Become an HBA hero in five minutes or less - Five “ECSIE” ways to pay it forward from HBA Greater Philadelphia WIT affinity group

“Unfortunately, career transition is now a fact of life in the healthcare industry - drugs fail in development, products go off patent, budgets tighten and companies merge. Over the years many talented women have experienced career transition and some more than once” according to Stacie Snodgrass, marketing consultant and current president of HBA Greater Philadelphia. “I was a member of the inaugural Women in Transition (WIT) affinity group in 2009 and to see how the group has expanded its offerings to meet member’s needs is amazing. Many HBA members provided valuable assistance and encouragement to me when I needed it most. I enhanced my network, learned transferrable skills through volunteering and gained leadership experience, all of which helped me start a business. But, what’s most important is that we pay it forward.”

The HBA exists to further the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. One way to support our fellow HBA colleagues is to help them accelerate their search. Helping doesn’t have to be hard, time consuming or another task on your to-do list – it can be “ECSIE.” Here are five ways you can make a major impact on accelerating our talented WIT colleagues with their job search that can take less than five minutes.

Engage: Introduce yourself at a meeting and get to know each other. Discover commonalities, make a new friend.

Connect: Make an introduction to one of your connections, live or via LinkedIn

Share: Pass along job postings, networking events or valuable education opportunities to the WIT group via Cari Kraft, or directly to women in transition

Insight: Provide insight on target companies, industry trends, resumes, companies in growth mode, etc.

Encourage: Unexpected encouragement can make a big difference. Consider attending or even speaking at a WIT event.

Now in its seventh year, the HBA Greater Philadelphia Women In Transition (WIT) affinity group continues to support members in career transition by providing resources, education and a venue for targeted networking. For the pharma industry, 2009 was a tough year in the midst of mounting market pressures and a global recession. Helen Cooke, founder, Cooke Consulting Group, LLC, then president of HBA Greater Philadelphia and currently global board - chair, Council of Chapter Presidents, listened to story after story from members in job transition from industry downsizing. “I thought surely there is something we can do as a professional organization to assist these talented members” Helen said. Along with Cindy Murray, a key driver in creating the group, Michelle Ballard PhD, and Susan Lang, they co-created WIT. “At that time”, said Cindy Murray, director of marketing, DrugDev, “not everyone was fortunate to have a long severance and outplacement. Our initial focus was to provide support by modeling the job search work team approach. Safiya Edwards, SVP and director of professional services/regional ICEO advisor (northeast region), Lee Hecht Harrison, was extremely helpful coaching the group on job search work team best practices.”

Over the years, many members have volunteered to chair the group and many talented WIT members have benefited.

Cari Kraft, president and CEO, Jacobs Management Group, and publisher, Healthcare Sales and Marketing, is the current WIT leader and Colleen Burns is the program director. “We listened to WIT members and focused on building improvements into the programs and increasing the value to members. Members can apply for reduced rates for membership and general chapter programs plus most of the affinity group programs are free to attend. Examples of recent programs include, Navigating Big Company Recruiting and Leveraging Yourself as a Diversity Candidate, Success of the Seasoned Search and the Benefits of Being Overqualified, and How to Negotiate a Killer Job Offer” noted Cari. The speakers at WIT programs are impressive and many topics could even be of value to HBA members who are not currently in career transition.

“WIT has broadened its mission and now includes members not only in transition, but employed and actively or passively seeking new employment, and those who are happy in their current position and want to be a resource to fellow HBA members. Our focus is to assist HBA members during career transition and beyond by providing resources, education and a venue for targeted networking. The group offers an intimate setting that promotes discussion and a mechanism for women to share concerns and valuable insights, including conference calls, webinars and live events.” said Colleen.

You’ve heard the expression “pay it forward”. All of us have had great fortune in our personal and professional lives. Providing just a few minutes of kindness, insight and support for others during change offers an opportunity for you to share your wisdom and insight and be a stepping stone in accelerating their career journey.

At the next HBA, think about the five ways you can make a major impact and take five minutes to reach out to a member of WIT to engage, connect, share, insight, and/or encourage. It can be so “ECSIE”.

Please feel free to contact Cari Kraft about WIT.

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