Women are now leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. What needs to be done to alleviate this?
It is incredibly difficult to manage both career and motherhood and I am sensitive to this. I think we often lose women due to this challenge. This topic is often brushed under the rug and we need to hit this issue head-on. I am grateful to my bosses that supported me at that point in my career by helping me to balance travel considerations and my career growth. Companies benefit from both the male and female perspective. We need to consider how to support either parent that opts to be the primary caregiver at home during the formative years so that we don’t lose them at an important inflection point in their career development. If we bring this conversation to the forefront, it will not only open up more conversations between employees and employers, but it will also help families at home better determine how responsibility can be divided.
Who was your mentor and what are you now doing to send the elevator back down?
I am grateful for two female mentors that embodied how to lead. Barbara Saltzman, who was a former boss, and Susan Butler, who was EVP of client services for the pharmaceutical services company where I worked. They both set an excellent example for me, and I never thought twice about my ability to grow and achieve as a result. They threw me into the deep end of the pool and there were many days I felt like I would drown. But I didn’t, I surprised myself, and probably them. I’ve taken these lessons to my career today, and I intentionally look for opportunities to support women who are more junior and growing their careers. If I feel that someone has the drive and a “stop at nothing” attitude, we can teach them the rest. Drive and commitment are hard (if not impossible) to teach. I would trade that for experience every day of the week. Our business is all about innovation and creating better/smarter ideas, so while experience can certainly help, from my perspective, sometimes a fresh point of view is even more valuable.
What is your golden rule at work?
Perfection is the enemy to progress. I learned this from a boss I respect a great deal and it’s so true. Sometimes you just need to get something done. You will iterate and improve over time. If you constantly wait for perfection, you get stuck and nothing gets done.
How have you coped with the unique challenges of the past 12 months?
I’ve tried to be kind to myself as much as possible. It’s not always easy, but it is so important. In this world, many of us have been on camera for 8-10 hours a day with few breaks. During off time, I try to enjoy my family more and stress less about the house and the little things that don’t matter as much.
What are the first things you plan to do when the pandemic ends?
Go to the beach without a mask on! I also look forward to dinners in restaurants, travel with family and friends, and just reconnecting in whatever the new normal looks like. We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am so grateful to the incredible field we work in, and for the science and experts that enabled the development of the vaccines so quickly.