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Navigating Your Path: 5 Tips for Women Starting or Growing Their Career in Pharma - Sonia Riverin


As someone deeply entrenched in the pharmaceutical and medical recruitment fields for more than two decades here in Canada, I’ve witnessed the industry evolve and flourish, welcoming diverse talents and perspectives. To all the women stepping into this dynamic arena or already making waves, I offer these five guiding principles. Let me know what you think – or what you might add!


Embrace the Right Attitude and Cultural Fit

Cultivate a mindset of adaptability and openness. It’s important to seek organizations where your values align with theirs, where you feel a sense of belonging and are valued. Remember, cultural fit is a two-way street – it's about finding the right fit for both you and your employer.


Dive Deep and Work Hard

Every project, no matter how small, presents an opportunity for growth. Immerse yourself fully, absorb knowledge like a sponge, and don't shy away from challenges. The more you invest in honing your skills and gaining experience, the more doors will open for you. I have four children in the workforce and I always tell them to put up their hand and say “yes!”


Make Mentorship a Priority 

Find a mentor who can offer guidance, support, and a fresh perspective. They’re not there to solve your problems but to empower you to find your solutions. A mentorship relationship can be a valuable source of wisdom and encouragement. As you navigate your career journey, I would encourage you to join Women Leaders in Pharma (WLP), a unique organization tailored to the needs of women working in the pharmaceutical industry – with a mentorship program that’s unmatched. 


Embrace Change and Take Risks

Change can be daunting, but it’s also where growth thrives (I personally took a big risk 21 years ago, which I’ve never regretted; I was a single mom when I moved from a secure pharma sales management role to a commission-based recruitment position). Don't shy away from challenges — view them as opportunities for innovation and advancement. Take calculated risks, step out of your comfort zone, and embrace the journey of self-discovery and professional development.


Believe in Yourself

Confidence is your greatest asset. Trust your abilities, celebrate your achievements, and never underestimate your worth. Make a list of your accomplishments, what you have learned from your setbacks, and what you hope to achieve – and update it regularly. Find happiness in your work, pursue what ignites your passion, and let your authenticity shine through.


As you embark on or continue your journey in the pharmaceutical and healthcare realm, remember that you are part of a vibrant community of women leaders shaping the future of the industry. Seize every opportunity to learn, grow, and inspire – and get involved with a supportive network such as WLP.


Your potential is limitless, and your contributions are invaluable. Believe in yourself, and let your light illuminate the path ahead. The world is waiting for your brilliance to shine.


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