Leading, Living and Thriving at Work
Why did you choose to work at BeiGene?
Quarantining with my family during COVID made me acutely aware of how dependent we are on scientific discovery and access to treatments to maintain public health. As we waited on a vaccine and adjusted to a new way of living, I felt compelled to do something truly meaningful. I realized that my next role would need to be with a mission-driven company that set high standards for success and was motivated to reach all people, wherever they live, in whatever innovation they offered. BeiGene’s vision to deliver medicines more affordably and with greater access throughout the world resonated with me. I knew that the company’s impressive pipeline, and its leadership’s commitment to reaching as many people as possible with its potential, meant that as a public health professional I could take a far more holistic approach to tackling the challenges of access.
I had always imagined I’d have a career that made a global impact on public health, and BeiGene embodied the bold innovation to strive for that goal.
Tell me about your career path that led you to BeiGene.
I had a windy road where I took risks and definitely veered out of my comfort zone to be where I am today. I started in nonprofits, with a graduate degree in public health, developing programming largely for reproductive and sexual health. There was incredible focus from the healthcare community on HIV prevention at the time, as we witnessed a heartbreaking number of deaths and families touched by the disease. I saw first-hand how access to not only medicines but also information was vital to positive health outcomes. That journey took me to work in policy public affairs and in the private sector in corporate affairs. Having both public and private sector experience was invaluable in understanding the importance of both information and infrastructure to truly change paradigms with scientific innovation.
What skills or competencies do you think are essential for a leader? Why?
Compassion is an overlooked competency when we think of leadership. Great leaders exhibit this daily, in compassion for their teams, partners and the patients we serve. Keeping patients at the center of all we do makes decisions easier and keeps our focus on the most important aspect of our work in navigating difficult scenarios.
How did you focus on your own development? What experiences, exposure, and education helped you the most?
There are really no shortcuts in development. Experience is key. For me, that meant being open to non-traditional roles, secondments or stretch assignments that enabled me to learn more about other functions and build a broader perspective. When thinking about development, we too often focus on promotions and forget that learning new skills – sometimes through lateral moves or special-project assignments – is what makes us ready for greater responsibilities.
If you could give your younger self career advice, what would it be?
I would probably say, “You belong, don’t worry.” Young people have so much to contribute to the workforce, and what you don’t know about a role or company feels overwhelming at times. I held back in meetings when I first started, because I wasn’t sure how my ideas would be received – but ‘creative ideation’ is important in developing critical thinking and communications skills to frame out problems, solutions and advance bold thinking. The more you do this, the more natural it seems. At a place like BeiGene, where we aim to do things differently, we need as many good ideas as we can collectively find.
What advice would you give to colleagues about growing and developing at BeiGene?
BeiGene is still a relatively young company, and we expect to grow steadily over the coming years. With this comes opportunities to help shape the future. My advice is to think about what you want to learn, what leaders are in roles that interest you and what more can you do in your current role to make an impact. Then, go for it. Reach out, raise your hand and make sure others know your interests.