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CAREER TIPS Put the Pedal to the Metal: 12 Career Accelerators ISSUE 1



Awareness makes us better leaders. It enables us to be honest about our weak spots and to hire individuals who fill those gaps and complement our skill sets. Assessments beg us to take an open and objective look at whether or not we’re in the right job and on the right path. Moreover, assessments can help us to discover our passion and align us on a success trajectory.

“Self-knowledge is the foundation upon which you can build selfconfidence and success.” –Dr. Kevin Gazzara

To get ahead, you must recognize your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses as well as understand how you interact with others. A self-assessment is an invaluable tool in these regards. It will highlight personal task preferences, as well as pinpoint your learning and communication styles. (See “Assess Your Way to Success,” DIA Global Forum, vol. 1, issue 6.)

As you eye the corner office and the long climb up the corporate ladder, realize that there are no shortcuts to the top. Your path may zigzag through a combination of strategic lateral and upward moves and the road may have some unexpected curves and detours. But with the right planning and personal development you may be able to smooth out some bumps, anticipate the turns and maintain your speed so that you arrive at your desired destination on or close to schedule.

Assuming you are positioned well in a company where there is plenty of room for growth, or looking to join such a company, here are some tips and strategies to boost your climb. #1 GAIN SELF AWARENESS “Self-knowledge is the foundation upon which you can build selfconfidence and success,” maintains Dr. Kevin D. Gazzara, Senior Partner, Magna Leadership Solutions.

To the extent that early on in your career you can blend work and passion, the more successful and happier you will be, says Linda Duffy, president, Ethos Human Capital Solutions. She recommends taking the “3P” approach when deciding on a career: find a problem that needs to be solved, make it something you are passionate about and have persistence. Once you know yourself better and have pinpointed your passion, you may realize that selfassurance is not your strong suit. Here are some things you can do to change that.

#2 DEVELOP SELF-CONFIDENCE David Shirey, sales expert and author of RARE CONFIDENCE: Strategies & Inspiration to Strengthen Your Belief that You Can Achieve Anything!, singles out confidence as the most important attribute for success. “With it, you can do extraordinary things,” says Shirey, “without it, every day can be a struggle.” Confident individuals carry with them an optimistic view and go through their day doing the things that lead to success. Few are born with it, for some it has been instilled in them growing up, but, for the vast majority, confidence must be learned. Shirey suggests four steps to help you claim your self-assurance: 1. Build a mind/body/soul foundation. Keep learning and building your skills (mind); concentrate on fitness and health (body); and let what you value most guide you (soul) 2. Develop a posse of inspiration. Surround yourself with people who are

positive, successful, make you feel good about yourself and empower you to act in positive ways 3. Develop courage. Act in the face of fear and don’t be afraid to fail 4. Fake it until you make it. Behave as if you have confidence; positive results will follow and that will reinforce your self-assurance Leaders need confidence, passion and drive to inspire their teams—and they need to lead by example. #3 DELIVER EXCELLENCE Exceptional performance that goes beyond what’s expected does not necessarily guarantee you C-suite stature. However, it does send a message to higher ups that you are dedicated and have a solid work ethic. “I’m constantly asked to find candidates with a strong track record of success,” says Kevin Palisi, Managing Consultant at Korn/Ferry FutureStep and a long-time recruiter for pharma and biotech companies. “No one

TIP TO GETTING TO THE TOP: Track your accomplishments and contributions in a dated log that you bring to performance reviews.





wants to give someone a more senior role if it looks like they haven’t hit the ball out the park in their current role. Delivering excellence, whether as a sales rep or director of clinical development, is critical.” If you don’t know what’s expected, find out from your boss. Ask about the deliverables, the timeframe, the key objectives and what must be accomplished. Then, take ownership of that, execute on it and exceed goals. But, keep in mind that doing a good job is not enough. You also need to demonstrate leadership acumen.



CREDIBILITY The higher up the ladder you go, the more your job transcends dayto-day tasks and becomes about leadership, strategy, guidance and being able to work with cross-functional teams. In other words, “as you move upward, it’s becomes less about doing the job and more about leading the people doing the job,” says Palisi.

The ideal candidate for Vice President of Sales for a Pharma company will not just be a high sales performer.  He is likely to be someone who has successfully mentored and developed his people. Demonstrate strong leadership tendencies and you will advance further and faster—especially, when your accomplishments have been recognized by senior management. #5 SPEAK UP AND GAIN RECOGNITION The workplace is a competitive environment. To get noticed, you need to be heard. Kathi Elster, executive coach and co-author of Working with You Is Killing Me, suggests contributing at meetings. Even if it means rehearsing the points you want to say ahead of time. Get comfortable speaking out. The quiet observer, although a hard worker, may simply remain invisible. Don’t downplay your strengths and achievements—crow a bit. Roberta Matuson talks about strategic bragging in her book, Suddenly in Charge, and says “toot your own horn, so that you can be heard amongst a sea of cubicles.”

When it comes to being recognized, HR professionals also say to share your goals and aspirations with higher ups. Or, if there’s a special high profile team project you’d like to work on, let your boss know. Don’t be shy; be the first to put your hand in the air and say: I can do that, I have done that, I’m willing to do that. Duffy did that early on in her career. “It gave me diverse work experience and visibility within the organization. I also garnered a reputation as being self-motivated and a team player.” #6 BE AN ANALYTICAL PROBLEM SOLVER When it comes to problems, the knee-jerk reaction is to rush into finding a quick fix. “People don’t spend enough time analyzing the problem and the result is a bandaid approach,” says Gazzara. In order to provide a valuable longterm solution, he advises taking the time to thoroughly examine the problem and its root cause. Moreover, use a forward-looking lens to ask: are we solving the right problem, do we have the time, people (support), materials and skills needed to resolve it? If so, then develop and communicate the qualitative and quantitative parameters necessary for its solution. “Analytical problem solvers who work this way are valuable assets that systematically rise up through the ranks,” he asserts. However, even talented problem solvers can benefit from having someone in their corner that has been through the ropes and can show them the way.

#7 FIND A SUCCESS MENTOR “Most executives credit their advancement, in large part, to people who took them under their wing along the way,” says Palisi. Why not look for a mentor who can champion your rise to the top? Finding a mentor is so critical to career success, that DIA featured two articles in Global Forum on the topic: “Mentoring 1.0: A Partnership in Learning that Benefits Businesses and Employees” (vol. 2, issue 6) and “Mentoring 2.0: Move Your Career Forward with the Right Mentor” (vol. 3, issue 1). Remember, you want to find someone who is aligned with your personality and communication style and someone who has achieved a position (far up the line) that you are looking to attain in the future. A mentor can prepare you for what lies ahead, share some of the detours and stumbling blocks they once faced—and help you avoid similar setbacks. He or she is the voice of experience and can get you through some of the rough patches. Also, if you demonstrate talent and enthusiasm, the right mentor in your organization will campaign on your behalf and facilitate connections with those higher up.  Even executives who mentor find benefits themselves, not just for the mentee, Gazzara points out. Consider surrounding yourself with people outside the company as well. Duffy formed a “mastermind group” of individuals from different specialties who regularly get together to brainstorm, discuss business issues and share advice.

#8 MAKE THE BOSS SHINE It’s a smart strategy to help make the boss look good. President of Human Resource Solutions, Roberta Matuson, reminds us, if the boss looks good, you’ll look good--and, more importantly, when he moves up, he is going to remember those people who made him shine and he’ll bring them along. Both Matuson and Elster agree that it’s essential to help alleviate some of the pressure your boss is under. Step in daily and ask if there is something you can take off his plate or a priority you can help expedite. Sometimes, management’s priorities change so quickly that the leader has no time to communicate to his team. By inquiring, you can become his conduit for communicating to the team and hasten the job’s completion. You make your boss look good and demonstrate professionalism and leadership. Incidentally, remember to share the credit with your boss. “Naturally, no one wants to do this,” says Elster “but it goes a long way toward building trust and shows a spirit of collaboration that bosses rarely see—and definitely notice. If you want to move in and take on more of a leadership role, then you’ll need to understand how best to communicate with the team.

#9 POLISH YOUR INTERPERSONAL SKILLS In your assent to a leadership role, one of your aims is to become a persuasive communicator with the ability to influence and motivate people. For that, you’ll need to build a rapport with coworkers. “Without a doubt, the number one reason careers stall is a lack of interpersonal skills,” says Alan Allard, former psychotherapist, now a life and career coach. To increase your effectiveness and minimize communication

“Most executives credit their advancement, in large part, to people who took them under their wing along the way.” –Kevin Palisi





“Toot your own horn, so that you can be heard amongst a sea of cubicles.”


14 2

–Roberta Matuson

problems, Elster suggests: become a good listener; think before you speak; and understand that people can have different interpretations, so be willing to see things from another point of view. It’s also important to recognize what kinds of people set you off. Look at these individuals for their work product and unhook from their behavior.



Kayakers are aggressive and proactive as well as persistent in the pursuit of their goals. They have discipline, drive and passion. The kayaker has a plan and a process in mind and finds a copilot (a mentor who is invested in his or her success) to hold him or her accountable and ensure he or she stays on course.

“Either you’re green and growing or ripe and rotting,” beloved motivational speaker and success guru, Jim Rohn, often told his audiences. Whether you’re working on interpersonal skills, staying current on trends in your industry, or perfecting new proficiencies, the idea is to keep evolving. “The skills you acquire will make you more valuable to your current employer,” says Duffy, “and more marketable should you choose to leave.” Take advantage of training when offered and strive to attain both a breadth and depth of experience that you can leverage when seeking new opportunities. • Find free webinars online • Read books by the thought leaders in your industry • Sign up for relevant courses at a local college • Attend leadership seminars and workshops • Use networking environments to learn and grow • Gain experience through outside volunteering

In the business world, there are those who stagnate at their job and those who excel. Gazzara compares the former to rafters who just let the current carry them along and the latter to kayakers who take control of where they are headed, navigate keenly and avoid crashing into the rocks.

In an environment that is constantly shifting, kayakers possess three critical leadership qualities that give them the courage to push outside of their comfort zone in order to learn, grow, build self-confidence and succeed. They demonstrate resilience, embrace change and are fearless risk takers. Going into unknown territory can be a wise career move, but it can also be stressful. Learning to manage stress is one of the keys to succeeding. #12 MANAGE STRESS WITH POSITIVE ACTION The fast track and stress are often thought to go hand- in- hand. Yet there are individuals who are on that path who have learned to manage stress—and they are able to handle more challenges, setbacks and surprises, says Allard. What’s their secret?

OTHER TIPS FOR ADVANCING YOUR CAREER: • Gain international experience • Build your success story by tracking the positive impact you’ve had in each of your roles • Cultivate your competitive advantage • Line up and train your successor

Darcy Eikenberg, author of Bring Your Super Powers to Work: Your Guide to More Clarity, Confidence and Control, tells us that stress stems from the belief that we have no control. “When we take control, we reduce stress and change how we see things without waiting for the world around us to change.” She maintains that we have more control than we give ourselves credit for. And, while we can’t control everything, we can control what we say, what we do and what we believe. Change your self-talk tapes. “Stress is something we create internally,” says Allard. Pay attention to what you’re thinking. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or angry, you’re probably reacting to external circumstances. Instead of building up negative thoughts, generate positive energy through proactive action: be assertive, talk things out and find a solution.

For instance, if your boss is piling more work on your already overfilled plate, instead of getting stressed out, take action by asking to sit down with him to discuss priorities. “If you have a strong sense of self worth and confidence—and value what you bring to the table―then you are bound to take actions that earn you respect and career advancement,” Allard says.

CONCLUSION Take a good look at yourself and decide which of these twelve steps you need to focus on first. Remember, your goal is to increase your visibility, your value and your leadership potential. If you start now, in time, you will begin to see some remarkable changes in overall job satisfaction, personal empowerment and professional status.





DIA Philanthropy Program Awards 2011–2012 Grants

with a September 19th deadline for proposal submissions. Twenty proposals were received and vetted by the Selection Committee chaired by Dr. Tatsuo Kurokawa, who made final recommendations to the DIA Board of Directors at their November 2011 meeting. The DIA 2011–2012 Philanthropy Grant awardees, and their proposed projects, are:


• International Alliance of Patient Organizations: IAPO 5th Global Patients Conference • Parkinson’s Disease Foundation: Clinical Research Learning Institute



• Alstrom Syndrome International: The Alstrom Syndrome Handbook

The DIA Philanthropy Program is the means by which DIA supports charitable causes that benefit the public and helps to fulfill the mission, vision, and social responsibility of the Association as a nonprofit Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable, educational, and scientific organization. Charitable causes include education through the exchange of information and ideas for the improvement of society through greater access to, and the proper and appropriate usage of, pharmaceutical products.

DIA’s educational efforts also encompass better understanding of the health and economic benefits of such products through drug development and research. For 2011–2012, the DIA Philanthropy Committee awarded a total of $50,000 to Patient Advocacy Organizations from around the world. The application process began in August 2011

For more information about the DIA Philanthropy Program, please contact Stephanie.Robinson@

We thank our 2011 Philanthropy Committee for their dedication and service: Tatsuo Kurokawa Keio University School of Pharmacy Committee Chair Karen Arts Ontario Institute for Cancer Research Kelley Hill Shire Human Genetic Therapies, Inc. Truus Janse-de Hoog Medicines Evaluation Board Larisa Nagra Singh Quintiles Per Spindler Biopeople University of Copenhagen






DIA Welcomes New Worldwide IT Director Linda Amoroso

DIA Editorial Boards Welcome Patient Representatives


This past October, DIA worldwide headquarters welcomed Linda Amoroso as Worldwide Director, Information Technology (IT).



Linda amoroso

Linda is responsible for overseeing the IT department to ensure that it aligns with and works to advance the business objectives of our worldwide organization, yet simultaneously meets the specific technology and service needs of each regional office. Linda has received several awards for her ability to deliver high profile, mission critical, technology programs for Merck, GSK, and other pharmaceutical companies, including awards for her contributions to advancing brand awareness through technology. Prior to joining DIA, Linda spent two decades managing technical teams that supported pharmaceutical R&D as well as commercial business operations. Linda earned her Associates’ degree in Science from Wesley College (DE), her Bachelors’ degree in Economics from Immaculata University (PA), and

As part of DIA’s ongoing initiative to incorporate the “Voice of the Patient” into all aspects of our operations, DIA has selected two patient advocates to represent this voice on the editorial boards of our Drug Information Journal and Global Forum member publications.

also holds a Six Sigma Black Belt Certificate. Linda is also a member of the Project Management Institute, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, the Network of Women in Computer Technology, and the PA/DE/NJ Distance Learning Association.

Dr. Holli kawadler

Veronica todaro

Dr. Holli Kawadler has been selected to serve on the Drug Information Journal editorial board. Dr. Kawadler leads the Scientific Program at Uniting Against Lung Cancer (UALC), which is dedicated to funding translational science that will help patients win their battles against lung cancer and lead healthy lives for years after diagnosis. She previously worked for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cornell University and Doctorate in Pharmacological Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Veronica Todaro has been selected to serve on the Global Forum editorial board. Veronica serves as Director of National Programs for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), where she leads the organization’s Advancing Parkinson’s Therapies (APT) initiative, a project dedicated to addressing non-science barriers to the acceleration of Parkinson’s disease therapies and treatments. She is a graduate of Cornell University and earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Editorial board members serve a one-year renewable term starting each year in June.





In Memoriam: Dr. John C. Alexander


Healthy Participant Sees Trial as a Chance to Stand up to Dementia


In December, the DIA community suffered a loss with the passing of Dr. John C. Alexander at his home in Princeton, NJ, at age 67. He was retired from Daiichi Sankyo Co., where he served as President, Daiichi Sankyo Pharma Development and Global Head of R&D; he also served as Chairman of the Board of Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.



John Alexander

“Throughout his career, Dr. Alexander played a central role in the development of several key products,” noted Dr. Jeffrey W. Sherman, former President, DIA Board of Directors. “Additionally, he was a former President and board member of the Drug Information Association, from which he received an award for his lifetime of achievement in 2010.” Dr. Alexander was a longstanding DIA contributor. He served as co-chair of the clinical track for the 1992 Annual Meeting, and as chairperson for the 1999 Annual Meeting. He was elected and served as DIA Board President

Dora Winston knows the ravages of memory loss all too well. She spent 5 years caring for her older sister, Bernice, and watched her painful, slow decline.

in 2000, and received the DIA Outstanding Service Award in 2003. For these and many other contributions, Dr. Alexander was recognized with the DIA Distinguished Career Award at the 2010 Annual Meeting. In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Alexander graciously noted that, “We don’t actually rise in organizations. We’re lifted up by those around us.” Dr. Alexander is survived by his beloved wife, Margie Alexander; daughter Laurie Alexander and her husband, Erik Cullen; daughter Jennifer Alexander-Hill, and her husband, Graham Hill; daughter Anna Allegro and her husband Justin; as well as grandchildren Simon, Theo, Margaux, and Jack, who was born just a week before Dr. Alexander’s passing. Contributions in Dr. Alexander’s honor may be made to The Science Center at St. Francis University, Loretto, PA ( CapitalCampaign.aspx) or to The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Foundation (http://www.

“Bernice started hallucinating when she was about 79,” Dora says. “That’s when I picked her up in Mississippi and moved her into my home in Chicago. It was devastating to watch her decline.” Dora, who runs an in-home daycare service, found herself caring for five small children, as well has her older sister. Dora Winston

“As Bernice regressed, she was unable to dress or feed herself,” Dora recalls. “Her mind would wander. Sometimes she knew who I was and sometimes she did not. She even talked to herself.” “As I watched my sister decline, I realized that I did not want to go that route and if there were anything I could possibly do to prevent it, I was willing to do it.” So, when Dora, 75, heard a radio announcement in June 2011 that Rush University Medical Center was recruiting seniors for a study to see if aspirin could help prevent dementia and promote general well being, she immediately called to find out more. The Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study is the largest international trial

ever sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. The five-year study is intended to track the health effects of low-dose aspirin therapy on 19,000 older adults in the United States and Australia. The study, which is being conducted at 35 cities around the United States, is open to African Americans and Latinos aged 65 and over and Caucasians and Native Americans aged 70 and older. Previous studies have shown lowdose aspirin reduces the risk of heart, stroke and vascular events in middle-aged people and may help to prevent cognitive decline and some forms of cancer. Very little information is available about the overall effects of aspirin in older adults, however, because most trials have focused on middle-aged participants. The ASPREE study is intended to determine whether aspirin can enhance quality of life by reducing physical disability and/or vascular dementia for healthy older adults and whether those potential benefits outweigh the risks. Zach Hill, a research assistant at Rush, visited Dora twice at home


Put the Pedal to the Metal: 12 Career Accelerators  

Put the Pedal to the Metal: 12 Career Accelerators