WEST Wisdom Blog

Starting Your Career Growth On The Right Track

Posted by Courtney Cyron on Mar 21, 2023 9:10:38 PM

WEST’s Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series has been incredibly popular. Our first Career Possibilities event of 2023 gave around 100 people the opportunity to learn about STEM communications positions from people that were currently working in that area. We’re thrilled to see the turnout for these events consistently increasing, allowing more and more STEM professionals, and STEM professionals-to-be an opportunity to prepare themselves for their next career move. 

The Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series continues in April with another installation, this time focusing on Research & Development, Discovery. We’re thrilled to have another excellent panel. This panel will feature: Antara Banerjee- Senior Director, Head Cell Engager Therapies, Takeda, Celine Han- Principal Scientist, Translational Bioinformatics, Bristol Myers Squibb, Karen Perez de Arce- Principal Scientist I, Novartis, and Jyothsna Viswesvaraiah- Director, Drug Creation, Seismic Therapeutic. This month’s panel will be moderated by Lesley Chan, the Cellular Process Development Group for Sickle Cell Disease at bluebird bio. 

This event’s panelists have shared a little insight into their careers and a few tips just to get the conversation started! 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Karen Perez de Arce- People. Being able to work with colleagues from different professional and cultural backgrounds to move forward research projects that will improve the life quality of kids and adults with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diseases is really meaningful to me. I love to work in a place where people are constantly inspired and curious but at the same time it is really fulfilling to have the chance to contribute from my area of expertise to preclinical research.

Celine Han- The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that my work as a computational biologist analyzing cancer patient data directly contributes to the advancement of oncology clinical trials and the development of cancer treatments. By applying bioinformatics and statistics to various biomarker platforms, I am able to identify mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer treatments, which ultimately benefits patient care. It's fulfilling to know that my efforts can help improve the lives of cancer patients and potentially lead to the approval of new treatments by health authorities.

What do you believe is the most important quality for recent graduates and young professions to hone into a mastered skill as they enter the working world?

Karen Perez de Arce- Have a good understanding of the different career paths and the set of skills needed to thrive on those roles. Then dedicating time to cultivate those skills and get some experience can show how thoughtful you are with your own career path.  In addition, I think it is critical to grow your network and connect with colleagues that have already successfully transitioned to the working world because that will make a difference at the moment to apply for a job.

Celine Han- Effectively communicating technical concepts to diverse audiences is critical for young professionals. Whether it's in public speaking settings or running meetings, understanding the needs and interests of one's audience and adapting communication style and language accordingly is essential. By cultivating this skill, professionals can not only convey their ideas clearly but also build strong relationships with colleagues, stakeholders, and clients across various industries.

Jyothsna Viswesvaraiah- As scientists we aspire to a bigger purpose and for me it is working towards restoring health to those living with disease. Drug development involves many teams, often a lot of moving parts and the need to anticipate and de-risk workflows along the way.  I find it rewarding to be able to work with very talented individuals to fit all the ‘pieces’ of the puzzle and start seeing the picture emerge. To take an idea from concept to the final product that can help people with disease energizes me! This is my ikigai.

What is one aspect of your work that you never expected to be as important as it is?

Karen Perez de Arce- Communication skills, it really makes the difference in the way you communicate the specifics of an experiment especially when you work with professionals from other areas that have a different vision of the experimental challenges.

Celine HanI have found that one of the most critical skills required to succeed in complex organizations is the ability to effectively collaborate and network within a matrix structure while working harmoniously with cross-functional teams. This is essential to manage complex projects, where a high degree of coordination, communication, and adaptability is required to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned and project goals are achieved on time and within budget.

What is the one piece of advice you wish you could give to your younger self? Thus, what piece of advice would you share with younger professionals now?

Karen Perez de Arce- be patient, your dream job will happen as long as you invest your time wisely. Investing time in volunteering activities and organizational skills will really make the difference, just trust the process.

Celine Han- Appreciate your strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses; Continuous learning and a growth mindset can get you far in the long run; There are multiple ways to achieve the same goal. Think outside of the box, and talk with various people across disciplines. 

Jyothsna Viswesvaraiah- Don’t be afraid to try new things and continually push yourself out of your comfort zone. What’s the worst that will happen- you fail but you learn what not to do the next time. Everyone starts somewhere! 

Our panelists are incredibly excited to be able to share insights like these with attendees on April 26th. Join us by registering for free by clicking the image below. If you’ve ever thought about moving your career in the direction of Research and Development, Discovery, you won’t want to miss out.



Topics: Leadership, Career, Community, Mentoring, Network, Job, Networking, Career Development, Career Possibilities, Speed Networking, New Opportunities, #WESTevent, STEM Women, Hiring Women in STEM

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all