benefits and Flexible work schedules

      Cons

      Promotions take a lot of time

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    5. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 8 years

      Wonderful Place To Work

      Dec 17, 2021 - Senior Specialist 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The Mission and the people are awesome!

      Cons

      The pay could be better.

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    6. 3.0
      Current Employee

      mission driven

      Dec 17, 2021 - Customer Service Specialist in Memphis, TN
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      laser focused mission driven organization

      Cons

      small advances in salary increases

      2 people found this review helpful
    7. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      customer experience

      Nov 18, 2021 - Director in Memphis, TN
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      great place to work. yeah

      Cons

      politics, left leaning, jump to conclusions

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    8. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 10 years

      Support St. Jude / Don't Work at ALSAC

      Sep 29, 2021 - Withheld (to protect colleagues) 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Pros: • Truly noble and worthwhile mission • Excellent health insurance • Nearly Impossible to be fired Nobility of Mission ALSAC is NOT St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude is the visionary dream of Danny Thomas that’s been revolutionizing pediatric cancer (and other disease treatments) for over 60 years. Don’t think that going to work at ALSAC is going to work at St. Jude. Having said that, ALSAC is the ‘fundraising and promotion’ organization in support OF St. Jude. In the past decade it’s grown to raise one billion dollars annually, and just passed the two billion dollar mark this past year, which is good, as the hospital itself costs over 3mil a day to operate (no patient family pays for anything). You’ll meet some of the most genuine and passionate people working here. The mission of the hospital is really important to people, especially the long-term staff. Health Insurance Working at ALSAC will get you amazing healthcare. So amazing you’ll actually struggle if you consider leaving, as you’ll have to factor in healthcare into your new salary. ALSAC doesn’t pay top rates, but the insurance is enough to keep many people there. Job Security ALSAC is also amazing for job security. While there have been very rare waves of layoffs over the years, these are infrequent. They typically impact middle-management the most. The dozens of executives (in an organization of roughly 1,600-1,700 at any given moment) aren’t typically impacted, and the individual contributors are actually the ones working and are typically not affected dramatically. About 1/3 of the staff are skilled and/or actually work. And those who are skilled and hard-working end up taking on the work of those who are unwilling or unable. ALSAC is good about keeping you in a guilded cage. If you’re of high value and seen as a flight risk they’ll likely give you a retention bonus to keep you hanging on a few more months. If you go through a few cycles of this, you may even find yourself at a salary that makes it difficult to find another job in the Memphis market that could compete. And that’s why you stay.

      Cons

      Cons: • Culture of Fear/Guilt • Over-stuffed and non-contributing executive class • Empty emphasis on Data and Diversity Culture of Fear/Guilt Fear is one the single overriding sentiment behind ALSAC’s decision making process. A/B testing is timid and going through the motions, executive approvals (all the way to the C Suite) are required for the most minimal changes, and new ideas are workshopped into oblivion. ALSAC’s fear stems from many places, the first of which is fear of doing anything that could damage the brand of the hospital. And that’s pragmatic, right? No one wants to take money away from a children’s cancer charity! This leads, however, to ALSAC staff glossing over abusive behaviors, toxic work environments, and a general sense of unease. “It’s for the kids” is the mantra of the staff, which is slowly programmed bit-by-bit, day-by-day, to tolerate unhealthy work conditions for the greater good. Perhaps this is no better exemplified by ALSAC’s relationship with GlassDoor. About a year ago ALSAC was a 4.7 and currently sits at a 4.1. I can tell you for a fact that the 4.7 was inflated. If you look through the reviews on here, you’ll find that most of the positive reviews are very very brief “Great place to work!” or “Greatest mission on earth!”. This is a result of executive leadership “encouraging” new employees, especially field employees straight out of school, to go on and write positive reviews to buoy the score. Again, I know this for a fact. I also know the GlassDoor scores VERY much upset ALSAC President and CEO Richard “Rick” Shadyac. Once during one ALSAC’s MANY Town Halls (they’ve increased in frequency from quarterly, to monthly, to sometimes weekly) Rick paced the stage, his face scrunched and arms crossed (this was common) and proceeded to yell at the gathered ALSAC staff about how negative GlassDoor reviews had been posted then “my bosses!” (the board) were in town. Rick is a second-generation Shadyac CEO in the org (his father was a previous CEO) and has served as CEO for approximately a decade after a full career as a successful divorce atty in DC. I wish I could tell you this was an isolated incident. But “poppa Rick” as many have taken to calling Shadyac, due to his patriarchal scoldings to staff, has a history of this. In 2019 a Best Places to Work study showed that through staff felt strong affinity for the organization (4.9/5) that they felt lower levels of trust for leadership and sr leadership (3.5/5) he had a similar venting session. Blaming the “few grumblers” who were making the organization toxic, and ultimately, by the end of the meeting, convincing himself that the staff didn’t understand the question and that’s why the score was so low. It wasn’t. I left ALSAC one year ago at the time I’m writing this, and just now feel like I have my head together enough to put the words to my experience. I worked there for 13 years, and saw a lot of change in the internal culture during that time. For a long time ALSAC had an almost family-like atmosphere, only more recently becoming increasingly corporate in the past 5 years. However, with this change has come a real cult of personality surrounding Rick Shadyac (CEO). I’m not saying this to imply he’s a bad person. But he has a real savior complex that he crams down from the very top. Whether it be an attempt to mandate community service as an aspect of ones review (which didn’t take off) or a “staff picture” which featured all of us shining the lights of our phones, bathing him in light while he stood arms akimbo in a Christ pose, he feels the need to make his fully-grown adult staff into good people, often implying that your values aren’t as good as his and could use some work. Even now, writing this, I feel guilty. In my near decade and a half at ALSAC, I worked with some amazing colleagues, passionate people, who wanted to further this mission. ALSAC, however, is such an imperfect vessel that most of those would be the torchbearers, running ahead and innovating, setting new standards, are ground down like the horse in Animal Farm. We were so heavily conditioned not to do or say anything that could ever impact the mission that it gave bad actors permission to mistreat us. I know some people will resent me doing this, worry it’ll impact fundraising for the hospital, but hopefully, at the very least, it could serve as a rallying cry for those who are just so entrenched that they really don’t see that this isn’t how work has to be. Executive Class In an organization of less than 2k employees ALSAC has at the very least two dozen SVPs. In 2019 ALSAC commissioned some external organizational consultants with an emphasis on the question “how are we structured?” and ultimately “how SHOULD we be”. The feedback was that ALSAC was significantly top-heavy. For anyone inside, this isn’t a surprise. ALSAC has had a problem for years that’s not unique: it doesn’t know how to promote people. I don’t mean that undeserving people get promoted (though that happens often enough), but that someone with a particular skillset (for our example, let’s say IT development) will be recognized for their exemplary work as a coder by being promoted to manager. Coding and management are entirely different skillsets. And over the years we’ve seen many many examples of individual contributors thrust into positions of authority only to find themselves overwhelmed, underequipped, and generally unhappy with the change. This is one management issue. It’s also led to an overabundance of middle management and needless tiered gardens of staff. As a senior level individual contributor, depending on the current ALSAC structure, I was often seven to eight levels of reporting removed from our CEO. Again, this is an organization of less than two thousand people. The senior staff is its own unique problem, however. While there are many passionate and talented members, there’s significantly more who doesn’t actually seem to have a place there. I don’t say this because they’re unskilled or ignorant. I say this because they are often hired with ambiguous positons, no clear reporting structure under them, and overlapping objective with OTHER executives. It’s not unusual for individual contributors to get multiple calls/emails from different executives on the same topic, causing their workloads to double/triple as the work/questions asks fragment through the lens of each executive. Outside of a core executive structure (CTO, COO, CFO, etc) there are many C-level positions that are often created on the fly, many times created for a person rather than a need. It’s a very common occurrence to receive an org-wide email about a new Sr. VP of X, creating confusion among the staff “Didn’t X and Y already do that?” The execs themselves seem no less confused. Many have no direct reports and are in charge of a concept or idea rather than any actual resources. As a result they have to try to exert influence over staff and processes reporting to one of their colleagues, creating jurisdictional conflicts, confusion and deadlock. The executive class also operates in as a sort of elite club. When ALSAC was on site (and is slowly returning) ALSAC President and CEO Rick Shadyac liked to keep his SVPs close, which meant pulling them all to the 10th floor near him rather than being close to their actual staff. This allowed for ease of casual huddles throughout the day, but as a result each executive became less and less engaged with the actual area they were supposed to run. There are many individual contributors at ALSAC that exert more control and responsibility for ALSAC’s success in the past decade than the executives they report to. Empty Emphasis on Diversity and Data ALSAC has a graphic of its important priorities, a multi-leveled pie-chart with two main outer rings. The two rings represent “Data as a Strategic Asset” and “Diversity and Inclusion”, our two most important values. In many ways, there’s a lot of magical thinking behind these ideas. As long as these two rings exist and executive leadership says it, then it must be real. Let’s start with Data since it’s less controversial. ALSAC has some very skilled data practitioners scattered across various divisions, but no real central repository if either knowledge or responsibility. This causes a lot of problems. The first data problem is significant disparity in the skill level of ALSAC analysts. Title/pay level is no clear indicator. As a result, there’s radically disparate levels of quality in analysis and trustworthiness of data. Different analysts and divisions are perpetually pitted against each other only to find they both weren’t even asked the same question. While individual contributors rely on reporting, dashboards, etc to drive their decision making, this rarely extends beyond the level of Sr. Director. As you get into the executive set you’ll find the reverse. Decisions are made either impulsively, emotionally, or on hunches and then are workshopped around different divisions until someone can provide some sort of data response (no matter how sketchy) to support the idea. This logic has been used to nearly extinguish successful programs that generate tens of millions of dollars annually. The opposite of this is also true. Many failing programs are continually propped up, with executives transferring millions back and forth to each other to help them hit their goals, giving the appearance that many failing and unsuccessful programs are actually viable. This can go on for years at a time, only catching up with the “giving” program ultimately hits a bump itself. Back to the idea of lack of centralized knowledge and accountability. Were you to talk to senior leadership, you’d be under the impression the Center of Excellence in Analytics (COEA), a small Think Tank full of cloistered back-office PhDs with ties, is ALSAC’s secret weapon in the war of data. You’d be mistaken. The COEA is largely a full-on “Emperor’s New Clothes” situation. While they present themselves well physically they are incapable of reporting on any of ALSAC’s internal data. They both lack the data skills as well as the knowledge of how the various business units operate. So, when the COEA presents their largely unread 40 page whitepapers, they’re always based on external concepts. In the past they’ve attempted to create an “executive dashboard”. This dashboard was cobbled together from screenshots of other divisions dashboards, often without context or full understanding of what the original data was saying. The key issue here is not just that there’s data people in the organization incapable of reporting on data, but that they’re held up as not just the organization standard, but industry standard. Actual reputable sources often have to justify their analytics against painfully incorrect COEA assertions. ALSAC Supports Diversity and Inclusion, it just doesn’t understand it. You’ll see trainings on all of the most cutting-edge social and political language and thinking, and it’s well meaning. The execution, however, is very divisive. ALSAC is, and has traditionally been, a heavily female-populated organization, especially with field offices being a huge draw for recently graduated sorority members (Tri Delta is a major ALSAC supporter). However, ALSAC’s recent pushes to increase Diversity and Inclusion have often succeeded mostly into segmenting staff into the different intersectional groups they belong to. Rather than being an “ALSAC Team”, ALSAC is now represented by a series of Business Resource Groups, each representing a different group. Hiring has recently become a hot topic as each division and sub-team is scored based on their level of “diversity”. Diversity in this case is solely measured by ethnicity and doesn’t consider gender or sexuality. As a result, when hiring now, teams feel extra pressure to prioritize a narrow spectrum of what ALSAC considers diverse over a greater level of inclusiveness. This also puts a lot of pressure not only on hiring managers but also technical interviewers asked to consult on technical ability. Should they be seen passing over too many diverse candidates (again, the narrow definition and regardless of candidate suitability for the role) or alternatively, not even HAVE diverse candidates (as if they can choose who applied), they can suffer socially and politically at ALSAC. Conclusion I dedicated a significant portion of my adult life to ALSAC, and have built my own skills, both personally and professionally, in my time there. It’s taken me over a year to get my head together enough to pull together my experience. There were many times I considered writing this while I was still at ALSAC, but in the past there have actually been task forces appointed to try to identify the writers of negative GlassDoor reviews. Healthy, right? ALSAC is very very successful at fundraising, but not for any of the reasons you’d think. ALSAC touts its culture of innovation, launching endless “Accelerators”, “ALSAC X”, or whatever the catchphrase du jour, but that’s not where the money is made. These Think Tanks largely just burn donor donors on wasteful vanity projects that aren’t revenue generating, but are ultimately always celebrated as successes. ALSAC’s revenue comes from the boring and predictable monthly giving programs and mail appeals. It’s not sexy, there’s nothing to take pictures of, and that embarrasses the senior staff so they tout flashes in the pan. Iteration, improvement, and fine tuning existing ideas aren’t valued. New, big, and loud are valued at the top. Even moreso if it’s birthed from the top down. I’m sad for the current state of ALSAC. While it’s grown in size and stature it’s lost all identity. Early in my time there the culture was jokingly called “ALSAC Nice”, which described how meetings were generally non-confrontational. A few years ago “ALSAC Nice” was joyfully declared dead, but nothing was put in its place. In conclusion, in a townhall ALSAC President and CEO Rick Shadyac once said in response to the statistic that pediatric cancer survival rates were at 80% that our job was "pretty much done". It's a shame he feels that way, because the people I worked hard with every day didn't think that. Yes, St. Jude is one of the best causes you could invest in. No, you should not work at ALSAC.

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      45 people found this review helpful

      ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Response

      Chief People Officer (CPO)

      We are truly dedicated to creating a phenomenal employee experience – this is what I have been focusing on in the past seven months since coming on board as Chief People Officer and rolling out our new Employee Experience team that builds on an incredible, growing, diverse and inclusive culture. I’m proud that ALSAC, led by our passionate and caring CEO, has been named a top workplace for innovators by Fast Company as we are not afraid to push new ideas, work in the gray and take on challenges to help advance the life-saving mission of St. Jude. We value all the backgrounds and perspectives of our employees to make an impact, this is what sets us apart. As we work to cure childhood cancer, we look for the visionaries, the passionate, the creative, the innovative, the empathetic and the authentic to build our teams here, and grateful that on our engagement survey 92% of our employees shared that ALSAC is a Great Place to Work. We also continue to be transparent with our teams, and we come together to propose solutions when we have work to do. You’ve taken a lot of time to share your thoughts, and you’ve been heard. I’m personally available if you choose to ever reach out to me directly to discuss further. We thank you for your years of service and wish you all the best in your next career.

    9. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Amazing Organization!

      Nov 4, 2021 - Senior Specialist in Memphis, TN
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The culture is amazing and they really care about you as a person !

      Cons

      Due to disease we are around some very sick children.

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    10. 3.0
      Former Employee

      Great trainings

      Oct 31, 2021 - Director 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good people clear roles great training

      Cons

      Expectations and goals could be clearer

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    ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Reviews FAQs

    80% of ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital employees would recommend working there to a friend based on Glassdoor reviews. Employees also rated ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 3.7 out of 5 for work life balance, 4.1 for culture and values and 3.7 for career opportunities.

    According to reviews on Glassdoor, employees commonly mention the pros of working at ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to be benefits, career development, senior leadership and the cons to be compensation, management, diversity and inclusion.

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