HBA New England region presented “Navigating a Path to the C-Suite” as part of the Executive Women’s Series which features C-suite female leaders sharing their personal and professional journeys with other senior leaders.
The evening “fireside chat” event featured Julie Krop, MD, chief medical officer and executive vice president of medical development and regulatory affairs at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, and was moderated by Amama Sadiq, MD, medical director at Clarion.
Dr. Krop immediately captivated the audience by discussing her non-linear journey from an academic career to working in corporate business. “It was a challenging career shift, as I transitioned from a career where I was an individual contributor to working in a matrix organization,” she explained. “However, I learned to listen to what others have to say and to see things from their perspectives. I always try to assume they have good intentions and are looking out for the business, even if I disagree with their point of view.”
Julie took numerous bold career steps – working at a large pharmaceutical company, a startup biotech, a large medical device company, and a mid-size publicly traded pharmaceutical company – and in each new role she found challenges and successes, learning opportunities and lessons that she brought with her to each subsequent position. She learned new business models, built cohesive teams, led clinical development and ran regulatory reviews, with some products succeeding and others not. With each experience, she was better equipped to advance in her career journey.
Several years ago, she realized that she aspired to be a CMO. Once again she stepped out of her comfort zone and took a risk, joining AMAG Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and bringing to market therapies that help address unmet health needs. It has proven to be an extraordinarily rewarding decision both personally and professionally.
To others mapping out their career path, her advice is solid:
- Focus on opportunities to broaden your career as you advance rather than on the title. Garner as many different experiences and be demanding of your boss. Ask for new development opportunities, ask to sit in on discussions. Be pro-active. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
- It’s not always an obvious, clear-cut career path, but every new experience can contribute to professional growth. Growth opportunities can be based on happenstance, due to a great mentor or boss, but ultimately, it requires taking risks and moving out of your comfort zone.
- Mentors are key and they can be people from different parts of your life – not only people you work with – even a close friend can be a sounding board. Seek advice from people that are close advisors; it’s always good to get their perspectives.
When asked what she’s doing now to continue to grow as a leader, Julie replied, “Now I’m looking more to what gives meaning to me, where can I add value and what I’m most passionate about. Now while working in women’s health, I’m thinking about how to educate people and affect healthcare at a broader level.”
The audience asked how to know if a company supports gender equality. Dr. Krop suggested looking at the composition of the executive team and the make up of the company, and doing as much online and other research as possible before joining the organization.
Dr. Krop concluded with a final statement, “When you love what you do, your performance will be reflected in your work. When you feel like you’re making a difference then you know you’re in the right place.”
The HBA wishes to thank Dr. Julie Krop, Dr. Sadiq, Carol Bergeron, HBA New Engand region chair, and AMAG for their generous hospitality and sponsorship, the entire volunteer team from HBA and AMAG, and especially Jessica Blaustein for her tireless efforts in managing a successful and engaging event.