Warm holiday greetings to everyone! As we settle into winter and the holidays are upon us, I want to wish each of you a happy new year going into 2021! This year has been one of unprecedented challenge and vast change for all of us! In my view, we are demonstrating the nimble, adaptable nature MSLs and leaders have! Closing out 2020, we are dedicating this issue of The MSL Journal to virtual development. Check out the array of topics as you consider novel approaches and ways to stretch professionally in our new environment! From developing virtual presentation and interview techniques to polishing your virtual conference approach and remembering to keep patients first in our discussions and scientific efforts, this issue will build more bridges for learning as you start a new year!
While you make your new year resolutions, which may include losing weight packed on during the stay at home orders of the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage everyone to have an individual development plan with specific professional goals you wish to accomplish. Without a target goal, it is always more challenging to know if you truly achieve an objective! An approach that has always worked well for me is to place a calendar hold note for 15-30 minutes per week to look at my development folder resources and absorb new ideas and information or tips I can try that week! Be sure to invest in yourself regularly and seek feedback for your growth needs. We all need development and new opportunities regardless of how much experience we have. Based on a 2018 MSL Society survey of 304 MSLs, professional growth is the primary reason MSLs leave their position, whether a lack of development and training or lack of opportunities to grow and stretch. Thus, asking for new opportunities and investing in development is critical to both MSLs and leaders in order to attract and maintain talent within the organization. MSL capabilities are quite diverse compared with other positions. Take time to review MSL capability continuum guides (hint – one was published in the January 2020 journal edition!) and consider how you want to focus on growth in your next year!
Also vital is to consider who you look to for mentorship and whom you can mentor. Reach upward and also around you to lend an ear, offer sage advice, and seek new ideas from others. MSLs are natural networkers; leverage networking and the MSL Society to help you with mentorship. The MSL Society mentorship program is a fantastic way to get involved and informal mentorship can also be done with work colleagues and others in your network as you reach out to your MSL community! Consider elevating your voice by writing for the journal; we want to hear your ideas, best practices and perspectives! Know that your accomplishments and experiences reach a global Medical Affairs audience in this journal!
Keep growing and developing in these virtual times and know that 2021 will bring renewed energy and focus as you invest in growing your skills and capabilities!
Grab a cup of cocoa (or beer/wine) and dive into this edition of The MSL Journal! Happy reading and best wishes for a wonderful, relaxing, safe and healthy holiday!
Cherie Hyder, PharmD, MSL-BC is Medical Excellence and Operations Lead in Medical Affairs at Biohaven Pharmaceuticals where she recently supported a virtual launch of Nurtec ODT for acute migraine. She has been involved in drug development for more than 30 years, working at FDA in CDER and pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Lilly, Novartis, Solvay, and Avanir, among others. At University of Missouri, she received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree with the intention to devote her career to pharmaceutical research. She has multiple adjunct faculty appointments and enjoys teaching opportunities.