I wanted to be a physician as far back as I can remember. As a child, I was deeply curious about the workings of the body, and later wondered about the impact of serious or chronic illness on our lives. I knew that I wanted a career in which I could be of service. I was fortunate to be very focused throughout my education, and graduated from medical school at 24. I immediately began a residency in pediatrics followed by a fellowship in hematology/oncology. I found nothing more rewarding than working with children with cancer and their families, facilitating not only cure of disease, but also quality of survival.
After my fellowship, I joined the faculty of a major university as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, where I was one of the youngest faculty members. The work was challenging but very fulfilling; I felt privileged during my 6-year tenure to have the capability and capacity to serve children with life-threatening and life-limiting diseases, as well as to engage in research and medical student education.
As time went on, I realized that I wanted more opportunity for public and global interface, as well as leadership in medicine. I returned to the university to develop broader skills in marketing and management, and then gradually transitioned my career to drug development in the pharmaceutical industry. This led me to where I am today. I have held positions of increasing responsibility at 4 major companies. I now oversee two key global drug development programs for a large pharmaceutical company, with extended teams of over seventy individuals and broad international reach, including to underserved nations.
What I have found in the past 10 years of corporate service is that there is nothing more critical to my success than effective leadership. The need for outstanding skills among corporate leaders far supersedes content expertise. While I always believed in my skills and talent, I somehow thought that I would be an effective leader because I had these aspects of professional life mastered. I was totally wrong. I learned through failure, hard work, and introspection that effective leadership is not intuitive. It requires significant study and practice. I currently spend about 20% of my work day focused on leadership: discussion, listening, coaching, mentoring, team-building, introspection, self-reflection and more.
I have been involved in yoga training for over twelve years, am certified as an instructor, and have taught yoga since 2012, primarily “off the mat,” speaking to groups about applying the practice and philosophy of yoga to their daily lives to enhance health and wellness and, more recently, to leadership skills. I have competed my 500-hour advanced teacher certification under the supervision of Natasha Rizopoulos at Down Under Yoga in Boston, voted best yoga studio in Boston in 2015. I have found a remarkable intersection between the foundational principles and practice of yoga and effective leadership.
Take a deep breath…and please join me on this journey.