Can you give a shout-out to someone who helped you at a pivotal time in your career?
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity and the great fortune to be mentored by exceptional leaders in pharma. Lori Kaplan, Rose Crane, Kristine Peterson, Tony Coles and Myrtle Potter, all of whom helped me identify my strengths and passion to pursue whiteboard initiatives. Without the guidance and mentorship of these individuals, I may not have found the path to my rewarding and unconventional career. In some pivotal moments of my career, I was encouraged to explore, pilot, and refine a path pursuing cause marketing, DE&I efforts, patient and caregiver advocacy, and stakeholder management.
How has the pandemic reset the rules on your work-life balance?
The pandemic caused me to reevaluate what my responsibilities are to my colleagues and my team. I realized what was needed most of me as a leader was to be understanding, compassionate and flexible. I pivoted to incorporate more one-on-ones and became intentional to check on how people were doing. We made it a point during team calls to allow space to share experiences and support each other. I was also inspired by the broader public need to find mental health resources and support, leading us to launch a “Building Mental Resiliency” video series to help others navigate their needs.
Share a moment when you left your comfort zone; what did you learn?
I was pushed out of my comfort zone when I started working in a global capacity. Through this experience, I learned from global, regional and affiliate colleagues and thought leaders outside the U.S., about the importance of immersing myself in various markets to truly understand and appreciate landscape dynamics. I learned about healthcare in various geographic settings, how country leaders make healthcare decisions and the laws that regulate practices at the country and region levels. Most importantly, I gained a deeper appreciation of DE&I from a broader perspective and how it extends beyond cultures and borders, but also to neurodiversity.
What do you find frustrating about working in healthcare marketing?
Our industry’s goal is to serve individuals who need our innovations to help make their lives better. This is what drives me to continue to connect, collaborate and create with all the communities we serve. I find it most frustrating when I see the negative perception from the public about healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing as an industry, and how that perception trickles down to the individuals working in it. As a leader of the Patient Advocacy and Stakeholder Management team, I know how mission-driven and people-centric this industry is and I wish that was better understood.
What are you doing to send the career ladder back down?
I am a firm believer in the value of mentorship, and I have the honor of mentoring colleagues from both my current and previous organizations. My approach to mentorship relies on experiential learning. I have always found it most impactful to provide guidance, but still allow people space to learn from their experiences, their successes and their failures. I am always honored when I am asked to serve as a mentor and find it also helps me understand the evolving interests and pursuits of those who are in their early or mid-career.
What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
Many colleagues might be surprised to learn that I was not born in the U.S. I was born in Seoul, Korea, where my father was active in the U.S. Army and my mother worked for the South Korean military. My early memories of living in a developing country, with an extended family, and navigating through both the U.S. (on base) and Korean cultures was a great foundation for my move to the U.S.
Recount an experience with the healthcare system, positive or negative, that inspires you.
During my freshman year at Virginia Tech, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. My mom, an immigrant from Korea who spoke with a heavy accent, struggled with the bureaucracy of managing his care and often faced discrimination. This was a time when our understanding of cancer was still in its nascent stages, and without warning, it became my responsibility to be my dad’s advocate. From this experience I developed the passion that drives me today, to listen to our constituents and find ways to communicate complex healthcare information in a way that is accessible and understandable to all communities.
Favorite TV show/movie/song/book?
As an avid reader, this is a tough question for me! I would have to say that the most impactful book I’ve read is Think Again by Adam Grant. In a world (and an industry) that constantly changes and evolves, being an impactful leader requires more than just being intelligent and charismatic. Being a leader of today requires that you are able to rethink, reevaluate, and relearn — and then apply this to your work. Adam Grant’s framing of this is profound, yet digestible, and I cannot recommend his work enough.