Since embarking on my MSL career in 2019, I have chronicled much of my journey as an MSL in a variety of articles in this journal. As I reflected on my earlier writings, I realized that I have focused on what I have done but not what I plan to do. As I look with pride at what I have accomplished, I am excited about what I hope to accomplish in the future and how I plan to accomplish it.
I have strived to have a very methodical approach to my career. The onus is upon me to carve out a successful career that is personally and professionally satisfying. I feel each step that I have taken has prepared me for my current role. With careful planning, each step that I take will prepare me for the next phase of my career.
As much as I would like to take all the credit and say that my accomplishments have been achieved by my own wit and determination, I know that I would not be where I am without the honesty, encouragement, and support of those who see my potential and challenge me to continue to strive for more and achieve my goals. I also know that to attain the next step in my career I will continue to need guidance, truthfulness, and inspiration. One of my key advocates who is also an amazing mentor is Matthew John Rice, Global Learning Architect Director at MerckI. have learned a vast amount from his mentorship and friendship. With his guidance, I have sharpened my focus on what drives me and what is important to me. I have learned to course-correct myself when I start to veer off to a path that may hinder progress to my goals.
I started my MSL career at Alimera, a small pharmaceutical company, where I had the opportunity to work on a small, close-knit team led by Joan Hester, Senior Director of Medical Affairs. Joan, who is one of the key people in my career, continues to be a source of inspiration and sound advice even as I have moved to another opportunity. Working at a small pharmaceutical company afforded me the opportunity to gain broad experience in Medical Affairs from medical writing to training to interacting with leadership in addition to the typical functions of an MSL. Each opportunity trained my sights on what truly drives me as a professional. As much as I enjoyed the many experiences, I knew that to continue to grow I needed to find my next opportunity.
My journey in Medical Affairs continues with Regeneron where I have the good fortune to continue to work in the ophthalmology therapeutic area and be a part of a larger and more diverse team. With Regeneron, I not only learn from the different disciplines on my team, but I also learn from the years of varied experience among my colleagues. For me, the move to a larger pharmaceutical company means that the breadth of opportunity is different than that of a smaller company, but the depth of the opportunities is much more. I can refine those skills that will be key to my next career step by employing the vast resources available through a much larger Medical Affairs department. There is more opportunity to gain experience from others with similar interests and career objectives. I want to continue to understand the many facets of being a successful Medical Affairs professional and create a solid foundation for the next step in my career.
With patience and continued learning, I hope to pursue my next desired role in Medical Affairs. I have the career that I have because others have invested in me. I want to have the ability to invest in others and move into Medical Affairs training and development. I desire to be able to create, deliver, and facilitate role-specific and product training. Working with cross-functional partners to create learning opportunities and achieve objectives is exciting, thrilling, and daunting all at the same time. I know that when the right opportunity arrives I will be ready to fulfill the role with much zest, confidence, and knowledge.
To achieve the next step, I must not only continue to enhance my understanding of the Medical Affairs function, but I must continue to develop as a well-rounded professional. In addition to my mentors, I am working with Colleen Zimmerman, Certified Professional Coach, to develop my full potential. With Colleen’s coaching, I will focus on the possibilities, develop an action plan, and follow through to become the best candidate for my desired role.
I hope that in a future publication of this journal I will be writing to tell you how well I executed my plan, what I learned, what I would do differently, and how fulfilling my Medical Affairs Training role is. Until then, I plan to continue to learn as much as I can, maximize each opportunity given, and continue to draw on the wisdom and guidance of others.
Angela Valadez, PharmD, MBA
Angela Valadez is Senior Manager, Medical Affairs for Regeneron. Angela has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Kansas and a Master of Business Administration from Baker University. With a passion for using evidence-based medicine to guide treatment decisions, Angela has worked with physicians throughout her pharmaceutical career to manage patient care and impact health outcomes. She was named a MSL Rookie of the Year Finalist in 2020 and was named MSL of the Year for Alimera Sciences in 2020.