Why did you get into this industry?
Complete luck and serendipity. I graduated from college with a marketing degree after studying nursing, and I had no idea what I could do with that combination. A recruiter said, “Hey, what about the pharmaceutical industry?” I said, “What about the pharmaceutical industry?” and never looked back.
Where did you get started?
My first job was scheduling grand rounds for pharma. At that company, I stalked the CEO and figured out what time he came in. I showed up one morning with coffee and a bagel for him and said, “Do you have 20 minutes? I want to talk to you about my career.” I didn’t even know what a career was, but I knew he had one.
Who helped you out along the way?
My first boss said to me, “I can’t wait for you to make a mistake.” What I realized is that she wanted me to be comfortable with imperfection, because being able to accept mistakes meant I could take risks, which is how one learns.
Any interesting events or stories that changed your career?
There are two phrases that seem to have shaped my career: “Our agency needs …” and “We have never had …” The first time someone approached me saying those words led to the first of many wonderful and unexpected jobs that I had never done before. I jumped at these opportunities because I was comfortable with uncertainty and knew that I didn’t have to have all the answers.
Many times, there may be a career path that might not be the one you could imagine for yourself. If you don’t keep your eyes open and stay willing to learn, you may miss the turns that could lead you somewhere great.
Wish you could have done something differently?
I imagined that I might be like Charlie’s Angels putting away the bad guys, but when I tried to join the Marines through an ROTC program, I was too short. I also considered being a nurse. Thank goodness I am not a nurse — the world is a safer place because of it.
What I have learned is that I can be of service, and carry the flag for others, every day. I am grateful for opportunities to mentor others, give back to my community and work in an industry that helps bring therapies and services to people who need them most.
When did you know you were in the right place?
I always know when I am not in the right place. I know when it’s not a fit. If I pause and listen to that little voice, I know if I am not in the right place when I am not happy to go to work. It excites me to work with people who I respect, producing work that I am proud to put my name on and that intellectually challenges me and feeds my soul. And I’ve recognized the importance of finding my people, those whose purpose and values align with mine inside and outside of work.
Did you consider other professions?
Who doesn’t want to be a rock star? More specifically, an indie singer, sitting on a stool with my banjo and a closet full of really flowery skirts. But I can’t sing worth a damn and my violin has been in the closet for years. The last time I tried to play it, I got a hand cramp.
I considered so many professions: teacher, nurse, writer. But I believe I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and there is nothing I would rather be doing.