Stay Open, Curious, and Committed to Your Values
Sometimes you don’t know the moment your life is going to change. At 22 years old, I found myself in the US Airways lounge being interviewed by a rather intimidating 6’6” South African for a position at a pharmaceutical company. I was in my senior year in college and had thought that, once I graduated, I would work as an EMT to save money for medical school.
I planned to be a physician. In fact, I can’t recall ever considering anything else for a career. But that plan came to an abrupt halt when a neuroscience alum suggested I submit my resume to the company she was working for. I figured it would bring me that much closer to being able to afford medical school; I never thought I’d fall in love with the work. It was between me and one other candidate. The imposing regional director looked up from my resume and noted that he too had played rugby. He had been a forward. I was currently the fullback on my college team. That seemed to have sealed the deal. He knew that I had what it would take to succeed.
I always loved science. At a young age, I would become completely absorbed by a medically related TV show. When I wasn’t doing that, I was running around the woods behind my house being endlessly fascinated by the animals, bugs, and trees around me. I was curious about the workings of living things and had a deep desire to learn more and use that learning to help people. I never thought I’d end up in biopharma. In fact, I sometimes joke that biopharma chose me rather than the other way around.
However, once I arrived, I found endless opportunities to learn, grow, and advance, while remaining true to my passion for science and helping people—specifically, improving patient outcomes, which I get to do every day. I’ve also been able to mentor other women coming up in the organization and am a passionate advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
From working on first-in-class pipeline assets, and shaping clinical trial designs and commercialization strategies, to running patient ambassador programs for people living with chronic disease, I look back on that moment in the airport as a blessing. I never thought it would lead me to the realization of my calling. By remaining true to my passion for people and science, I can help inspire others to remain true to their hearts and, by doing so, help build a better world for all of us. By remaining open, curious, and committed to your values, there is no limit to how far you can go.