The DRG family is coming to terms this month with the loss of one of its most beloved and influential leaders. Sarah W. Fuller, who co-founded Decision Resources and led the company for more than two decades, passed away on October 29, 2017 at the age of 68.
A pioneer in health information services and a courageous business leader, Sarah was a source of inspiration for many in the industry. Channeling her razor-sharp acumen and her nose for a deal, she led a number of business decisions that effectively laid the cornerstones for the present-day DRG organization. And while these successes alone will ensure she leaves an indelible mark on the company that she helped to create, it is the warmth and compassion with which she treated people along the way that will enhance her legacy as a great human business leader.
Sarah co-founded Decision Resources in 1990, following a buyout from Arthur D. Little, and served as the company’s President for 22 years. Throughout her tenure, Sarah was responsible for overall operations, as well as overseeing new product initiatives. Under her stewardship, Decision Resources made a number of key acquisitions including HealthLeaders-Interstudy (HLI) in 2004, Arlington Medical Resources (AMR) in 2007, and Millennium Research Group (MRG) in 2007. These deals represented the important first steps in DRG’s evolution as a global information services company.
While Sarah’s talent for identifying, acquiring and integrating business units was crucial to this expansion, it was her extraordinary ability to connect with employees that really brought the operation to life. As a natural mentor, Sarah thrived on helping others to thrive. Her strategy was simple: first, give them the tools, skills and knowledge to do their jobs; and second, give them the confidence to reach for the sky. Those who worked with her recall her ability to distill the essence of business challenges to their component parts and to relay her unique wisdom with purpose, precision and positivity.
To Sarah, this was always time well spent. She genuinely loved her employees, and looked after them always. She cared about their families, too, almost as much as she cared about her own. In fact, the company became her extended family, and she would make it her business to empower each one of them to become their best selves.
Unsurprisingly, Sarah’s magnetic presence and infectious personality made her a fun person to be around. Whenever former colleagues describe her, it’s always with great fondness, and using adjectives like “loving”, “generous”, “funny”, “intelligent”, “spontaneous”, and “adventurous”. Sarah loved to travel the world to experience new places and meet new people. Equally, she loved to celebrate the holidays with her employees and their families. It’s a well-worn cliché, but Sarah really did embrace life and she lived hers to the fullest.
“We had such great times with her,” recalls one employee.
Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters Degree from Harvard University. She was a Trustee of UPenn and served on the Board of Overseers, as well as its Huntsman and Life Sciences & Management advisory boards. She also served as President of Cultural Survival, a non-profit organization that promotes the vision, rights and voices of indigenous peoples.
Sarah is survived by her husband and two sons.