WEST Wisdom Blog

Career Possibilities & Speed Networking Series Gives Attendees More Than Hope in Their Career Change Plans

Posted by Courtney Cyron on Feb 14, 2023 6:53:50 PM

Considering a job or career change can be daunting, or it can be the most exciting life changeUntitled design (9) you plan in a year. The difference is in how you approach making your career change. You could jump in blindly and hope to stumble on the right job, hope that your new position is a good fit for you and that you find a position you can finally call your career, but hope isn’t a plan. Starting your career change process with the Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series put on by WEST and sponsored by Gilead Sciences can be. This series features panels with specialized STEM experiences. Each event gives panelists the opportunity to share about their backgrounds, experiences, and current jobs, as well as giving attendees the opportunity to network with the panelists and other STEM professionals. 

When employees start evaluating their personal and professional goals in respect to their current positions and find that they’re not quite where they want to be, what do they do next? WEST is partnering with Gilead Sciences to provide an answer to what to do next. WEST’s Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series is intended to provide excellent opportunities for those just getting started, looking to make a career change, or specialize in a particular STEM niche, to hear from panelists that have already found success in those STEM areas. The next Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking event will be February 16, 2023. 

One of the panelists for the upcoming event, Shant Salakian, shares, “...that taking that big leap of faith into a new career path will inevitably lead you to new experiences, fulfilling adventures and bring you to places you could never have imagined. You just have to take the first step.” Whether you are considering a job change because you are looking to finally get started in your true career, you are already in your career but want to grow into a new position or specialty, or have even found a new passion within the STEM fields, this series will support your professional goals.  

We’ve all heard it before, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While there is absolutely value to subject-matter knowledge in almost every role you could be considering, there is also truth to the value of your network. The Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series has been designed with this in mind. This series’ goal is to make building your network and finding potential job opportunities just a little easier for attendees. Maude Tessier, a panelist for the February 16th event, shares that she started finding her Boston-based network and job opportunities the hard way. “I moved to Boston from Canada over 16 years ago. I found my first job outside the lab by knocking on the doors (literally) of small biotechs around Kendall Square. Sometimes, you have to create opportunities for yourself and be bold.” 

The structure of each event is such that the featured panelists have an opportunity to share their own insight, tips, and experiences to all attendees first, and then have the opportunity to network with small groups of attendees afterward. This networking period is an excellent time for attendees that are targeting professional growth in a similar direction, or into a similar position as panelists to ask individualized questions and grow their professional network. While attendees still have to find their own boldness to step into this networking opportunity with confidence, WEST loves providing Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking events to help make the bold conversations a little more comfortable. 

The conversations that can result from this open networking opportunity can really be career-shifting. This gives an opportunity for professional growth seekers to ask about the type of work they’re considering, the work-life balance, whether the aspects that are enticing to a job are actually a big part of the role, and anything else on their mind. Maude Tessier explains, “I really enjoy working at the interface of science and business. Translating the science of a biotech company into a compelling pitch for pharma company and investor audiences is one of my favorite activities as CBO, hoping that it leads to a partnering deal or an investment to support more science and advance new medicines for patients.” While Shant Salakian says "the most rewarding part of my job is that I get to come to work every day to solve complex issues that will ultimately make a difference in the life of someone seeking care for a diagnosis of care." To know what a panelist's favorite part of a job is, can help job seekers understand the position better, and potentially find new career directions with aspects that they might love. The answers and insight that having the opportunity to just ask these questions can provide, can really be invaluable to someone just starting to consider a career change.

There are so many different types of positions that allow you to work at the intersection of different skill sets and industries that you may not even know exist, and having the opportunity to learn about them from people actually doing those jobs can be career-changing. The amount of career advice and networking opportunities that this series provides to people of all professional life stages is amazing. 

With a series like this, why start a career change process on nothing but hope? There is a dream job out there for everyone, and sometimes finding it can be as simple as showing up to an event, like Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking, and letting yourself truly enjoy the event. Thanks to Gilead Sciences, this series is free and virtual, so that anyone, anywhere can take advantage of this opportunity to learn about specific career paths, ask questions, grow their network, and hopefully find their way into a new position that will support their career growth and success. Join us on February 16, 2023 at 6:00 PM ET for our next Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking event with a focus on STEM Communications careers.  Panelists include Colleen Beauregard, Head, R&D Communications, Learning, Partnerships and Policy (CLPP), Takeda; Shant Salakian, Executive Director and Head of Global Oncology Therapeutic Area Communications, Gilead Sciences; Maude Tessier, Chief Business Officer, Seismic Therapeutic; and Eilidh Williamson, Freelance Medical Writer, Caledonia Biotech Consulting, LLC. The panel discussion will be moderated by Clive Patience, Executive Vice President at Agios Pharmaceuticals.

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Topics: Events, Career, Communication, Panel, Network, Networking, Upcoming Events, Career Development, Career Possibilities, Speed Networking, Advice, #WESTevent, #WESTorg, Experience

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