I've worked with scientists and science-based organizations my entire working life.
I've worked with scientists as colleagues, peers, managers, customers, clients, and advisors, and I spent close to thirteen years leading and developing teams of MDs, PhDs, PharmDs, and MScs as commercial vice president and general manager in the pharmaceutical industry.
During my decades working alongside such intellectually talented people, I got to witness their brilliance in action and, on many occasions, I had the privilege of commercialising their work. Working so closely with them, I came to know them - individually and as a group - very well.
From the early days of my leadership career, I led teams of scientific experts and I noticed that these smart people, whilst academically gifted, would often struggle to replicate the success they enjoyed in science in roles that involved influencing and leading people. As I climbed the leadership ladder and engaged with colleagues in hospitals, commercial organizations, and governments across the world, I saw the same pattern emerge.
The skills essential for success in leadership are different to the skills essential for success in science.
When I began working as an executive coach, I worked almost exclusively with scientists and experts in medicine, pharmaceuticals, engineering, Government, and academia and repeatedly, I saw them struggle to replicate the same success in leadership roles they had enjoyed in science-based roles. It seemed that their academic gifts and intellect, whilst immensely beneficial in many aspects of management, simply didn't translate smoothly to people leadership.
With more than two decades working with scientists and subject-matter specialists, and over 650 hours coaching and teaching them, I can safely say the leadership challenges experienced by this group are the result of ‘what got you here won’t get you there’. Science is about critical thought, analysis, rationalization, and expertise. Leadership, on the other hand, is about intuition, instinct, influence, vulnerability, and smoothly navigating the complexities of human behaviour.
In the absence of very deliberate development of leadership skills, scientists will - not surprisingly - approach leadership in the same way they approach science. When that doesn't work, they unintentionally engage in behaviour that inhibits their ability to build the level of trust and influence essential to establish a strong, assertive presence, the result often being damaged credibility, tarnished reputations, inconsistent results, and stunted careers. Once their confidence takes a beating, they begin to behave in ways that serve only to exacerbate their problems and cause the very situations they're trying to prevent and avoid!
Scientists often don't succeed in leadership. But they can.
A bit about what I do
Simply, I turn scientists into leaders.
Leaders aren't born; They're created. Like science, leadership can be learned. And I teach it.
I work with scientists and leaders in science-based organizations and I teach them how to be as effective, confident, and influential as leaders as they are scientists and subject-matter experts.
I work with emerging scientist-leaders and rapidly accelerate their leadership effectiveness by tuning them into their intuition, instinct, and emotions. I coach, mentor, and teach them how to build trust, create influence, and establish leadership competence, confidence, and presence.
The demands of leadership inevitably unearth some unhelpful behaviours at some point in a scientist-leaders' career. It could be at the outset, or it could be in their first executive role. Whenever it happens, I work with experienced leaders to ground their leadership in beliefs and behaviours that benefit their reputations and careers, and the organization as a whole.
A bit about me
I began life as a Nurse Practitioner in the Cardiac ICU and then moved into the pharmaceutical industry and the business side of healthcare.
During a Fortune 500 career that spanned two decades, two continents, several countries, and multiple therapeutic areas, I spent close to thirteen years in the executive suite leading and working alongside discovery, research, regulatory, medical, and clinical scientists. With their help and insight, I built and grew many multi-million dollar businesses and led through several joint ventures, restructures, and mergers.
Executive leadership isn't without its challenges, and you might say I learned how to lead 'the hard way'. During my time in medicine and pharmaceuticals, I learned the delicate art of navigating politics, dodging egos, and bringing - often diametrically opposed - people together to deliver on organizational goals and objectives. It may not have been the easiest job in the world, but I loved it. I still do.
After a very fulfilling and successful leadership career, I became an executive coach, mentor, and consultant where I now work exclusively with scientists and science-based organizations and teach new and experienced leaders how to establish and amplify their leadership presence and confidence, and broaden and deepen their influence and impact.
I began my career in the United Kingdom and spent time living and working in Central Europe, Northern Ireland, and then North America, where I settled and made my home. I live with my French-Canadian husband, bilingual son, and unilingual dog. When I'm not at work, I travel as much as I can (though I do that for work too!), spend time in my kitchen creating all sorts of delicious food, and I practice karate regularly so that I can eat it.
I hold an MBA from the University of Leicester, where I studied General Management and pursued an academic specialization in organizational behaviour and leadership. I conducted primary research and wrote my thesis on "Corporate Culture and its Effect on Long-Term Economic Performance." I'm with Peter Drucker on this one: Culture does indeed eat strategy for breakfast.
I am an ICF credentialed coach, a certified Organizational Culture Consultant, Certified Professional Coach, NLP & CBT Practitioner, and Certified EQi and EQ360 Coach. I hold post-graduate certificates in adult education, executive presence and influence (Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania), and management and executive coaching (University of Cape Town).
I am an MBA mentor for MBA students at the University of Ottawa Telfer School of Business, and an active, long-standing member of the Faculty of Business Advisory Panel at another local business school.
Throughout my corporate career I trained extensively in leadership and management, and I am fully media trained. I have extensive experience in engaging, inspiring, and motivating audiences on camera, radio, and on stage.