On the evening of May 16, 2019 at MaxCyte, WIB-Capital Region had a jam-packed agenda. Major themes from each speaker are summarized below. We also discussed MAPS Groups, which will be open for re-enrollment soon!
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Deb Bowes, Chief Business Officer, Cell Therapies at MaxCyte
Deb Bowes was an early WIB President and initiator of the MAPS program. She said that Women In Bio is a place to try things. She didn't know whether or not MAPS would succeed -- and that was okay.
Bowes mentioned that one of the reasons for MAPS was to fill a gap that exists in mentoring. Many programs focus on younger women, but support for mentoring drops off as women progress in their careers, ironically when they can need it most. She was honored to speak with the group about MAPS, which was and has continued to be successful.
Last, she emphasized the importance of taking on a leadership role with WIB. It was what took her to the next level of development, and she delights in hearing that commitment to a leadership role in WIB is heavily noticed by hiring managers.
Dr. Ofelia Olivero, Chief of Intramural Diversity Workforce Branch Center for Cancer Training at NCI
After an illustrious career in science, Dr. Olivero transitioned to other leadership roles at NIH, authoring a book titled "Interdisciplinary mentoring in Sciences" along the way.
We began by talking about what mentoring is -- and isn't. Mentoring is helping someone understand and think about what paths they may take in life or in a particular situation. It is about truly believing in someone else and their success. It is not about telling the mentee what they should do. Mentors can often be confused with supervisors, which can result in a conflict between the professional interests of the supervisor and the interests of the mentee.
The benefits of mentoring -- whether it's mentoring from someone who is more experienced or a peer -- are numerous for all parties involved. Mentees benefit from having a consistent source of guidance (though more than one mentor is often a great idea!). More surprising were the benefits to mentors -- including improving active listening skills, an improved sense of fulfillment and self work, a renewed attention and purpose to their own careers, and the opportunity at times to get up to speed with new technologies and ways of communicating.
This mutually beneficial scenario evokes a sense of gratitude in both parties. We moved on to the multiplicative effect of mentoring, which has gratitude to thank. When mentoring is working, each party has a deep sense of gratitude, which encourages a desire to "pay it forward". Dr. Olivero shared the story of the One Grain of Rice, which illustrates the power of the multiplicative effect, and provided everyone with a reminder of this lesson -- a grain of rice in an Eppendorf tube!
Erin Lawless Miller, Chief Operating Officer, Orphan Drug Unit, IQVIA
Miller has been the leader of the Silver Spring MAPS group for several years. She plans activities for the group, often engaging members of the group to lead different sessions. She shared her career journey, which heavily benefited from her commitment to professional networking. As her career progressed, she simultaneously achieved success and gave back by reaching back and mentoring to promising early-career individuals.