I was born/grew up in: Chatham (now city of Miramichi), New Brunswick
I now live in: Riverview, New Brunswick
What I do at work
I work for Merck Canada, a large pharmacological company. From a STEM point of view, every aspect of my daily work is related to scientific data and clinical trials in cancer care. Without data, there is no differentiated care and the clinical trial development in cancer care in Canada is critical in making a difference in the lives of patients.
One of the core challenges in solving issues for healthcare professionals, and their patients, is to provide solutions that are as targeted as possible. The concept of precision medicine in Oncology has become a core focus. When making decisions in my daily work I have to balance our commercial outcomes with the needs of customers and patients. From a problem solving perspective, this means I need as many facts as possible. It also means I have to use those facts to guide my decision making with the knowledge that sometimes the issues and opportunities may be in conflict.
Everything that I do is rooted in science and depends upon having good data. My background in Science helps support my daily work and my background in Nuclear Medicine helps give me an appreciation for the patient. I lead a team but am part of several other teams. From project management to daily execution, we meet virtually with weekly meetings and in person when appropriate. The fact that I took French Immersion in school has helped me extend my career opportunities. Being able to speak French supports my daily work with many colleagues.
My career path is
When I graduated from high school, I was accepted to the College of Pharmacy at Dalhousie University. During my first year of university, I was also elected to be a Page in the House of Commons. Because it was too great an opportunity, I embraced the Page Program. I decided, while at the University of Ottawa, that I no longer wanted to be a pharmacist. I did transfer back to Dal to complete my science degree.
When I finished I spent a year teaching school as a supply teacher before being accepted in the Nuclear Medicine program. Late in my BSc, I considered many career options. Even after completing my Nuclear Medicine diploma, was unsure what I wanted to do for the rest of my work life. By accident, I met with an executive recruiter and he liked my ability to communicate, make complex concepts relevant and deal with ambiguity. I got hired and that started me on the career I have today.
I am motivated by
My career is motivated by the impact that my daily work has on Canadian patients. The constant change and the dependence on clinical data keeps my job interesting. My career found me! It has now been over 25 years and I know it's right for me because it supports my learning mindset.
How I affect peoples’ lives
My career is relevant and fulfilling because everyone is impacted by cancer. Directly, or indirectly, we will all know a person with cancer. My career helps shape an environment that gives patients hope. I work for a company that does important research in basic science and medicine that saves and improves the lives of patients impacted by cancer.
Outside of work I
My passion is photography. I do as much of it as I can in my spare time. It engages a different part of my brain, supports my learning mindset much like my daily work does, and lets me meet many different people. I do most of my volunteer work through photography with organizations that help others. I no longer play organized sports but shoot a ton of them through the lens! I spend most of my time at the gym to keep in shape.
My advice to others
Ask questions. Job shadow when possible and don't limit your possibilities. Making good choices with education sets a strong base and gives you some latitude to consider many opportunities for work. My biggest advice is pursue what makes you happy.