Taking a Risk
Two years ago, I decided to try something completely new. After hearing about my friend’s positive experience working at Foundation Medicine, I decided to take my prior experience as a coordinator in the automotive industry and bring it to the life sciences industry. Currently, I am the Associate Project Manager in the Pathology department in Foundation Medicine’s Research Triangle Park (RTP) North Carolina location, and I am loving every minute of it.
As Associate Project Manager, I oversee many ongoing projects, as well as assist with project mentoring. Some of the projects I love working on are connected to our immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing portfolio. I’ve learned so much about the end-to-end processing and the overall product from the talented members of the Pathology team and other key stakeholders involved. I’m most proud of helping launch four new IHC assays and watching the overall portfolio of testing products expand.
Most of my job involves interacting and collaborating with internal and external team members in various ways. It gives me great joy to be able to collaborate with so many intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people. I can’t emphasize enough the genuine and enthusiastic nature of my Foundation Medicine colleagues. I love coming into work every day, even during times of stress. During those challenging days, we are all able to bring it back to the patients and remind ourselves that we are helping people each day with the work that we do.
Admittedly, it was a bit intimidating coming into an industry that I didn’t know much about. However, because of the friendly and open culture at Foundation Medicine, I was encouraged to ask questions, specifically from my manager, Shakti, Director of Pathology and Senior Associate Medical Director. I continuously tell myself to actively be a sponge for new information and learn from my mentors, mentees, and fellow colleagues. It’s great to be constantly surrounded by a wealth of knowledge; it makes this job even more rewarding.
Connections That Matter
Something I tell my new hires and interns is how important it is to be an advocate for yourself. With any company growing as fast as we are, it can be difficult to get to know new people outside of your teams. Actively seeking input outside of your comfort zone is always intimidating, but I believe the risk is worth the reward.
I am a big believer in the concept of reverse mentoring, which is when both sides of a mentor-mentee relationship bring their skills to the table and learn from each other. Exchanging perspectives is crucial to constant development. How can we be expected to push forward if our knowledge palettes aren’t being challenged?
I have also learned the importance of not only knowing your team members on a professional level, but also on a personal level. When I first got here, Shakti made it a priority to ask about my professional and personal goals. It established a bond of trust between us. I always make it a point to get to know my team as individuals and place an emphasis on personal wellbeing. We cannot be as productive as a group if our individual wellbeing isn’t also being prioritized.
Recently, I’ve been building a project management interest group for employees who are interested in the project management field. These meetings provide employees with exposure to the field of project management and practices and principles they can use in their current job responsibilities. It’s wonderful to see so many people from varying departments coming together and learning things they can take into their respective roles. It shows how interconnected we all are. I also always love hearing about previous mentees of mine who go on to enter the field of project management. It reminds me how much staying connected is important and impactful.
My heart has always been most content when interacting with others. Learning with and from everyone at Foundation Medicine is something I truly enjoy. The fact that I walk into work every day excited to work, and leave learning something new, is enriching, and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and meet wonderful people while all working towards the same mission of transforming cancer care.