Monday, October 27, 2014

STEM Chat with Jaren Landen

STEM chat
STEM chat with Jaren Landen
October 27, 2014
Jaren Landen, Ph.D., Pfizer Global Research and Development, Director, Clinician, Global Innovative Pharma
The person who inspired me the most when I was growing up is my grandmother. She is a mother of six, grandmother of 20, great grandmother of five so far including my four, became a realtor at 55 and lied about her age to get her first job because she thought she was too old to work. At 93 years old, she is still working today and does not miss a beat. Keeping her mind and body active has been the greatest blessing to our family.

I had no idea I would be part of at least half a dozen major acquisitions and still with the same company I started with a dozen years ago in a field where the average employment is approximately two years, and in many cities like Cambridge you can change jobs and keep your parking space.

My dream project is to work on a team that impacts disease progression of Alzheimer's Disease.

The best advice I ever received was to do a great job at whatever you are doing today no matter what the task and the next great thing will come your way. I always worry but not too much about what is next because when colleagues/supervisors take note of a job well done and positive working relationships, the next opportunity always comes.

In my free time I am too boring to describe. Life is about soccer, baseball, softball game, swim meets, dance lessons, and playmates. Because I have chosen to have such a large family, work has become my hobby. It is the part of my life that I look forward to because it is for me filled with stimulating adult conversations about interesting cutting edge science topics and challenges.

If I had a one year sabbatical, I would take my entire family on a global health fellows tour. Pfizer offers a six month sabbatical to do amazing things throughout the world through an application process. My children are too young at the moment and it is hard to imagine a time when we could stop time and do something like this; however, I imagine it would offer extreme personal and professional growth. Now that I have stated this here, I am hoping to be held accountable to doing a fellowship at some point in the future.

My tools of the trade are interpersonal skills. Never underestimate that the key to getting anything done well is not how smart you are, but how well you work with others, manage others as appropriate, and are sensitive to the needs and pressures of others in the workplace. Likeability makes teams work harder towards a common goal and is more likely to lead to team success than a great idea alone.

I'm proud that I stayed in the workplace while having four children. I cannot underestimate how important staying in the workplace has been for me. This is such a personal decision. Although I will always have some regrets about never being in a mothers group or attending Gymboree class, my children are starting to understand what I do and the contributions that I have made in my workplace. I have taught them by example how to prioritize and develop time management skills. They have learned how to entertain themselves in the evenings or weekends during the occasional emergency work call. For me, staying in the work place has kept my knowledge in my field current in an ever changing science field, ensured that I maintained industry contacts, and developed a very powerful camaraderie among other working women in the industry.

I still hope to participate in an eMBA program.
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