The Importance of Mentoring

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PharmaVOICE Staff

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Most of our PharmaVOICE 100 honorees say having and being a mentor are important for success in this industry. Here is what they say about the value of being a mentor to others.

Sound Bites from the PharmaVOICE 100
Our honorees talk about the importance of mentoring.

David Baker
Chief Commercial
Officer, Alcobra Pharma
I started a mentorship program that paired professionals at Shire with first-generation college students. The program started with 12 mentor-mentee pairs and has now expanded to other companies and organizations benefiting about 200 students to date. I have benefited from great mentors throughout my career and am now at the point where I want to give back by sharing my experiences to help pave the way for the next generation.

Global VP, Medical and Regulatory Affairs,
It is important to me to support young professionals, helping them to grow their careers and to find their ideal job. I enjoy mentoring and sharing the lessons that I have learned with others to help them benefit from my experience. I am proud that some of the junior people I have mentored through the years have now achieved significant status and positions in the industry.

Rakesh Dixit, Ph.D.
VP, Research and Development; Global Head, Biologics Safety Assessment, MedImmune, member of the AstraZeneca Group
It’s incredibly important to help young professionals develop the skills they need to advance their careers. I’ve learned a lot throughout the course of my career, and I am fortunate to be in a position to pass on those learnings to those I’ve mentored, hopefully helping them to avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve encountered in my career and master the skills and qualities that I’ve come to understand are important in business and science, such as prioritization and risk-taking.

Michael Gibertini, Ph.D.
Clinical Development,
INC Research
To every young person starting a career, my advice is to seek mentorship early and often.

Lisa Giles
CEO, Giles & Associates Consultancy and Optivara
We sponsor internships every year, and seek students who have ambition and acumen. They help us stay connected to young professionals, and we help them gain experience early that often shapes their career decisions. I also support and advise many women entrepreneurs through a diverse network where we brainstorm, share challenges and solutions, and benefit from our collective experience.

Margaret Helmig
Executive VP, Global Brand Lead, Ogilvy Healthworld
I enjoy helping others advance/evaluate their professional careers. As a working mother, I’ve helped many women think through what’s right for them in terms of balancing a career and a growing family. I also work with young professionals who are looking for guidance and advice. I see this as an opportunity to coach future generations of leaders and help them become the architect of their professional life.

Thomas Hospodar
Head, Global Office of Strategic Planning, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals
I believe that people add value in different ways and if they are provided with perspectives from a mentor they may be able to navigate how they can contribute more quickly. I have been a mentor in a couple of formal mentorship programs within the companies I have worked. I’ve enjoyed this experience since it helps me to give back in a more formalized way, and these programs help to build cross-company collaboration and community, which I value.

Max Kanevsky
Founder and CEO, Pinnacle 21
Mentoring is the most important part of my job. I have a clear vision of where I want to take the company and how things should be done, so helping my employees see it my way is very important. I also tend to hire a lot of young professionals, often right out of college. Sharing my experience and knowledge and seeing them absorb it like a sponge is very fulfilling.

Cynthia LaConte
CEO, Dohmen Life Science Services
Everyone has the responsibility to lead whether it’s managing a project, being a parent, or building a company. To me, being a mentor means acknowledging that all of us lead by example. People pay more attention to what you do than what you say.

Mike Menta
Chief Operating Officer, Campbell Alliance
Nothing is more gratifying or humbling than acting as a mentor to those who seek you out.  It is important to take a step back from our busy lives to help others, just as we have sought in our personal and professional lives.

Michelle Keefe
President and CEO, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions
I thoroughly enjoy helping others to achieve their career goals and to grow. I have had the pleasure of seeing many people become so much more than they thought was possible and I find that incredibly inspiring. I also became a formal mentor this year for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Metro Chapter’s Mentoring Program.

Paulo Moreira
VP and Head, Global Clinical Operations External Innovation, EMD Serono
I derive my strength from the knowledge that I am making a difference in someone’s life, whether it is an individual or a group of people. I have been very fortunate to have had people who have helped me tremendously and they may not even know just how much.  It is a way to perpetuate this gift and give back.

Chris Perkin
CEO, Altasciences
I believe the term mentor is often misused and misunderstood. I subscribe to the philosophy that good managers and supervisors at all levels provide guidance, time, understanding, and advice to their staff.  The best of these managers are sought out by others and can be considered mentors. I am not sure that any manager is qualified to credibly describe him or herself as a mentor as I believe it is a title that can only be bestowed by others.

Kirk Shepard, M.D.
VP and Head of Global Medical Affairs, Baxalta US
We have a mentor program at our company, and I am mentor to two people, not in R&D or medical, but from commercial. I am hoping that my perspective from my past path through different areas of the industry may inspire them and be of value to them in building their experience and knowledge for fruitful careers in pharmaceuticals. My most common advice to them: constantly work on your plan for building your career and experience as many types of assignments and projects as possible.

Deborah Wood
Founder, Owner, and CEO, DWA Healthcare
I have been given so much by my mentors, so I feel I have an obligation to help people reflect on what they’re learning while they’re learning it. I especially want to help women in their unique challenge of integrating their work and overcoming any institutional hurdles.

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