December 6, 2023

Be an Opportunity Magnet

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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Tune in as I share how you can be an opportunity magnet in the Pharma/Biotech industry. When you’re an opportunity magnet you have jobs, exciting projects, and promotions coming to you, rather than you chasing them.  It makes it easy for your boss to say yes when you request that next step in your career.


  • Evidence that there is a ton of opportunity for new jobs in Pharma/Biotech right now
  • The 3 things you need to have the career you want
  • How you can become an opportunity magnet that has opportunities coming to you


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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo. So you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up-level begins now. Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast.

It’s already the beginning of December when this comes out, and I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. Industry has had a lot of this year and it feels like a lot more disruption in a bad way than we are used to. Now, I’ve talked to a lot more people impacted by layoffs and reorgs this year, so it’s very real. But I have also seen so much resiliency, rebound, and just better opportunity created this year also. On today’s episode of the podcast, I’m going to talk about how to be an opportunity magnet. Now, this can be for a new job, tapping into that hidden job market, or just being identified as the person for the next opportunity or high visibility project at work. Before we get into those specifics, there has been a lot of celebrations and wins with my clients lately, and I want to share some of them with you as a source of inspiration of what is really possible, because when you’re surrounded by negativity, it can sometimes seem very bleak, and so I want to round out that perspective for you and talk about some good things that are happening.

First, I want to celebrate two members of my coaching group, Beyond the Ceiling. This is my program for women in pharma biotech who want to upgrade their career. Now, these two members joined the group when they were impacted by a layoff. They were in between jobs, and within three weeks of being in the program, they both secured new jobs. How incredible is that? Now, it takes a lot of courage when you’re in that situation of being impacted by a layoff to double down on yourself and decide that you’re worth the support that you desire or that you can still work with the coach you want to work with. They joined and they have been putting in the work no matter the obstacles. They created their own safety and security by getting themselves a role right away so that they could really feel happy then not so stressed out and not so worried and really focus on what they want to to hold for themselves. One of the members had a message and she wanted me to share this. She said, Joining the group with you and the others has really opened my eyes. It truly has been a shift from doing what other people think I can do over to I am worthy and what do I really want more of, which is super empowering.

She has already tackled improving her work-life balance, having more time for her family, boundaries at work, and starting to create her career protocol, which is going to tell her exactly what she wants long term and how to get it. This is just the beginning for these ladies, and I am so happy for them that I get to facilitate their career development journey is just so humbling and honoring. I just love helping women in the industry see what’s really possible and live a life that they want, which is also part of your career. If you’re not happy in your career, if you’re working all the time, if you’re not doing what you love, if you don’t have time for the things you really enjoy, that impacts every part of your life. It impacts all of your relationships. It’s just so… I don’t know. I can’t even put into words. I get choked up and lost for words when I sometimes talk about the work that I do because it’s just so… I just respect the women I work with so much. Everyone I work with is so talented, and I get to help them get to that next level for themselves.

There’s a ripple effect to that, to everyone that they know, and it changes their life forever and top of getting everything they want for their career. It’s just amazing. I’m just so happy for them. They did that for themselves in just the first few weeks. I want you to take this as evidence that if you’re feeling like opportunities are limited or that you’ll never get where you want to go or that you can’t get into the job, you can’t get the promotion, that you can 100% get those things and carve out your own unique path as a woman in pharma or biotech. Now, I’m going to tell you one more story. Another client of mine, she’s a one-on-one client, Jen, she had some clarity on what she wanted, but she was getting rejected at work. Her leadership team said that she was great and she was a high performer, but they wouldn’t make the changes to her role that she wanted. They wouldn’t move her into a new role. She wasn’t able to get any advancement. After hearing no from her boss, from her leadership team, she did all the right things, mind you. Went to HR.

She did a pitch. She put together slides. They said no. At that point, we started working together because something had to give and she really wanted to have time for her to focus on her own growth and development. She wanted a private space to work through some of her issues and concerns, and she also wanted to advance her career. Let me tell you a little bit more. Jen is an associate director for a large pharma company, and she has decades of experience in the industry. She’s not junior to her career at all, and she’s someone that gets things done. When she reached out to me, like I said, she had identified the type of work that she wanted to do. She had done some of that exploration on her own, and she had even pursued additional education and credentials. She had padded her resume with all the right things to demonstrate her qualifications in the area she wanted to work. She worked on high visibility projects, and she demonstrated her skills and effectiveness. She started building a portfolio to show what she could do outside of the scope of what she had been doing for so many years.

She had participated in her company’s leadership development program for women also, which should also give you that competitive advantage because when companies have programs for women leaders and you go through those, then you’re tagged as someone that has future potential, someone that they want to promote because it’s also good for the metrics for the company to send people through their program and then promote them. She had done all of the right things. Like I said, she had created a presentation, she had pitched her leadership. She felt like she did everything that she was supposed to, everything that she was taught to do, and she was told no. She tried again and she was told no. She found allies in her senior leadership team, but she was told no, not now. She reached out to me for coaching, but she was concerned about the investment. Because she thought she did everything she could, she wondered if she would be able to get different results or if she would be able to dedicate the time to do the work that would create the results that she wanted. She ended up hiring me, even though she wasn’t 100% sure what would happen.

I just want to note that it’s difficult to be 100% sure on something you’ve never done before. This is completely normal. When you’re doing anything new, whether it’s hiring a coach or doing anything you’ve never done before, it’s near impossible to feel 100% confident about something that you haven’t done before. There’s going to be that little bit of uneasiness and it’s going to create the necessity for you to have some self-trust and to have your back that you can handle whatever the outcome is because it’s not guaranteed. When we started working together, we got crystal clear on what she wanted and the value proposition to her company. The details matter. Even though she had a general idea, even some specifics, she didn’t have all of them. We improved her communication skills and we used my industry disrupt strategy to work with her leadership to change her job to be a win-win for her and her company. I talked about this a little bit in last week’s episode. She had a new role created for her. She wrote the job description all within three months. After hearing no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

We tweaked what she wanted. We came up with the value proposition. We used my industry disrupt strategy. She went in back with her leadership, positioned it differently. It was really clear on how this position was going to help her company and she got a yes. We used the strategy that I have to have her essentially ensure that that was a no-brainer for her leadership, and she was able to write the job description and paint the picture for how this role was going to help her company. She had this role created for her. She moved into it. Here’s what she said, I had the opportunity to write a job description for a new role that would support closing business-critical gaps in my organization that also leverages my strengths and for strategy deployment and people development. I’ve been in this role since August of 2023, and I love it. That’s amazing, right? She improved her leadership and communication skills, so this is what she says about that. I think the biggest area of personal growth is learning how much I was contributing to the conflicts I was having. Since I’ve been able to use the tools as well as a better understanding of myself, I am able to show up as myself and also manage my emotions so much better.

I used to think being emotional was my superpower and being transparent about my emotions was what made me a unique and authentic leader. In fact, not having control of my emotions or overuse of them actually prevented me from my most authentic self. That insight and awareness blew my mind. I was with her every step of the way. I facilitated this journey for her. But when she sent this to me, I was like, the awareness she has to write this in this way is just incredible and demonstrates the amount of growth that she had both internally and how she feels, but also externally in the achievements that she was able to create for herself. And those things are connected, okay? It’s why you need both the mindset and you need the strategy, okay? What surprised her about coaching is I love that you listen, empathize, and then tell it to me like I need to be told. Your ability to navigate through how I was feeling to help me understand how I could do things different was outstanding. This helped me transition to leveraging my time to understand how I can impact situations differently instead of trying to understand why people don’t get me.

I don’t have to spend any time doing that anymore because I always start with what I could do differently and the rest follows in all of my relationships, not just work. How incredible is that? I just want to take a minute to celebrate her. She did such amazing, deep work. She was very open. She used the tools. She went back in, and when we talked about things, she went and applied it and implemented it and took action. Because of that, she got results. Results she wasn’t able to get on her own. Now she’s going to have those with her forever. Just think of the impact of her not only being a better leader, being more authentic, being a more effective communicator, but also being in the job she loves, she was able to pivot to a completely different realm of work than she had been doing for several years. She was able to demonstrate that. Now she’s going to be able to just grow her career from there in the industry field that she wants to be in, and she’s going to be able to build her expertise there. That is just going to change the entire trajectory of her career.

I am so, so happy for her. Stories like Jen’s are remarkable, but they are also the norm for my clients. A big misconception that people have is that my clients that get these results are somehow different than you, that they have more resources, that the changes they want to make are somehow easier than what you would want to do. That thinking is just keeping you stuck where you are. Now, I get it. I used to think that way too. It kept me not living up to my potential and not figuring out my zone of genius for years. I doubted what I could do, that I could have a business, that I could stand out. I thought it was easier for other people that other people had a skill or presence that I didn’t. That made it easier for them. I questioned what I really wanted. It made everything very confusing. Guess what? When I was thinking that way, I stayed small. I stayed where I was with this nagging feeling there was something more for me and not really doing anything about it. I still had excellent performance reviews. I did well for myself, but I kept myself small and I didn’t go after anything too big or too visible.

When I had that nagging feeling, there was something more for me or that I could sit at the leadership table and I could change the way that my leadership team did things and I could change the way my company did things. I told myself not yet or I wasn’t ready. Things changed for me and I made the big moves and started my business when I hired my own coach. I was able to negotiate my own promotion. I was able to create my own job description on my own. I ended out coaching through hard work and trial and error, and I’ve now expedited that process and I used those strategies with my clients, but I had a ceiling. When I got sick of playing small and the worry that I would regret not exploring more for myself, that is when I built up the courage to hire a coach. Just like with my clients, it created a big change in me to get over the hurdle of investing my own money in myself, not knowing 100% if I was going to get the results I wanted. But investing in myself created this belief that I was worth the investment, that I deserved support, that money I worked hard for.

I worked hard in my career for that money, yet I didn’t feel entitled to spending it on myself. That felt selfish. It was better spent for kitchen appliances or DoorDash or my kids or vacations. That my development was really only worth investing in as much as my company would pay for it, or as much as it would provide a credential on my resume that I could somehow then justify is worth it. But I got over that and realized I could create my own path. This is how it starts. Then you do get results and you see just what opportunities exist, just how support and coaching can make a difference and give you that competitive edge. That’s how those two women that are beyond the ceiling were able to get jobs within just a couple of weeks of being in the program because they had the support to work through their stressors and to accommodate and address some of the issues and concerns, and they had a place to ask questions so that they could get faster results, and they didn’t have to spend their time stressing and spinning out and wondering what was going to happen.

They were able to take more concentrated and effective effort. Now, it requires you to be open to an expert and someone else to point out blind spots that you have. It takes a growth mindset to believe that deep down you could have done everything you were taught to do, everything that was right and still miss something or use help and not to make that mean that you’re not good enough, that you’re less than, that there’s something wrong with you. It sounds simple, but our egos can get really caught up and in the way of doing that. You combine this with doing something you haven’t done before, spending your own money, and that caveman brain is going to come out and tell you all the reasons to be afraid, all the reasons you don’t need it, all the reasons you should wait, all the reasons you can do it on your own, all the reasons it doesn’t make sense. But I can tell you that those that seek help grow faster and get results. I am one of them. My clients are them also. It just is what makes them different. It’s not that we have different skills, that we have different opportunities, that we are luckier.

It’s that we made a different choice. That was a little bit of a rant, wasn’t it? I got a little worked up on that. I just want you to know that it’s not that other people are more deserving or have something that you don’t or that they have better management or whatever it is that you tell yourself. It’s just that they made a different choice that they invested in their development to get them ahead faster. It’s like that… What is it? There’s a visual, and I think it comes from lean, maybe process improvement, but it’s these Legos and it’s these people that are pulling something that is square. It’s supposed to be wheels, but they’re square, so it’s harder work to get squares to turn over than a circle. Right? There’s someone standing on the side being like, Look, I have this circle, which is this perfect wheel that would make things easier. The people that are pulling the square wheels are like, No, I’m too busy. I don’t have time. No, I’m too busy. They’re not stopping and really looking at what’s available to them and looking at something that’s right there waving in their face is help that they could have to get where they want to go faster.

They’re too busy, focused on the wrong things. It’s like that visual, if you’ve ever seen that before. It’s totally okay if investing is not an option for you right now or something that you’re interested in. That’s not the entire point of what I’m saying. But if you are and you are able, then this message is for you. It’s a reminder not to place small and reject yourself from the opportunities that are available to you. But let’s talk about how to be an opportunity magnet because getting coaching, having that support, definitely helpful. Obviously, I definitely recommend it. But this episode is about helping you become an opportunity magnet, and coaching isn’t the only way to do that. It definitely helps because you get more opportunities, you’re able to overcome your blind spots, you take action more quickly, you know what action to take, and you stop wasting your time on things like tinkering with your resume, definitely creates more opportunities more quickly. But there’s also other things you can do that are completely free to you that are going to give you more exposure and allow more opportunities to come to you. So being an opportunity magnet is something that I teach my clients.

I’m going to share with you a little bit about that today. So there’s figuring out exactly what you want, and like I said, the details do matter. You need a unique career protocol that tells you exactly what you want and the answers to all of your questions so you know what direction to take. Then there is your skill to make your career protocol happen, which could be building your self-confidence, improving your communication skills, managing up your interview skills, anything that is a gap between what you want and where you are right now. Then there is the strategy, which I call the industry disrupt strategy because generic advice doesn’t work for you. As a woman in pharma biotech, especially right now with the turbulent changes that have occurred, you need to stand out and position yourself differently. We need to disrupt the industry norms and get you what you want. If you listen to last week’s episode around the current state of the workplace for women, especially women of color, you know you need something different. We work on these things in-depth and beyond the ceiling. My group coaching program for women in pharma biotech to have the career that they want, earning more and working less.

But there are things you can do that make you more visible and desirable that make you stand up from the competition and have more opportunities coming to you. Opportunities could be job offers or exciting projects. I want you to think about what would make you an opportunity magnet. Doing a good job and hard work doesn’t count, so you can’t include that. Those are a given, and those things don’t get you a promotion or a new job. I know, but they don’t. What could you do? Think of what makes people visible. One thing is your relationships. Think about who knows you and who knows what you do. If you go back to the episode with John Mason, who’s a talent leader of Takeda, he shared an activity that you could do to map out who is most important for you to know based on where you are and what you want in your career, the direction you want to go in. First, you want to go back and you could complete that exercise and then ask yourself, do those people, those key stakeholders, and those key relationships are going to help you get where you want to go?

Do they know you and what you do? Do they see the value that you bring? Do they know what problems you solve? If not, how can you be more visible to them? Then secondly, another thing is to think about how you demonstrate your expertise to the industry or to your department or to your site. Are you posting on LinkedIn and sharing your thoughts about recent articles or current trends? Are you being published? Are you presenting at conferences or within your company? Are you building relationships outside of your immediate group and company? How do people in the industry know who you are and what you do? The more people that know who you are and what you do, the more opportunities you will have. The first thing to think about is who is it important to know? Then do you have a presence in your company or in the industry of people who know you and what you do the problems you solve? You’re increasing your relationships to people who know you and what you do. Then brainstorm how you can demonstrate your expertise in your area, the one you’re in or the one you want to be in.

How can you show that you can solve a problem that you want to solve? Those are two simple things you can do right now to increase your opportunities to be visible to the right people, demonstrate your expertise. When you’re working on being an opportunity magnet in the background of knowing what you want, using a solid industry strategy, and filling any gaps you have for the opportunity that you want, you will get huge results. You will not only enjoy work better and build your confidence in your expertise, but you will be seen as a sought-after-thought leader and people will be begging to work with you, even over other people who have more qualifications on their resume. So give it a try. Figure out who do you need to be visible to and how can you demonstrate your expertise. Let me know how it goes and have an amazing week. Hey there. If you’re ready to be in a role you love, I want to invite you to join Beyond the Ceiling, where you’re going to stop feeling stuck, know your best career move, get in a role you love where you can have the impact you want to while feeling more confident and earning more with my proven process.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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