As part of our ongoing Leadership Ready Seminar Series, WIB-Boston convened a round-table of esteemed women who shared insights about how to guide your career and transition with intention. Our panelists included:
• Christine Guertin, Head of Regulatory Affairs, Synlogic, Inc.
• Jessica Goodman, Ph.D., Director of Corporate Alliances, Harvard University
• Suzanne Giordano, Ph.D., Executive Director and Head of Medical Science Liaisons, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals
• Michelle Mellion, M.D., Medical Director, Fulcrum Therapeutics.
• Moderator: Jennifer Chadwick, Ph.D., Director of Biologic Development, BioAnalytix, Inc.
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An introduction to Career Transitions
Panelists each shared their own personal journeys – at times intentional and other times not. They each believe that as women, career transitions never occur in a vacuum - they involve other people who are part of the equation, such as significant others or children. The panel also highlighted obstacles, such as how women are often perceived to be a support person, especially when transitioning to higher corporate levels. They advised that during such transitions, it’s important to understand people’s perceptions and deliberately work to change them.
How to Prepare for Transitions
• Always be mindful of where the gaps of are in your CV and find opportunities to fill them. Don’t worry about where you’re going (you’ll figure out where you need to go), but as long as you are moving forward in some way, you are bettering yourself.
• Think about the transition in a structured way: who and what you utilize to prepare
o Make a list of potential people who can help you: reach out to those in positions you seek to attain to understand what they are doing and how you may expand your skill set in that direction.
o Visualizing on paper often brings a different perspective, and making a pro and con list may be helpful.
• Don’t forget the importance of networks: new opportunities often come from old contacts, and in addition, use your network to de-risk.
Emotionally Digesting Career Transitions
All panelists agreed that “forward is not always a straight path,” and advised the audience to be thoughtful and deliberate to understand and set expectations during an initial phase of a transition.* As women, we are in charge of our own decisions – after a decision is made, avoid conducting a post-mortem on the decision and analyzing what went wrong – instead we should have confidence in ourselves and move on. Finally, the panel left the audience with a final word of advice: “Do your passion: wake up to something you want to do every day and if you do that, you’re making the right decision.”
*The first 90 days book
The audience was engaged and grateful for the advice learned from each individual panelists' personal journey. The WIB-Greater Boston chapter thanks the panelists and also our host Fish and Richardson, LLP for a wonderful fall event.