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Career Management
Events, 2009

Resources for Career Management for Chemists in a Challenging Market Series

Organized by Younger Chemists Committee–St Louis ACS

attendees at start of event

Attendees await the start of the event: Resources for Career Management for Chemists in a Challenging Market II: Straight from the Recruiters

The Younger Chemist Committee (YCC) of St Louis saw first-hand the effects of the poor economy on the St Louis area, and wanted to address the greater needs of the community of chemists. The YCC organized a series of career management events in 2009 to help chemists learn to better manage their careers throughout all its stages, especially in transition. The series will continue into 2010, providing resources to chemists in this uncertain job market.

Specific topics covered include networking, addressing what employers are looking for in their employees, preparing for the interview process, and marketing themselves. While these events help younger chemists, they have also been useful for those chemists who are young at heart. The YCC hosted these events at Washington University, which graciously provided a lecture hall for the meetings.

The first of these events was held on September 22. It began with pizza and soda and a time for attendees to network. Then Lisa Balbes spoke on Career Resources from the American Chemical Society, and Judy Pannett spoke on Things to Do after a Job Loss. After the talks the audience asked questions of the speakers that were probing and insightful, showing their interest in what the speakers had to say. Discussions and networking continued after the formal program. There were 40 chemists in attendance for the event.

The second career management seminar was held on October 28th and had a similar format, beginning with pizza and soda for the attendees. As the attendees arrived and enjoyed pizza they also had a chance to network with each other. This event featured talks by two corporate recruiters on what they look for in candidates, as well as a presentation on interviewing. The speakers were

YCC Chair Arindam Roy welcomes the crowd

YCC Chair Arindam Roy welcomes attendees

Roxanne LaPlante sharing her career-management advice

Roxanne LaPlante speaking on "Strategic Job Search: Optimizing the Application-to-Offer Ratio"

The audience then had a series of questions for the speakers related to their insightful presentations. For this event, 68 people attended, and many more had to be turned away because the capacity of the lecture hall was exceeded.

These events were attended by students, working professionals, and those who were currently seeking employment. The feedback from the attendees has been very positive; attendees commented on the amount they learned from the speakers and the value of networking with the others in the room. The events were advertised through mass e-mails to all ACS members in the St Louis Section, the section’s website, and through word of mouth. E-mails were sent a few weeks in advance and then a day or two before the event to remind everyone of the event program, date and time.

The YCC is looking forward to continuing the Career Management events in 2010 in order to help chemists to better manage their careers.

Bios of speakers

Cathy Neal on self-marketing

Cathy Neal speaking on "Personal Branding: How to Market Yourself Throughout the Full Life-cycle of the Hiring Process"

Dr Lisa M Balbes has been a freelance scientific communication consultant since 1992, providing writing and editing services to companies such as Bausch and Lomb Surgical, Divergence, Sigma-Aldrich, Stereotaxis, and the FDA. Dr Balbes is the author of Nontraditional Careers for Chemists: New Formulas in Chemistry, published by Oxford University Press in 2006. She has been an ACS volunteer career consultant since 1993, a national career presenter since 2001, and is currently chair of the national ACS subcommittee responsible for developing new career programs. She earned her PhD in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and psychology from Washington University in St Louis.

Ms Judy Pannett, MEd, is an accomplished career management consultant with over twelve years of experience at Right Management, a Global leader in Career Transition. She has been the point person in her market for the introduction, implementation, and delivery of Right&rsuo;;s new career management products and services, including their signature Career Transition model. She has consistently been recognized by her management, colleagues, and clients for her integrity and commitment, as well as for the quality of coaching provided. Judy is a key member of the Executive Coaching team at Right Management St Louis and has work closely with scientists from many Life Sciences and Pharma Organizations in St Louis.

Lisa Balbes

Lisa Balbes on "Basics of Behavioral Interviewing"

Ms Roxanne LaPlante, Manager, Talent Acquisition, Covidien. Roxanne presently serves as Manager of Talent Acquisition for the Pharmaceuticals Sector of Covidien in Hazelwood, MO. Her contributions include leading a team in the development and execution of long-term strategy to support talent mapping and candidate pipeline-building initiatives. In addition to leading targeted hiring campaigns and expansions, Roxanne oversees numerous talent engagement programs, such as University Relations efforts, while also managing full cycle executive recruiting for the sector. Previous staffing roles include Manager of Recruiting with Sigma-Aldrich in St Louis, where Roxanne focused on enhancing the talent acquisition business model and processes for increased efficiency and functionality. Roxanne began her HR career with Pfizer Global Research and Development as a Recruiting Technology and Candidate Sourcing Specialist. Prior to her time in Recruiting and Staffing, Roxanne held numerous technical roles in a R&D setting with Monsanto/Pharmacia in support of High-Throughput Drug Discovery efforts. Roxanne is a certified facilitator of Lohminger Behavioral Based Interviewing techniques and is a Six Sigma Blue Belt.

Ms Cathy Neal, Technical Recruiter, Monsanto. Cathy currently works as a Talent Acquisition Specialist for Monsanto and has responsibility for sourcing talent for Monsanto’s Chemistry and Biotechnology pipelines. Her previous role at Monsanto focused on recruiting for Information Technology, Bioinformatics and Plant Breeding roles. Cathy has over 10 years of progressive HR experience and has worked in the Consumer Packaged Goods, Incentive, and Chemical industries. She has an MA in Human Resources and an MA in Mass Communications from Webster University. She is also a Certified Internet Recruiter.


The YCC would like to thank the St Louis Local Section of the ACS for generously providing support and funding, the speakers, Ed Hiss at Washington University, and the members of the YCC that helped in organizing these excellent events.

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