Members Lounge

Past Meetings

November 18, 2014

Move your career forward!

This evening was the PMCQ’s one and only event on career management and proved to be an extremely energetic and motivating meeting. Cynthia Queano, the PMCQ president, kicked the meeting off by reinforcing the PMCQ’s commitment to helping its members enhance their competitive profile in today’s pharma environment.

The meeting began with Jordan Lebel, from the John Molson School of Business, who presented the school’s special offer for an Executive MBA for PMCQ members. He provided an overview of the program, as well as the complimentary modules that are focused around themes. With the special offer, PMCQ members can receive a $5000 discount on the program.

Rania Ijhaish-Nasraoui, the PMCQ Vice President – Social, spoke about the upcoming events, which include:

  • December 9th 5:30-8:30, the Magical Holiday Event
    • Based on feedback from previous years, this event has been completely revamped with a new time and location, so reserve your spot now!
  • January 28th: Why patient-centricity & profit are not mutually exclusive
  • February 17th: Do you have the right commercial model?
  • June 12th: Golf tournament
    • Again, based on feedback, the event has been moved to a Friday

Rania also provided another example of PMCQ’s commitment to education, which is a $50 discount for “The Art of Marketing” workshop on November 25th.

Georges Ged from Otsuka Pharmaceuticals was the moderator for the evening and gave a brief overview on OCPI and the brands they promote in Canada. He then introduced the first speaker, Enza Cignarella, the Director of Strategic Operations Oncology at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada. Enza gave a very engaging presentation, which revolved around the question, “Do you believe that your career is a destination or a journey?” She led the audience through her career path and explained that a career is like a trip in the sense that you start, travel, arrive at a destination, obtain some learnings along the way, travel back home and then start another trip.

Enza’s key learnings and take-aways:

  • Think back to things that you enjoyed as a child to help you determine what you want to do as a career.
  • You have to take the first step, or “make the first booking” to start your career. Determine where to work, in what role, for how much money, for how long and for what purpose.
  • Sometimes you take the “scenic route” on your trip, but this allows you to discover people, yourself and the world around you, which will cause you to change and adapt.
  • Sometimes you may get stuck in a “layover”, but it may be required to get to the next leg of your journey. “Layovers” also allow you to discover people, yourself and the world around you.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, it feels good, but it’s impermanent. When you “arrive” you’re done learning for the time being and you obtain a sense of self, but then you get an itch about what to do next.
  • Learnings that you gain on a trip are the metaphorical “baggage” that you carry.
  • Employers are like modes of transportation. They are there to carry you from one job to the next and provide learnings along the way and some are more efficient than others.

Enza left the audience with these final words: “My career has been a carrier for me. It’s a series of iterative cycles. Each journey leads to a destination. You repeat it and it’s intended to take you back to yourself. Career is about you, you and you.”
For more information you can reach Enza directly at:

The second speaker of the evening was Hani Kafoury, the Founder and Senior Transition Consultant and Coach at Tranzition Consulting Services. He gave a very dynamic presentation about how to create the career and success that you deserve. He began by asking the question, “If you were financially independent, would you be doing what you’re doing today?” He asked if the audience was in love with their work. He cited a Gallup study that was done in 2013 that included 235,000 people from 145 countries. The study showed that 13% of the workforce is “engaged”, 63% are “disengaged” and 24% are “actively disengaged” with their jobs.

In order to become “engaged”, you have to love your job and Hani provided the 7 principles to getting the career that you love and deserve:

  • #1: Own it (your career)! What would you do differently if this was your company?
  • #2: Find the right fit (with your boss)! The number one reason people are engaged or disengaged in their jobs has to do with their boss. The four pillars of engagement in a job are: does the employee feel respected, trusted, empowered and appreciated?
  • #3: Craft a clear vision and specific/big goals. How can anyone help you get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you want to go? What is your destination? Does it turn you on? How invested in it are you?
  • #4: Live (and work) on a meaningful “why”! When you do your “why”, it doesn’t feel like work. If you don’t know what your “why” or destination is, what fears are getting in the way of knowing?
  • #5: Do who you are! Otherwise who are you going to be? What do you love doing? What are you great at? What do you effortlessly lose yourself in?
  • #6: Be a survivor! Get results and build alliances, because you need both to progress. Are you exceeding expectations in your job? If not, what can you do more of, less of, or stop doing altogether? Who are your advocates in the organization?
  • #7: Invest yourself in others. Networking is not about people helping you, it’s about you helping other people to help them reach their goals and aspirations.

Hani left the audience with this final question, “You’re now 90 years old, happy, wise and healthy. What advice about your career would you give yourself right now?”
For more information you can reach Hani directly at:

The final speaker of the evening was Sonia Riverin, Vice-President at St. Amour & Associates Recruiting. She gave a number of recommendations on how to further your career:

  • Update your resume frequently (once a year). It’s important to include your concrete short-term and long-term goals and achievements and, when meeting with a recruiter, explain how you achieved them.
  • Know yourself. You are the best person to manage your career. Get the skills that are needed to do what you want to do.
  • Have a career development plan. If your boss/manager doesn’t speak to you about a plan, ask for one.
  • Keep learning. Develop and improve your skills every year. Look for temporary assignments or pilot projects. Be involved in an association, such as the PMCQ or Rx&D, to develop skills.
  • Promote yourself!
  • Find inspirational leaders/coaches/models/mentors.
  • Make networking part of your professional career. Help others and give advice, because once you give, you will get help back.
  • Have a positive attitude. “C’est ton attitude, plus que ton aptitude, qui va déterminer ton altitude.”

Sonia ended her presentation by providing her own observations of things that people have done to move their career forward:

  • Take diversified challenges.
  • Understand the network of influences.
  • Become versatile. Seek diversified experience in different areas and products.
  • Be adaptable.
  • Forsee the market.
  • Be a great leader.
  • Be involved and engaged.

For more information you can reach Sonia directly at:

The meeting ended with a question and answer period with the panel of speakers.

Be sure to join us for the PMCQ event of year on December 9th, the Magical Holiday Event!

    View the ‘Moving your career forward is all up to YOU, YOU, & YOU’ video brought to you by Pro-Staging.

Lara Holmes
Medical Writer
Cell: 514-425-4977