Welcome to the Woman of the Week podcast, a weekly discussion that illuminates the unique stories of women leaders who are catalyzing change throughout the life-sciences industry. You can check out all our podcast episodes here.
For Andrea McGonigle, Google Cloud’s general manager, healthcare and life sciences partnerships and strategic initiatives, one of the keys to career growth is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
In her new leadership role, the Red Jacket honoree is leaning into Google’s approach to innovation aimed at allowing people to lead healthier lives through everyday moments.
“Innovation is at the core of everything that we do,” she says in this week’s WoW podcast. “It’s not something that we just talk about. We actually make space for it. When we think about problems, we don’t say how could we improve it; we literally think how we can fundamentally change outcomes by 10 times better returns, and many times this means turning problems on their heads in non-traditional ways.”
Here, she discusses what it takes to lead an innovative team and the gaps in healthcare Google is looking to fill. Listen to the podcast or you can also read the transcript of the conversation below.
Welcome to WoW – the Woman of the Week podcast by PharmaVoice powered by Industry Dive.
In this episode Taren Grom Editor-in-Chief Emeritus at PharmaVoice meets with Andrea McGonigle, general manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, Google Cloud.
Taren Grom: Hi Andrea. Welcome to the WoW podcast program.
Andrea McGonigle: Hi Taren. Thanks for having me. It’s absolutely great to be here.
Taren: It’s nice to speak with you too my friend. As one of our Red Jacket honorees, it’s always a pleasure to connect with you. And I know it’s been a little bit awhile since we last spoke and you have a newish, new position as general manager, Healthcare & Life Sciences Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives at Google Cloud. First of all, I don’t know how that all fits on your business card, but tell me how you’re settling in and what does this role entail. It sounds awfully big.
Andrea: Yes, yes. I’m really excited about it. So I’m at Google and I’m focused on healthcare and life sciences particularly, the partnerships in healthcare and life sciences and there are customers who are just fundamental to the business, both at a plans providers and life science piece, but also there’s partners who they work with everyday. So really focused on them and how we build an ecosystem to help have better outcomes for our customers across the board in this space.
Taren: Tell me when you say partners, what kind of partners are those?
Andrea: It’s everyone from Epic and Cerner, EHRs, to life science companies like IQVIA, anyone who really is a service provider providing any type of service to a plan, provider, or life science company.
Taren: Okay. So when we talk about that, why did Google get in the healthcare space to begin with? And why does the company believe it can add in terms of benefits to these companies?
Andrea: Yes. Well, obviously Google is such a large company. At the very base level, they believe they can help everyone empower them to really be healthier across the board. There are so many assets from a consumer to an enterprise level, and really, their focus is on building — allowing people to build healthier lives through their everyday moments. So you think of the assets that they have such as search, apps, YouTube and even just thinking like from COVID…
I joined during COVID. I hadn’t even step foot in a Google office when I took this role. And just think about COVID and then how things came into play; everyone was searching, using their computers to find this information that was available to them. And then even looking beyond that, YouTube, etc., and the accuracy of the information and then the largest tools. How did you take data, how important data was at the time of COVID-19 and give insights back to people specifically for public health in this example, but also how do you unlock some of the corporate data, etc. You think about how much this industry, wow, really showed up when I think about the pharmaceutical industry and what happened with COVID-19 as well as the providers.
Taren: And you talk about the accuracy of the information, so obviously Google being the number one search engine it’s a natural place to go. So how does this organization like start to make sure that that information that was going out was accurate? Do you have any ideas?
Andrea: So they work with a lot of very specific organizations like WHO, etc., and really come to what are the source of that information and provide honestly algorithms that look at this data and check it, fact check it against what they would consider the experts at that time to ensure that we’re spreading truly, timely and accurate information that’s actionable that can help people manage their health and achieve their goals.
Taren: Andrea, before we delve into your leap from Microsoft into Google, talk to me about some of those partnerships like with Accumulus. What does that mean particularly? Can we give us a little case study around that?
Andrea: Sure. So in the case of Accumulus, 16 pharmas have come together to basically look at the new drug filing systems and how we can help to improve that and learn off the lessons that we put in place during COVID-19 to bring drugs to market faster. And basically what we did was looked at that process and were invited to an RFP and a process where we looked and brought together the workflow of the customer and then the innovations at Google and all the different technologies and came up with a vision for what we could help build together. We’re currently working on that today with Accumulus and building that solution.
And for me in that example, coming from the pharmaceutical industry, knowing how critical this was to COVID-19 and getting vaccines out, it’s so rewarding to look at the space and say OK, if we just looked at some of the latest technologies and some of the innovations, here are very specific ways we could bring this together to fundamentally change and improve time to market, safety of the drugs, etc. So really exciting seeing that marriage of technology innovation, as well as to help solve some of these problems for outcomes.
Taren: Excellent. And obviously COVID has been the inciter of a lot of different innovations where we can take some silver linings from such a tragic pandemic, and I would count this is one of those silver linings to help improve and streamline the process. Is that a fair assessment?
Andrea: Absolutely. It’s amazing when time is not on your side and you know how quickly you can come together to do things, but also to continue to look at it from that angle and say what are the things that we continue to improve, drive cost out, drive time out, create higher level of innovation and in return have better outcomes for our patients.
Taren: And that’s what it’s all about is those better outcomes for patients. When you talk to your clients, do you get the sense that the toothpaste is out of the tube and they are looking forward and not willing to revert back to some of those — and I’m using the bunny quotes “old ways” of doing things?
Andrea: Yes, definitely. Everything when you think about telehealth, when you think about the example I shared with you with Accumulus and vaccines, when you think about how the search engine, the example that I gave you for Google, it’s not just looking things up. It’s like how can I make my appointment right from this right from the search engine. Customers demanded it. The times really sorted it to allow to make a priority and people now then expect it.
It’s like that expectation has now been met and we need to continue that way. And I think the customers are thinking that way as well, when you think about cost savings that have been incurred as well as I think also refocusing. People start to realize now what’s important and things that we can prioritize. Whereas before I felt like everything was important and then just too many things you can’t juggle.
Taren: Interesting. That prioritization, you’re right, it’s funny how a crisis makes you focus and focus back on those core capabilities, what’s really important to your point there. And you noted that you joined the company during COVID. How was that in terms of the transition from going from a place where you had been for quite some time to this brand new, huge entity in COVID and you never stepped a foot in Google’s offices? Crazy.
Andrea: It is absolutely crazy to think about it. You got interviews and everything, never been in an office, never had been with a customer represent in person representing Google and did all the training and orientation and everything online. I think one of the key things are I think why it worked well – it did work well – and I think why was because everybody was in the same situation. I think about what fundamentally change you know if it was a specific territory or group that was only affected, but the fact that everybody was in the same situation, people got creative around how to connect.
They call people who come to Google who are new, they call them newglers. So I had a newgler group and we actually had never met in person and we just all stayed together through that training. So it was interesting to see that sense of community get created and to network that way. At the same time, I’m definitely somebody who like as soon as the doors opened to be able to travel, I got right out there. I was excited. I definitely think there’s an aspect of being in person, breaking bread with people that is very important to building the relationship as well.
Taren: Agreed. And I think that’s certainly very important, and I think we’re going to see this new hybrid kind of working. At the same time, you feel compelled to jump on a plane to go have a two-hour meeting across the country again, or is this something now that we’re living in this hybrid world that you can do just as efficiently once you’ve got the relationship established rather than doing that via virtually?
Andrea: I agree 100%. I’m not going to be jumping on a plane for two-hour meetings, absolutely not. And when you think about it from a technology standpoint, most of the technology companies are really focused on productivity and there are big hard dollars around what the company saved and how you were able to actually execute.
So I think from a balance perspective and a cultural perspective it will be good that way. I don’t think it will ever return to the level of travel that it was before. I think it’s just I think at the time where you’re building a relationship at the beginning or at significant milestones there are points in time where being in person is important, but I think that window is significantly shortened in comparison to what it was previously when we would do business.
Taren: Perfect. And it goes back to your point order about focus and what’s focusing on what’s important. So let’s talk about that transition to Google from Microsoft. As I alluded to, you had been there for quite some time. So this move was a big career leap. How does this fit in to your career journey?
Andrea: It’s a good question. I definitely was looking for the next level from an executive standpoint when I had specific goals for what I wanted to do. I’m someone who when I create my development plan I’m thinking like okay, this is the next level I want to get to, the next title that I want to get to. And one of the key things for me where I was at Microsoft for 12 years, I was always in healthcare during that time. I was in some version of strategy, sales, partner and all three verticals – plans, providers and life sciences – at different times and I felt like I had really gotten out of that experience.
I realized I was giving more than I was learning or actually taking as experience. It didn’t strike me until I actually left and started at Google like how much I needed that change. I don’t think it has anything to do with who the company was; it’s more about when you’re in some particular company for 12 years change is good. And it was so refreshing to come into this business and really change that role.
Think about it, previously I was probably giving 90% and learning maybe about 10%, and when I came here it was the complete opposite. So for me, you’ve got to be uncomfortable being uncomfortable. You’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I was so comfortable where I was and I was completely taken out of that when I was brought here, and it’s such a great learning experience and for your personal growth so important.
And there were some skill sets I was looking to get here, and one of the key things that stood out for me being on the outside of Google were two pieces. One is they obviously had a reputation for innovation, Google, and I needed to learn more about that. I was like what does that mean and now that I’m here, I could see. Innovation is at the core of everything that we do. It’s not something that you just talk about. We actually make space for it. When we think about problems, we don’t say how could we improve it; we literally think with this 10x thinking that says how do I fundamentally change the outcomes that we have 10x better returns, and a lot of times that means turning problems on their heads in non-traditional ways.
So it’s been a lot of fun and a lot of personal growth to help me get to where I want to get to as far as the next levels, the next roles for me and I’m checking the boxes along the way.
Taren: That’s awesome. I’m so intrigued by that whole innovation mindset in an organization and you said 10x. That’s a big number to go 10x. Do you feel like sometimes like mind blown because you’re addressing from pretty big challenges?
Andrea: Absolutely. It’s not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Taren: I can imagine.
Andrea: And I always say you would think when you start doing this each time it will get easier, it doesn’t. It absolutely doesn’t. There’s not a lot of process involved per se because you literally are reinventing in every single time, but you could see the power of the outcomes are significantly different. And if they’re not, then it’s not worth your time to invest it. If you’re like ‘well, maybe this is only going to be like two times or three times’ then you realize this probably isn’t a problem that we want to solve. We’re looking for the bigger, hairier problems where we can really make an impact when you bring this technology together with the innovation to solve some of the hardest problems.
Taren: So interesting. Can you talk about some of the areas that you’re looking at right now in terms of problem solving or is that a Google secret?
Andrea: I mean when you think about our customers are in healthcare, so I’m looking at everything across from the healthcare perspective. I would say I specifically shared earlier the example with Accumulus and the new drug filing system, how we can bring drugs to market quicker is a big one.
I think one that’s across the board that really came out through COVID is some type of either scheduling or labor optimization across the board for providers. That experience from the moment you say I want to go, I need to go and I need an appointment, some type of scheduling platform that knows all your information that can set up the appointment, lock down the right doctor, lock down the right nurse, lock down the right room, lock down the right person who sanitizes it before you come there. Think about the workflow of the right equipment, the right supplies that gets a whole another level of how you look at labor optimization, workforce optimization and patient scheduling like across, that’s a really big problem. There’s not necessarily a solution out in the market today. There’s lots of different ones, but how do you look at it more holistically for an organization.
So that’s one that I’m currently looking at today and thinking about. Not easy by any stretch, but definitely demanded by the customers and the patients in this space. You talked earlier, Taren, are people going to go back to their old ways. No. Like they were able to go and search and say I need an appointment; I need to get a test for COVID, I need to get my vaccine. They went on, they got it, and did that all without picking up the phone. That’s the new expectation.
Taren: Wow. You talk about a big hairy problem, good luck girlfriend.
Andrea: I’m going to need a lot of luck.
Taren: No, it’s not much. Luck is for those who are unprepared. You’re very prepared. So I have full faith in your being able to tackle this. And when you do do it it’s going to be – it’ll be industry changing. It’ll be world changing. And that’s where you talk about innovation and technology and you’re right, people want convenience. They want to make it easy. Healthcare shouldn’t be so hard and we know it’s hard, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. So solutions such as this are so in need. So I look forward to what comes out of that big think tank.
In talking about the technology aspect of it – and we’ve discussed this in the past quite a bit, you and I, but for our listeners, you are a vanguard in the world of technology. There just aren’t that many women who are sitting in senior roles in this space and yet, it’s so needed because as we know that diversity of perspective is what really helps drive innovation as well. So if 50% of your population is excluded from a certain sector, you’re not going to be able to make the changes you want to. So what needs to change to get more women involved in technology? Where does it need to start? And I know you have some experience with STEM.
Andrea: So I definitely think from a STEM perspective in getting young girls engaged earlier around technology and exposing them to technology in different ways, I actually think we’ve made a lot of strides there. There’s a lot of different programs, a lot of companies are thinking about that. I think now – and if you look at how many women have STEM type degrees, going into colleges and coming out with the degrees – the numbers are up. We’re starting to see some results there. But what happens is we don’t see them at the same levels when you look at the next layer of management. We don’t see them at the same levels 5, 10 years out. Why? Because people are stopping to have families. And in many cases the woman as you just mentioned, if you can’t represent your population, in many cases the woman is the CEO of the household making the decisions from a healthcare perspective of how am I going to treat this? How am I going to go to what’s the medicines they recommended, etc. etc. And we’re also caught in between this whole idea of also taking care of our parents.
So I feel like there’s this whole sandwich area around them that is much stronger around like how do we support women in getting to the next levels of management, how do we support them when they’re building their families so that they can return to work and also give them the space to take care of their parents and do things that we need to do. And that’s not necessarily just work that specifically women – but I think everyone needs, but that’s where I see that drop off where I’d like to focus most of the attention on is supportive groups. I’ve seen some things, some programs that do work, but it’s really about creating that space.
Taren: And I agree with you and as a gentle, like just even pushback on that is, it’s making the space available to everyone. So changing some of those expectations, so why is it just the woman who has to be responsible when there’s certainly so many men who are willing to step up and do this, but there’s a societal kind of like lens to that. So if we make it open to everybody more family time, we make it more equitable across the board, maybe that’s part of the solution.
Andrea: Absolutely. Having that flexibility in the scheduling, a lot of people are doing parental leave, but I even think from the time of maternity leave like there are studies that if you come back after having a baby for six weeks versus 12, 16, 18, a few months, the likelihood that people stay in their roles are much higher if they have a longer time off after maternity. Because they really feel like they get the bonding experience with their child and they’re ready to come back versus feeling rushed. Some really good insights, coming from a program perspective to fundamentally make everyone feel inclusive and it’s setting them up for success the next level of management, etc.
Taren: Absolutely. And I would think also if you were the woman, it engenders like loyalty to your company; they’ve given me this permission, this time, and so now I’m going to go back and I’ll be even a better employee in some cases.
Taren: You are clearly a role model for other women. I look at you as a role model. What does this mantle of responsibility mean to you and how are you widening the path for other women?
Andrea: Yeah. I’m the oldest of five girls, so I always feel like I have been kind of…
Taren: You’re everybody’s role model, Andrea.
Andrea: I don’t know about that. But I always feel like as someone who’s kind of been going against the barrier and setting up the stage for like who’s next, and I do that in all aspects of my life. So everything from writing a personal blog that really talks about how I balance those things, because those experiences where I’m always juggling my family and my role as an executive and the pressures of being everything that I needed to be, someone else experienced them a few years before me. So I would just write them up as a blog post and say this is what I was thinking, this is what I was feeling. And I found as time went on people would – I would be talking to folks that I work with and women who are in similar situations and I would literally send it to them and be like ‘look, there is a light at the end of this tunnel and it happens to everybody.’ So something as simple as that, just documenting some of that so others can read from it and learn from it.
I think another part of that is I’m really big in recruiting. I actually got a note here at Google that I’m one of the number one people who has done interviews to hire people in the company. I love meeting people. So I really put myself out there to make sure that when we’re hiring people we’re looking at diverse folks, passionate about that and getting to know people. And then also, a lot of times I offer to follow up with them or help them in the future, and it’s really building my own network, but also empowering people and sponsoring them if I find they’re the right person or maybe just not the right fit for that role or a sponsor for that role, for example. So very active in the recruiting and hiring of folks in the company as well.
Taren: You touched on that piece that magic word network, and some people think of it as a dirty word that is just an exchange of business cards, but the way you just described it it’s really quite altruistic. It’s about empowering everybody, so making connections and rising the tide for all boats. So a network can be such a beneficial thing. Because you don’t know who’s going to turn up where next, right?
Andrea: Especially if they’re leaving and going to – and this is my third large company – it was Merck, Microsoft and Google, and I’m always focused on healthcare. Like the same folks you’re seeing at different places. You go in and your customer is someone that you worked with previously. Or someone that was your customer previously is now working for this partner, etc. It’s so important. I tell everyone like your reputation is your own. It doesn’t matter what company you worked at, what someone says about you. It is you created it based on what you accomplished and you take it with you no matter where you go.
I think from a standpoint of networking, that reputation for years to come and someone says ‘oh, you know that person?’ And literally most people say ‘oh yeah, they’re great’ or ‘I had a great experience with them,’ or ‘we should really work with that person.’ I think it’s really important part of networking and building that reputation and your brand so that you have a stronger network.
Taren: Absolutely. You don’t want to be that person where they say oh, they roll their eyes and go ‘uck, not that person again.’
Andrea: That’s right. Absolutely.
Taren: That’s a great piece of leadership advice. What other pieces of leadership advice do you provide to members on your team? And then we’re going to talk about how you build those high performing teams since you are an ace recruiter.
Andrea: I would say some of the advice… you know people said this to me early on, you learn from when you didn’t have good managers. And I think the one thing that stood out for me is like just treat people how you would want to be treated. How would you want your manager to treat you. And that’s definitely been my basis.
But there was actually a training at Microsoft that I took that one thing stood out for me. I would have a lot of one-on-ones with people. When you think about some of these orgs and directs and indirects, you can end up having a ton of one-on-ones with people and how to use that time efficiently. And I learned that there’s one question that you ask and I’ve instituted it and it’s worked out wonderful for me. I like to get on obviously and talk personal first and see how everyone is doing. But one of the first questions is what can I help you with? And it sounds so simple, but you quickly learn what’s top of mind for the other person. What was the reason they wanted to talk. And it sounds so simple, but for me, I literally put that on a Post-It and it started driving the conversations to the results, getting exactly to the point we wanted to get to and really hearing the person and what their concerns were. So for me, that was a big one and I’ve been continuing that obviously.
Taren: What a great piece of advice – what can I help you with. Like you said, simple, but really impactful. You talked about being so interested in getting to know the people and being a sponsor if you find the right person for the right role. How do you go about building your teams? You’ve managed so many high performing teams, what are some of those key core capabilities or qualities you look for when you’re going to recruit?
Andrea: It’s a good question. I think like based on different jobs there are obviously different requirements, but I try to boil it down to like three key things that would make people successful, whether it’s certain type of experience and just be clear on that no matter who I talk to.
So before I even talk to anybody, if they’re going to be on a sales team, if they’re going to be on a strategy team or a partner team, what are three core competencies that they would like to have that we would like them to have and kind of work backwards from there. And I think that be open to listening and be very direct with people. These are the three things I’m looking for.
So when we’re having a conversation today, convince me that these are – you have these traits, you have this type of experience and why you would be the best person for this role. So I like to watch how that unfolds, like you’re giving them an assignment and see how hard they work for it, etc.
But also just based on experience I think that people share their experiences there. One of the key things are these roles when I’m recruiting or talking and building teams are I think about people’s strengths. I don’t want everyone to have the same strength. A powerful team is 10 people who have a different strength, because everything together when they bring it together, it’s 10 strengths that look like 20 when they’re together as one team. So really how they complement each other.
I do a lot to build culture within a team, whether it’s like just agreeing on what the mission is, agreeing on how we’re going to run the business, bringing people along and I’m very transparent in that. There’s never a hidden agenda. I’m not going to not share things with people. So really creating that culture at a team level as well.
Taren: Excellent. Throughout your career, you mentioned that you’ve had some good managers and some bad managers. Have you ever had a mentor or somebody help sponsor you through your career?
Andrea: Yeah. I’ve been through obviously a lot of different mentors. One of my key things that I like to think about is competency-based mentoring which I’ll touch on, but I want to first touch on the sponsorship piece.
Sponsorship can be very interesting like great – it’s usually like your manager or manager’s manager, someone in your chain of command who is sponsoring you. But actually I was at a company at one point where they literally – this is one of the DEI initiatives that were going on – diversity, equity, and inclusion. It was let’s pick minorities and females and assign them a sponsor somewhere in the company. I had someone who was completely new, that I had no relationship with and we built the relationship and they ended up being a very strong sponsor for me in the long run. I thought that was a great program and something so simple that you just do that alignment within. And that was like a match talent with sponsorship.
But one of the other pieces is that competency-base. I always use this example, when I wanted to be a great presenter, I found the person who I thought was the most charismatic speaker, tracked them down and said like ‘do you have 30 minutes to just tell me how you became so good at this.’ And anyone is willing to do 30 minutes, but like if you’re like you want to be my mentor, it sounds like a life assignment. Everyone is so crazy so it is very hard to give a lot of time, but 30 minutes, anyone will give you 30 minutes. If you’re like ‘hey, I’m just developing this skill, I’d love to learn from…’ and you can learn so much in that time. So I’m very big on the competency-based mentoring.
The third part of the mentors is I think at the beginning I don’t know if it was like by default or something a bias that I had, but I was very focused on like I need a female leader. I didn’t. I didn’t need a female leader to be my mentor. As a matter of fact, some of my best mentors were men because I got to understand how they were thinking about things and how they were approaching things and then they would advise me. I would say ‘well, this is my concern.’ I’ll give you a great example.
One of my mentors was like hey, you’re creating this executive presence for yourself and reputation, one of the key things you should do is be on a board. And I was like how am I going to be on a board? I have little kids. I have this full time job. I’m doing all these things. And he said, ‘you have a lot to offer a board. Get on nonprofit. Help something that you’re passionate about, but you set the boundaries.’ I was like “what? You can do that?” He’s like ‘yes, you say you can be there this amount of time and you decide it’s one hour, two hours, three hours a month, what are you going to do?’
That was one of the best piece of advice I ever got. I ended up being on like two or three boards after that. I got great experience. I got exposure to the CEOs of all different companies through that, and I would have never taken that on because I would have said I have a family, I can’t do that. So just one great example of I think mentors are both males, females, different levels, etc.
Taren: What a great piece of advice and key to that is setting those parameters and making sure you have guardrails because that’s what women do, right? We either don’t jump in or we jump in so far in that we drown.
Andrea: You’re absolutely right.
Taren: So say yes, of course we can do that, of course we can do this, of course we can do that. Another piece was that competency mentoring, I think what a key piece of advice because you’re right, 30 minutes is such an easy gift for somebody to give and you can get so much out of it and what a great learning from that. I love that. So thank you for sharing. Those are great examples.
Andrea, obviously you have gotten to that executive level and you talked a little bit about some of the things that have gotten you there. Like one of the things building that executive presence by joining a board. What are some of the other tidbits or lessons you learned along the way as you progressed up your career?
Andrea: We talked about boards a little bit, I think also building your brand and knowing what your brand is. Just doing that exercise of what do I want to be known for, where are my passions and creating that and being true to it, being your authentic version of that.
I also think being vocal about what your goals are. A lot of times I think I tended to be someone in the past when you thought about career development, I’m like I’m okay, yeah whatever happens happens. And then my boss would leave and I’d say ‘oh no. What am I going to do here?’ And then I literally would say “I need to take that job because there’s nobody that’s going to be able to do it as good as me.” I would convince myself, but every single time I took my boss, my boss’s boss job, etc. etc., I looked at that person and I said I could never do that job and I would get in and I would kill it. And I would tell myself “wait, you can the do the job above that too.”
So I think visualize where you want to go and make it happen from that perspective by talking about it and making people known, making it known to people like I do want to do these types of roles and this is what I’m open to.
I had an experience where someone there was actually a manager’s role open and there was a female who had a young family and she’s like ‘I can’t take it. I’m not going to be able to balance work.’ I was like “Let me talk to them.” And I went to talk to her and I said, “Listen, you are the number one salesperson. You sold the largest deal. It was impactful for the business. It was impactful for this company, for the customer, the outcomes. You are the most qualified person to take this role.”
And I gave the same advice that someone once gave me – set the boundaries, set rules for when you would work, when you’d want work, what are the hours, etc. Find ways because you deserve this role. I said, “I don’t want to pressure you, but think about it.” And within a month, she thought about it and she went for the role and she ended up getting the job and she came back to me afterward and said, “Thank you. Like I’m so glad I talked to you.” Because I could quickly turn the other way and say I just can’t handle both of them.
So I think listening to advice and seek out people when you have those situations because you do need someone who will kind of look at the opportunities objectively with you.
Taren: That’s awesome advice. Thank you so much for sharing. That’s a great example, and kudos to you for extending a hand out to somebody who was in need of a hand. That’s wonderful. I’m going to dig a little bit deeper into you talked about the need to not only have executive presence and all of that, but building your brand and understanding who that is and who you are as your brand, that’s hard for people to do. That requires a lot of introspection and requires a lot of careful thought. I mean that’s a tough thing to do. How do you get your arms wrapped around that?
Andrea: It is. We actually have a women’s group that we would do this as an exercise. We would take like one example like it’s very easy to look up an example, someone’s brand. There’s a lot of examples out on the web, like a one slide. Get your story down in one slide. It is a lot of work to think about what that is. You think about what your passions are. You think about the three things you want to be known for. You think about future roles that you want to have and what you would need to be in those roles. But I find if you get like core group of people and just keep working through that, it will be what you want it to be. You have to do a couple of iterations. You have to get input from people and you have to test it. It takes a couple of months. But I challenge everyone to do one slide that tells your story. That kind of became my walking duck for everything. It didn’t matter what job I was going for, who I was talking to; I would introduce myself with that one slide. Like this is me. Here’s what I’m passionate about. It included photos of me. It included my personal side as well as my professional side and some of my goals.
Taren: That’s an amazing piece of advice. Thank you so much for sharing that. And because this is our WoW podcast program, I am going to challenge you to distill all of this into one wow moment that either shaped your career or changed the trajectory of your career.
Andrea: So obviously there’s a lot of opportunities in this industry to be recognized in different ways for your contributions and things that you do. There was actually a local magazine called Main Line Today. It’s like the area that I live in and they had the most powerful women and at the time I was at Microsoft and I made the list. And I remember I’m in a national role and meet with a lot of different people across the country, but for some reason that local piece a lot of people picked it up and started reaching out to me and I feel like it really solidified where I was in my community, as well as my profession.
And for me it was really a 360 moment because my mother…
So I’m an immigrant. My parents came from Ireland. I did as well. They brought two children here and my father worked three jobs. My mom raised five kids at home and when the fifth kid was old enough and in school she started cleaning homes, and she cleaned homes and in the Main Line, and she would tell stories of all the people she cleaned homes for of like how successful they were.
So for me, as the next generation to be named one of the most powerful women of the Main Line where she was once the cleaner was definitely like a 360 moment for me, both personally and professional because it just really brought my brand and awareness of who I was at a whole different level.
Taren: That’s an amazing story. For our listeners when Andrea says Main Line, she means Philadelphia. Yes, that is quite the 360. Now because I don’t know, but was your mom alive when you were named?
Andrea: Yes, my mom was alive. Yeah. She still is today.
Taren: What was her reaction to this?
Andrea: She was so proud and floored and she came… there was an actual event and she came to it, etc., so absolutely.
Taren: What an amazing moment for both of you. That’s wonderful. I have chills. That’s great. Andrea, thank you so much for your time today. This is a podcast packed full of great leadership tidbits and personal stories and really terrific insights. So I hope the audience has the opportunity to unpack this and really take some of these learnings that you have been so generous to share with us and implement them in their own career journey. So thank you so much for being part of our WoW podcast program.
Andrea: Taren, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it in creating this community. When you talk about networking in a community, you are the queen. You know how to bring people together, and I am so lucky to be a part of this PharmaVOICE community. Thank you for all you’ve done to create it and help it flourish. I’m proud to be a part of it.
Taren: Well, thank you so much for your kind words and we are only a community because of folks like you. It’s terrific. I wish you continued great success and as move from being a newgler to being a full time Googler, I know you’re going to do tremendous work. I look forward to see what the future holds.
Andrea: Great. Thank you, Taren.
Thanks for listening to this episode of WoW – the Woman of the Week podcast. For more WoW episodes, visit pharmavoice.com.