Winward Academy and the Young Women In Bio-Southern California chapter co-organized a symposium at AMN Healthcare in San Diego on December 9, 2018. The event was geared toward high school students to encourage them to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers and to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Dr. Jennifer Winward, an instructor at UCSD and the founder and CEO of Winward Academy, moderated the panel discussion titled "Pathways to Success: Learn how they became leaders." Dr. Linda Strause - an instructor at UCSD, a life science executive, and a WIB board member - moderated the other panel, "Onward and Upward: Get a glimpse of what’s next."
The 12 panelists were all highly driven and successful women, ranging in careers from medical doctors, veterinarians, and pharmacists, to educators, company founders, and biotechnology executives.
All moderators and panelists encouraged teens to experiment, to find mentors for guidance, and to check in with themselves every few years to confirm that they are on the path that is right for them. “Are you happy? Are you learning? Are you enjoying the people around you?” asked Tina Liedtky, Vice President of Global Operations for Abbott. Those are the questions she asks herself regularly.
Dr. Cathy Schnabel, Chief Scientific Officer at Biotheranostics Inc., summarized the views of the panel on mentoring: “You aren’t always able to recognize the skills and talent that you have. It takes a special person in your life to tell you that you are great at something, and encourage you to pursue it. Keep your mind open; find mentors; use the resources available to you to develop your own GPS for your career.”
Panelists also spoke to the importance of learning from every experience along one’s career path and to acquiring both hard and soft skills.
In particular, Julie Ames, Vice President of Corporate Communications for BIOCOM, focused on the value of soft skills and discussed the character traits or soft skills that she relies on the most: honesty and truthfulness; integrity; responsiveness; servant leadership; poise amid chaos; creativity. In difficult times, honor, truth, ethics, and principle allow staying in a steady course, regardless of what challenges you face.
The teenagers, panelists, and moderators found the discussion motivating and inspiring, and hope to have similar events in the near future.
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