Barbara Morgan, general manager at Particle Sciences discusses working in the pharma industry and why diversity is so important.
In my career, these three things have really helped me:
“Believe in your talent, don’t be afraid to take a risk on something new and know that the career dots all connect in retrospect.”
This comes from knowing I had the capability and desire to transition from the science to the commercial side of pharma and carve a career path to get there. I tried to go straight into business development from the bench but couldn’t get there at first so looked at the skills I would need. I started acquiring those and learnt many other things that I enjoyed doing along the way.
I left the bench to work at a law firm, then a venture capital firm and progressed to doing more M&A and business development work and then marketing and am now responsible for a business. I love to continually learn but always make sure that I understand the key skills that I want to get out of each experience.
I have always tried to be authentic to myself, but I make it a point to seek diverse perspectives. Evidence has shown that diversity and inclusion lead to better outcomes and this translates both from the team you have around you, but also their styles/mindsets and the way they approach challenges and opportunities.
I like balance on my teams. If you have the same opinion going around the same issue, you only see one side of it. There is a lot of creativity that can happen when you assemble a team that bring diverse perspectives but mutual respect. I am continually energised by the tremendous talent that we have on the pharma team and love that we all approach things from a different viewpoint.
“Know the difference between sponsors and mentors, and if you can, have both.”
Mentors are people you go to when you are working through problems, want to bounce ideas off, need advice or want to learn something from. Sponsors are there to make sure you get the opportunities and exposure. Lots of decisions are made when you aren’t in the room so you need someone to make sure you are getting the right experiences and can facilitate that for you. But then you have to deliver!