For the 5th year, GenHERation® and GSK teamed up to empower young women interested in STEM. More specifically, GenHERation® and GSK hosted a virtual panel with 1,000 high school and college students from 50 schools across the country. Throughout the panel, GSK tech and STEM leaders Rachel Haddock, Kimberly Palladino, Monica Dimps, Lourdes Arce, and Brittany Bynum-Farmer discussed their career paths, GSK’s people-centric culture, and strategies for succeeding in STEM fields.
According to these experts, you should embrace the following elements when pursuing a career in STEM:
1) Pursue Your Passion: When you are in high school or college you do not need to know what you are going to do for the rest of your life. Most professionals have not had a strictly linear career path. Therefore, the best way to prepare for your future, or to land the right job, is to follow your passion. You can discover your passion by asking yourself these questions: What organizations am I involved in? How do I spend my free time? What topics do I ask questions about? Another way to find what you are passionate about is by getting internships and working in labs. These experiences can help you figure out what you like and dislike. When you pursue your passion, the motivation to excel in your job comes naturally.
2) Always Be Curious: Strive to be a lifelong learner. Take classes, develop new skills, and listen to different people. Be hungry for learning and doing what it takes to get yourself to the next level. When you are curious, you realize there is always something new you can pick up from anyone or anything around you. This not only increases your knowledge, but it allows you to be more open-minded and less judgmental. By staying curious, you can learn something new when you least expect it.
3) Put People First: At GSK, the idea of people centricity plays an essential role in company culture. The company not only strives to provide their patients with innovative products, but they also work to create an environment that is welcoming and engaging for their employees. Whether you are in high school or college, or are a professional early on in your career, you also need to focus on people. Make new friends. Take time to build genuine relationships with the people who surround you. Get to know what makes them tick and how you can best support them. Implement a system of checks and balances to hold each other accountable. Whatever your team looks like, do not let those on yours fail.
4) Prioritize Potential over Progress: When you are first starting out at a company, you do not need to be perfect. No one expects you to know everything. What is most important is to first demonstrate that you are competent. Get your work done, be efficient, and accomplish what you say you will. Show that you are reliable and can get the job done. Then, show that you want to become the best that you can be, and take the necessary actions. Do you need to learn a new coding language? Do you need to earn another degree? Ask your manager for specific feedback if you are unsure of what to do to get to the next level.
5) Be Brave: It does not matter how young you are or how established you are, you have a collection of experiences and knowledge that makes you unique—you have a perspective that no one else has. You have a duty to use your voice in the workplace. Harness your courage and speak up. Share your ideas, thoughts, and observations with your colleagues. Also, have the courage to take advantage of opportunities. Raise your hand. Say yes to what comes your way, whether it be projects, roles, or initiatives. Taking advantage of as many opportunities as you can will give you access to knowledge, resources, and experiences, which will allow you to grow both personally and professionally.
GSK is a science-led, global healthcare company that produces innovative medicines, vaccines, and consumer healthcare products. As a company comprised of more than 100,000 individuals, GSK consists of a wide-range of talented experts, including scientists, marketers, engineers, chemists, sales people, lawyers, and physicians. Every day, GSK helps improve the health of millions of people around the world.