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Pay it Forward - Women in Pharma Series

Alayna Russell
Women in Pharma banner - ISPE Pharmaceutical Engineering

Participants gathered for the Women in Pharma breakfast on day 2 of the 2017 ISPE/FDA/PQRI Quality Manufacturing Conference, held 5 – 7 June. Women in Pharma Chair, Fran Zipp, CEO and President, Lachman Consultants and ISPE Board member, welcomed the audience of more than 100 attendees for a panel on “Bringing Education to Gender Parity.” There were such powerful exchanges of knowledge and experience during this breakout session that we felt it was beneficial to share. In the third installment of this 12-month series on giving back, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce a core mission of Women in Pharma: Paying it forward—especially with personal and professional goal planning looming in the new year.

Pay it Forward—Be a Mentor

Are you a mentor? If no, why not? If yes, can you be doing more? For those on the fence, let’s define a mentor. He/she is an experienced and trusted advisor. From my perspective as a mentee, you are the sounding board to bounce ideas off, the encouragement to keep me going and a role model to emulate.

Okay, so you fit the criteria. Now, you may be asking yourself, why would I want to be a mentor? What’s in it for me? First, the business tangibles: profitability and productivity. Internal mentoring contributes to higher job satisfaction, leadership development, and overall positive culture. Next, the personal gain: by sharing lessons learned, you are not only sharing knowledge and expertise, but you are also doing an honest, postmortem review of a situation. It forces you to personally address what worked and what didn’t, ultimately strengthening your own skills.

By being a sounding board, you are keeping your ears open to what’s going on—new trends, new challenges, and let’s be honest, listening to things affecting younger generations.

By offering encouragement, you become an influential figure in the mentee’s career. If you mentor one person, you change the world for him or her, and in turn, you feel like you did something that matters.

By being a role model, it’s not just your words, but your actions that provide influence. Yes, it does mean that you are always under a magnifying glass, but what’s better than instilling your drive and passion into the next generation? Shannah Falcone, Director for Strategic Accounts at CRB, shares, “The role models who I strive to emulate exude authenticity. That authenticity, to me, is the most important characteristic of outstanding mentors and the foundation of true success.”

In a room full of pharmaceutical executives, presidents, directors, etc., not once did I hear the excuse that I was fully anticipating: No time for that! Instead, everyone wanted more information about how to help and how to be matched with a mentee. As an impressionable mentee, I found this encouraging. There is no need to be intimidated by pharmaceutical leaders’ years of experience, the titles they hold, and the time they don’t have. Ask around, network and talk to people; a partnership will form organically.

Register for the ISPE 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo to connect with the Women in Pharma (WIP) community at some of the WIP activities:

  • Sunday, 29 October 1300–1400 Featured Session Women in Pharma: Career Strategies for Early Career Professionals
  • Sunday, 29 October 1415–1515 Own Who You Are: Women in Pharma
  • Tuesday, 31 October 1045–1215 “Don’t Let it Out!” A Practical Approach to Containment in Sterile Manufacturing Facilities

Support Women in Pharma and Get Involved! Stop by the ISPE Booth in the Expo Hall to learn more about the Women in Pharma Community. Donations of $5 or more will receive an exclusive Women in Pharma pin. Every dollar will be contributed to a scholarship fund supporting future opportunities for women in the industry.