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Women in Leadership Spotlight: Women’s Health Month: Heather McCracken

We’re highlighting some of the amazing Women in Leadership for Women’s Health Month. Today, let’s get to know Heather McCracken.

Name: Heather McCracken

Job Title: Recruitment Team Manager

1. Personal Journey

Can you share a bit about your personal journey and how you came to be a leader in the life sciences industry? 

What challenges did you face on your path to leadership, and how did you navigate them?

Entering the life sciences industry was a daunting and exciting opportunity for a young professional. As a recruiter, I would be responsible for speaking with scientists, physicians, engineers, and many other professionals at all levels in an organization, who all worked towards patients developing and producing medications and devices that impact patients’ lives. Learning how to interact with various individuals (and saying countless times, “Bear with me, I am not a scientist!) was and still is fun and rewarding. I have always loved interacting with people, learning from them, and helping them when possible. Even while still learning, I was allowed to lead a team and share with them that I had learned so far and continued to learn. This has been the most rewarding responsibility yet, and one I hope to continue to have. I love taking on the responsibility of leading by example, encouraging and motivating others, and ensuring I am always open-minded with my colleagues’ best interests in mind. Knowing that the work my team and I do ultimately moves the medicine industry forward gives a silver lining to any challenges that arise.

2. Inspirations and Role Models

Who were your inspirations or role models as you pursued your career in the life sciences?

How have role models influenced your approach to leadership?

I have been lucky to have mentors and role models within Planet Pharma and in my personal life. Beth Renninger, my Sales Professor at the University of South Carolina, shared her passion for sales and leadership right from the start. More importantly, she was an example of a successful woman in sales leadership and ensured that I had the confidence that my career could go as far as I wanted it to in the space. Among many others within Planet Pharma, Trevor Beckwith is someone I look up to immensely. His honest and encouraging leadership style is something I strive to emulate with my team and colleagues. I knew the culture at Planet Pharma was something I wanted to be a part of when he answered my question “Can you give me examples of women in leadership within the organization?” during my interview six years ago. Not only did he welcome this question, which speaks for itself, but he shared that what is rewarded here is hard work. Any individual can and will go far with a strong work ethic and a passion for what they do, regardless of all else. This was followed by examples of many women who lead here at Planet Pharma.

3. Professional Accomplishments

What are some of the key accomplishments in your career that you are most proud of, particularly in the realm of women’s health in the life sciences industry?

Can you share any initiatives or projects you’ve led or currently working on Planet Pharma?

Assisting anyone in their job search is rewarding work and gives me a strong sense of accomplishment. It goes above and beyond, though, when I help individuals fulfill not only their career goals but their personal goals as well. Whether that be a parent obtaining a job with a short commute to allow for more time at home with their family, someone getting a raise to allow them more financial freedom and stability, or anyone finding a role with a strong work-life balance to allow time to pursue hobbies and passions outside of work.

4. Work-Life Balance at Planet Pharma

How does Planet Pharma prioritize work-life balance for its employees, especially for women in leadership roles?

Have you found strategies or practices at Planet Pharma that have helped you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and personal life?

Planet Pharma promotes a strong work-life-balance in many ways. One thing that I appreciate immensely is the coverage plan that we have in place when we take time off work. When we leave the office, a colleague will take on any urgent matters that need to be addressed during that time off. This really allows you to disengage, give your undivided attention to your family and activities, and come back refreshed, knowing that everything was handled with care while you were gone. The world of emails on your phone and work-related text messages can be overwhelming and make it difficult to step away truly, so the willingness of colleagues to help in this way means a lot.

5. Future Directions

Where do you see the future of women’s health heading within the life sciences industry, and what role do you envision for women leaders in shaping this future?

What advice would you give to women who want to follow in similar footsteps? 

My advice to any woman who aspires to grow in their career is to put the biases out of your mind and operate under the assumption that it is competence and work ethic that are rewarded. Will this always be the case? Unfortunately, not. But the more it is demonstrated to be true, the more prevalent it will become. And, if you are not in a healthy environment, give me a call, and I can help you find your next job 😉

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