By G. Gwyn, Conference Attendee
HBA leaders give insight into how women can define and create their own path to managing a successful career and personal life.
The popular article, Why Women Still Can’t Have it All, written in the Atlantic this year, raised an important issue that being a female’s in today’s U.S. culture has a set of demanding challenges. More females entered the workforce due to a multitude of reasons reaching from financial necessity to ambition. The previous cultural norm, which had moms at home raising the kids, began breaking down as women began entering the workforce.
As women’s rights gained attention, females increasingly began to take on jobs that were previously monopolized by males. Many females not only realized they were great at these jobs and often better than the males, but they also felt intrigued by the intellectual challenges involved in applied business solutions. Growing female contributions to society produced through business structure expanded their influence on the world far beyond the boundaries of the child-bearing housewife reputation.
ORLANDO – To find the secrets to balancing demanding careers with healthy home lives, who better to ask than the movers and shakers who attend the annual Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Leadership Conference?
At the most recent conference last month in Orlando, several female executives shared how they are not only surviving, but perhaps even pioneering ways to achieve the work-life balance that eludes so many.
Conversations with leaders such as Roslyn Schneider, senior director of medical affairs for the cardiovascular team at Pfizer; Karen Hough, founder and chief executive officer of ImprovEdge; and Maya Townsend, founder and lead consultant of Partnering Resources, revealed a consensus that big keys to success are planning, strategy and support.
These conversations also underlined the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all model. The more personalized a plan can be, the more tailored it is to the individual’s life, and the deeper self-knowledge it reflects, the better that plan’s chances of success, these leaders agreed.
Also factors, they said, are wise leveraging of the specialized knowledge of others, and smart use of technology, especially in the area of collaboration.
Hough said whatever female executives do, they shouldn’t skimp on time with their families. One way to avoid this is to bring them along on the professional journey, she said.
“My kids and husband have traveled with me, helped me prepare, tested exercises and given me ideas,” Hough said. “It creates a supportive whole world for me.”
For Schneider, she said she needed to stop thinking of her value in terms of corporate politics and instead to focus on what needs to be done and how to get it done. She has also begun tailoring work groups for the project, regardless of people’s titles or status within the company, she said.
True leaders don’t require permission to lead, she said.
Getting some tips
Schneider had plenty of advice for women seeking success both at work and at home. She suggests that women:
- Decide what they want for the short and long term.
- Surround themselves with people who understand and support them.
- Make no apologies for their personal and professional dreams, or how they hope to connect or separate them.
- Remember that careful planning of their careers and families can’t account for unpredictability on either front.
- Above all, stay flexible and re-assess often to keep their collective goals in sight.
Townsend said her professional goals influenced her views on whether to have children.
“I have never been particularly set on having my own children,” she said, “because I, in fact, don’t want to give up my work.”
She and her partner of 17 years, therefore, decided to adopt a child between 7 and 12, so they can continue working while the children go to school.
“Giving birth is not the only way to have a child,” she said.
The larger lesson she said in her own figuring out how family would intertwine with her professional goals was learning to discern what she really wanted.
“For me this included a life filled with love and surrounded by kids, but [that] didn’t need to be the traditional family route,” she said.
Townsend also said female executives can’t forget to network.
“Make sure you keep your network alive, so when you really need it, it will be there for you,” she said “Realize you can be a mentor to yourself and give to your connections, so they will give to you as well.”
Schneider and Townsend agreed that some barriers are real and forbidding, including those related to time and time management. To mitigate these challenges, they recommend deliberate and strategic delegation, which requires recognizing the talents of colleagues.
By delegating, a leader isn’t only encouraging leadership in others, but she is freeing up her own time to focus on other projects. And showing faith in people can unlock potential and reveal unique talents and abilities.
A barrier: The leaders themselves
Townsend said she knows that there will always be people who are better than her at certain things, and that this realization led her to focus on being her own personal best rather getting caught in an unhealthy competition.
Though by nature an introvert, for example, Townsend said she signed up for public speaking classes when she realized that public speaking would be an important aspect to running her own business.
Customize your own plan
Hearing insight from women who have found a way to create success in both their career and their personal life can inspire others to create their own plan for success. These leaders demonstrate that it’s important to customize your own approach and create supportive environments to sustain desired goals. Although challenges will continue to arise, an important take away from these leaders at the conference is that they believe in themselves as well as believe that having the life they want is entirely possible.
Quintiles Early Talent Internship Program Hosts Over 430 Interns in 2012
Quintiles strengthens partnerships with key universities through targeted recruitment informational sessions to students
CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Oct. 5th, 2012
Quintiles Early Talent Internship Program celebrates unprecedented success in 2012 by hosting over 430 talented students globally, almost double the number of interns in 2011.
Recently, Quintiles business leaders from the company’s headquarters in North Carolina led two informational sessions with students at UNC-Chapel Hill. As part of an on-going strategy for the Quintiles Early Talent Program, the company regularly organizes interactive events at select universities in order to attract future intern, entry level and specialized knowledge candidates. Quintiles representatives explain why the organization is a great place to work why it continues to be the industry leader. The thoughtful insights provided at both recent events are exemplary of how Quintiles leaders are dedicated to giving back to their schools, the community, and staffing Quintiles with quality talent.
On Thursday, Oct. 4th, Eric Faulkner, Director of Global Market Access, joined Melissa Hopkins, Director of Global Talent, at The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (GSGPH) to present to students. Faulkner is an alumnus of GSGPH and currently works as an Assistant Professor at UNC’s School of Pharmacy while concurrently active in Quintiles Consulting division. Faulkner shared insight with the students about how his education transferred to the clinical research industry and spoke about what it’s like to work in the consulting division at the world’s leading clinical research company. Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students asked questions about the future of medicine and what the emerging trends in public health look like. Hopkins followed with details on the Quintiles Early Talent Program, emphasizing the Internship aspect.
On Friday, Oct. 5th, UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Healthcare Club students visited Quintiles headquarters where organization leaders and previous school alumni Dustin Gross, Alyssa Kishore-Williams, and Todd Kasper led an interactive panel. Each leader brought a unique perspective on how to make sense of Quintiles mission in healthcare. Hopkins followed up with a reprise of her Early Talent pitch conducted at GSGPH. Student questions spanned many topics, including an inquiry about the culture at Quintiles.
Discovering the value of growing up with diversity while traveling in India
Target audience: Those interested in Chapel Hill, travel enthusiasts, and who want to understand the benefit of living in a community with access and exposure.
Abstract: My experience in India revealed how my hometown was a defining factor in my life perspective, my fondness of travel and highlights the benefits of embracing diversity.
A strong stench of waste came in waves throughout the train ride form Chennai to New Delhi. I looked out the window at landscapes of garbage where emaciated cows and hungry people rummaged. Abandoned shabby buildings sporadically appeared as the train rolled on. Turning my attention back into the train interior didn’t provide any relief. A beggar pulled himself up to our seats with his arms dragging his limp legs behind him. His clothes were tattered and dirty and his eyes red with blood. I gripped my cell phone and took note of how white my t-shirt seemed to be against the surroundings. While I experienced the disconcerting atmosphere, contemplating the faraway place where I remembered my family, a warm bed, a happy dog, a full closet, and my favorite restaurant, started to reveal my polarization from India. The picturesque town of Chapel Hill with bright blue skies and clean brick pathways was now close in reach. I couldn’t touch it, I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t very well go get in my bed, yet I was mentally attached to it all. A disturbing feeling came over me and I suddenly realized that I was now the vulnerable one. Where I come from, living in the moment is a luxury that someone with time and resources can pursue through quiet and meditation. Here, to live in the moment is a forced state of existence, a necessary skill to survive in an environment where the landscape challenges every moment.
I grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, home to the University of North Carolina, an academic environment that has the constant liveliness of student presence. The University’s resources provide access to libraries, a planetarium, guest speakers, distinctive cultural and music events, unwavering sports camaraderie and a sincere respect for the arts. The small population of the town allows for intimate local community ties, while simultaneously entertaining thousands of minds in academic and creative pursuits.
My family took advantage of the extensive access to diverse information and experiences available. Adorned in that beautiful Carolina blue color, we loyally attended Tar Heel basketball and football games as a common ritual. I knew Christmas would be there soon when it was time to go see The Nutcracker at the Playmaker’s Theatre again. I can still picture the elaborate rat queen’s Gothic costume and hear the actor’s feet making pitter-pats on the wooden stage as they pranced. In rural and country living, usually one can expect to associate in a community of similar race, religion, perspectives, and language, whereas a more connected town or city often acts as a cultural melting pot and the community is more likely to interact with varied visual ethnicity, unalike perspectives, hear universal languages, and experience contact with all type of religions. The well-connected town of Chapel Hill is a major factor in shaping who I am today. Starting in preschool, my friends differing ethnicity were visually apparent, but I have no memory of it creating any contention. The white cloth robes worn by clergy in Christian ceremonies my family attended made them stand out from the rest of us. The strong smell of incense in Buddhist chanting ceremonies was overpowering. Watching political activists unexpectedly parade through the streets, stopping traffic, made me wonder if there was anything I personally felt so strongly about that I would parade with a sign and my head held high.
I always knew that whatever adventures I would go on, that my community in Chapel Hill would welcome me home and provide a familiar warm feeling. My happy welsh terrier always greeted me at baggage claim with enthusiasm upon a flight home. As I rode the familiar streets into town, my phone would begin to get text messages from friends. The familiarity of the smells of my house gave me ease. I could probably drive our steep windy driveway with my eyes closed. I know my home and the town so well. This grounds me and gives me insight into my own identity. And by exploiting the close proximity to an international airport, I was also able to experience numerous cultures and differing life perspectives throughout my formative years. Through exposure and accessibility, I gained a sense of the importance of what home meant to me and how the freedom of choice propels imagination and endless curiosity.
My memories of home stuck close with me and were a source of strength through my embarrassing vulnerability. This vulnerability came out of knowing that I wouldn’t last long should I be thrust into survival there. Although my disconnect was apparent, it was here that I realized a greater understanding of “the greater the differences between people, the greater the strength of the individual.” The perspective that our differences make us all stronger was embedded from my home community. This viewpoint encouraged me to change my perspective and seek understanding, rather than judging and to look for the strength in people’s eyes. These are ways I am able to actively make the world a better place. The most important part is that it’s a choice to do so.
and other bumper stickers
The bottom line reveals many writers condemn clichés
Out of the box thinkers label them lazy and feeble
Yet it’s Orwell’s argument that is worth it’s weight in gold
Like cockroaches in the cupboard, clichés quickly infest a careless mind
All you have to do is believe because one size fits all
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
I can only see a part of the picture he’s painting
One by one clichés build bricks in the wall
The wisest fools you’ll see beg to differ
What luck for rulers, that men do not think
One can blame clichés, but in the end
It’s everyone’s choice to throw caution to the wind
(A short poem using nothing but (or mostly) clichés, using Muldoon’s poem, Symposium as inspiration.)
Re-Thinking Your Rules
The Dalai Lama XIV stated: “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” Do you know your own rules? What’s the hardest one for you to break? Some Research Triangle Park, NC members of Quintiles Women Inspired Network recently attended a luncheon hosted by Raleigh Chamber of Commerce in which Jill Flynn, author of Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking That Block Women’s Paths to Power, presented her tactics on women’s leadership. Jill’s production is an example in itself of how she and her team walk their talk. She expressed, “We have a dream. It is a big vision…it is a leap…and it is audacious: we want to see women make up at least 30 percent of the top leadership positions in corporate America within the next ten years.” She spoke with meaning, clarity, and confidence, while engaging the audience with her captivating stories.
One of the most inspiring aspects of Flynn’s presentation was the way her message put the responsibility of career advancement into one’s own hands. Instead of blaming sexism, discrimination, or other reasons for women’s historically slower career progression, she instead proposed that females themselves have rutted behavioral and thought patterns that keep them from reaching higher levels. She addressed ways in which to recognize your own patterns and then proactively break them down for positive change. Her message offered a balance of recognition of one’s past behaviors with current reality, and then offered ways to personalize solutions for advancement of the future.
For the female mind to initially hear propositions such as – take center stage, proceed until apprehended, project personal power, be politically savvy, and play to win – some hesitations arise because many intelligent women find it inherent to nurture and assist others rather than themselves. These hesitations, however, are just what Jill Flynn desires to see. They reveal the early stages of leaving one’s comfort zone. Her controversial statements demonstrate the way she grabs people’s attention and encourages a new perspective. Jill is not eliminating compassion, but emphasizing energy and confidence. For example, instead of being on either end of the extremes of modest and arrogant – rather project your personal power, take credit for your ideas, and carry yourself with assurance. Claire Beard, Sr CTA at Quintiles, stated this thought transition well: “Admittedly, I was hesitant about how open I might be to ‘take center stage’ or ‘play to win’. My instinct to put others first came to the forefront. However, after hearing Jill’s motivating presentation, I realized it’s not about changing who you are or what you value. Breaking your own rules is about being proud of who you are and not being afraid to highlight your accomplishments.” When was the last time you sat down and reflected on all the great milestones you’ve accomplished?
One of my favorite idioms states, “The only difference between a rut and a grave is how deep.” Jill’s strategy offers a way to re-wire one’s negative ruts by using the double edged sword of habits by converting negative ones into advantageous ones. Do you want to re-wire your brain to speak up, learn to say “no” when you need to, and generate a network of advocates working in your favor? Start by getting to know your rules well… then break them before you dig a grave. Plus, it’s fun!