WIB-Greater Boston kicked off 2019 in January with a stellar event featuring a panel of accomplished executives hosted by the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge.
The evening’s theme, “Lift as you Climb: Women Supporting Women for the Success of Industry,” focused on the merits of women supporting each other at the individual level, organizational level and at the level of the larger ecosystem.
Our esteemed panelists were:
• Revathi Rammohan, CFO, Novartis/NIBR
• Karin Briner, VP & Global Head of Chemistry, Novartis/NIBR
• Aoife Brennan, President, CEO & CMO, Synlogic
• Donna Higgins, CEO, The Higgins Group, Inc.
Despite their diverse backgrounds, the panelists agreed that as women support each other, the climb actually accelerates and becomes more meaningful. Each of the panelists serves as a mentor or sponsor to the next generation of leaders with the acknowledgment that this relationship is not only crucial for the mentee’s career advancement but is mutually beneficial.
An illuminating discussion emerged that emphasized the importance of thoughtful career planning, during which each panelist shared how her personal life impacted her career, and vice versa. They encouraged future female leaders to learn as much as possible about a company and its culture before taking a new position and advised that they would be well-served to build a network outside of their current job. A nuanced discussion ensued where the panelists acknowledged that we all possess unconscious bias and the need for women to be aware and to actively work to dispel any potentially false assumptions. One area that was noted was the difficulty with the “climb” past a certain level and the tendency for competent women to be viewed as operational rather than strategic.
During an engaging question and answer session, audience members shared their experiences while expressing gratitude to the panel. The WIB-Greater Boston chapter is also grateful for the panelists and to our host for a stellar kick-off event for 2019.
Many thanks to NIBR’s Cambridge Women’s Resource Group (CWRG) for sponsoring this event and helping to publicize it. CWRG’s objectives are to:
• Promote the Diversity & Inclusion vision, goals and values of Novartis that will lead to enhancing the professional growth and development of its members through Career Development, Community Alliances, Mentoring, Networking, Leadership, Work-Life Synergy, and Seminar Series.
• Provide a forum that will encourage discussion and enhance awareness of issues that affect women in the Novartis workplace
• Provide communication about Novartis internal resources and initiatives
• Assist in the attraction and retention of talent
• Support all women within NIBR, Translational Medicine, Development in Cambridge regardless of position.
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