Sarilyn Johnson-Carter fuels innovation as Bio-Rad U.S. Clinical Diagnostics Sales Director

July 24, 2018
Sarilyn Johnson-Carter, Sales Director
U.S. Clinical Diagnostics Group,
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.


I have been with Bio-Rad as Sales Director, U.S. Clinical Diagnostics Group, for approximately two years. Prior to Bio-Rad, I worked for Abbott for more than 25 years, primarily in Diagnostics, but in several of their other medical business franchises as well.


I have a BS degree in Microbiology from Louisiana State University (LSU), advanced coursework in Biomedical Sciences from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and I have multiple leadership and business certifications.


I have been an active supporter of various community organizations in places where I have resided and relocated with my family, including Louisiana, Texas, California, Illinois, and Puerto Rico. My interests and hobbies include sports, music (jazz), and travel. I am grateful to a large network of friends, mentors, colleagues, and family, who have given my life purpose, supported my career progression, and kept me on track over the years.

Please describe the career path that has led you to your current position. I started by being a lab customer, and I think that is the experience that has been the most valuable for me. Then, as my career developed further, I worked in technical, operations, and commercial roles. I’m most proud of the impact I’ve made managing and building highly functioning teams. The output includes improvements in efficiency, customer satisfaction, sales growth, new products launches, product and solution development, and enhanced business relationships.

What are some of your primary responsibilities? I am responsible for U.S. sales, representing Bio-Rad’s Clinical Diagnostics Group, leading a team of more than 125 sales, technical, and business development professionals. Our team delivers highly valued and market-leading quality control, autoimmune, immunohematology, diabetes, newborn screening, and other products and services to laboratories across the United States.

In your view, what skills, professional and interpersonal, are vital for a manager in a position like yours? How can “leadership” be defined and measured? The most important interpersonal skills that I have are passion and open/direct communication. My energy and passion come from being authentic, loving what I do, and being a champion for change to achieve the best personally, with our team, and with our customers. People respect my honesty; they hear exactly what I am thinking and my expectations, perceptions, and ideas.

I think that the three most important skills for effective leadership in this position are, first, strategic planning, to serve our customers better and grow and launch new products; second, communication, to drive alignment with the needs of our customers across our organization and inspire and motivate our employees to achieve our vision; and third, learning and collaboration to improve our capabilities by driving change.

What role do you play in managing product launches? Can you give examples? My role in managing product launches involves the execution. For example, after the R&D stage and obtaining FDA approval for a product, our marketing team will have a launch strategy for commercial execution of the product launch. The four essential elements to first-year launch success are being: 1) technically prepared; 2) well-aligned with customer needs; 3) flexible with contingency plans; and 4) consistent in messaging multi-channel promotion and communication.

The clinical lab industry is facing regulatory, reimbursement, and other challenges today. How do these impact your efforts on behalf of Bio-Rad and its customers? The clinical laboratory industry continues to face price and laboratory consolidation pressures every year. These challenges impact a diagnostics company’s ability to justify the value of higher-quality products as customers seek lower prices and sometimes compromise their criteria due to budgetary constraints. In this type of environment, technical differentiation becomes more challenging. And companies like Bio-Rad may find it more difficult to gain a return on investment for newly developed technologies and products.

One challenge the industry faces is the aging lab workforce and the resulting shortage of skilled laboratorians. How can current and future technologies address this problem? Most IVD companies are deploying technology that does a good job of automating many of the manual, labor-intensive processes, as well as managing the replenishment of consumables and anticipating any potential issues that might be faced when a less experienced labor force may be operating equipment. Additionally, the evaluation, analysis, and management of test results across sites and methods can be enhanced with advanced IT solutions.

Future technologies will need to be even more user-friendly, error-proof, and adaptable to fit the needs of all access points to healthcare including physician office, direct-to-consumer, point-of-care and laboratories. And more focus on risk management, through enhanced quality assurance programs, may also be required to minimize the potential for an incorrect result to be reported by less skilled workforces.

We noticed that the IH-1000 Automated Immunohematology Instrument was getting a lot of attention from attendees at the AACC conference. Can you tell us more about the benefits this solution offers to clinical labs? The IH-1000 system includes the IH-1000 automated instrument, a wide range of gel cards, associated reagents, and IH-Com software for managing data and patient results and connections to the laboratory information system (LIS). The IH-1000 instrument is designed for rapid sample processing with continuous access, and it incorporates a number of important safety features. Together, these solutions offer our customers efficient and reliable results for blood grouping, reverse grouping, phenotyping, cross matching, antibody screening, antibody identification, direct AHG tests, and single antigen screens

Bio-Rad is an industry leader in Quality Control. How do labs use QCNet and other QC solutions? Laboratories can improve patient test results and cost effectiveness with Bio-Rad’s extensive quality control products, quality control data management solutions, and industry-leading interlaboratory comparisons. With four different QC data management programs, Bio-Rad meets every laboratory’s unique QC analysis requirements. Bio-Rad offers laboratories the ability to have their test system’s QC data connected to the Unity Interlaboratory Program and obtains monthly and/or Instant QC reports to compare with the world’s largest community of quality control users. is the leading quality control portal on the Internet. Laboratorians can use this portal to gain access to their Unity Peer group, Instant QC, and EQAS reports, Quality Control education, QC training materials and many other laboratory tools. For examples, these tools include Linearity Web, Urinalysis logs and a barcode label generator, etc.