Take Charge of Your Professional Development

Written by: Catherine Stier


In 2016 my team became larger, and I started to feel like I wasn’t prepared to develop them the way they needed. I work for a small company and have been given opportunities to manage at a young age. I’m so grateful for these opportunities but have also come to realize that there is only so much you can learn from the people you work with every day.

This realization spurred my desire to network, to see what other people were doing in my industry and to learn from them. In 2017 I committed to the goal of being a better manager, someone who had tools for unique situations and confidence in a certain “management style” that I could connect with.

After talking to a friend in pharma sales, I decided to sign up for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Newsletters. I started to receive emails about events and networking meetups but nothing that interested me enough to leave my comfort zone, until one email came through about the HBA Mentoring Program. I signed up as soon as I read the email. This was an opportunity to be assigned to a team where I would have 2 senior level pharmaceutical professionals who would mentor me, and 4 other professionals with similar goals. Thankfully, I was accepted into the program and met my group – 2 Senior Director level professionals in Commercial & Market Access, a data scientist, a biologist, a sales person, and an HEOR professional. Wow, we couldn’t be more different.

After 6 months of weekly emails, bi-weekly phone calls and monthly dinners, the 7 of us built a strong bond. We trusted each other enough to talk about personal and professional goals, tough situations with colleagues and we gave each other honest feedback and criticism on things from our LinkedIn profiles to our elevator pitches.

Through this mentoring program I learned a lot about myself and gained tools to be a better manager, to have confidence in my abilities and to be vocal about my achievements. I am confident that this program made me a more valuable employee and I’d highly recommend being involved in an external mentoring program.

A few mentoring programs I’m familiar with in the Philadelphia area include the HBA and Power.