MSL Mentor Program

This is a unique free program that exemplifies our mission of being dedicated to helping MSLs and MSL Managers advance in their careers.

The MSL Mentor / Mentee Program 

A unique program offered through the Medical Science Liaison Society. It exemplifies our mission of being dedicated to helping MSLs and MSL Managers advance in their careers. 

In the program, we pair new MSLs or new MSL directors with more experienced MSLs or seasoned MSL leadership with a group of 4 to 6 peers to employ the power of the group to provide guidance and support to mentees. A newly-hired MSL with less than two years of experience or newly appointed MSL director is formally matched with an experienced pair of MSL co-mentors for the purpose of professional development and knowledge sharing. The group mentoring approach affords opportunities for mentees not only to benefit from mentors but also from peer mentees.

The mentor will be encouraged to share experiences, feedback, and provide insights related to career guidance or career advancement. The mentee should enter into the mentor relationship with the goal of career enhancement and professional development. Ultimately, the mentoring group will have the opportunity to develop a community and strong peer network.

Prior Success and Growth

Building on the success of the first mentor program in 2016-2017 which consisted of 11 newly-hired MSLs and four experienced MSL mentors, our 2017-2018 program has been greatly expanded to include 30 newly-hired MSLs who were matched with 10 experienced MSL mentors.

In addition, for the first time, the program has been expanded to newly-hired MSL Managers with less than one year of management experience. In total, 5 newly-hired MSL Managers were matched with 2 experienced MSL Manager mentors.

Guidelines 

The program is free and lasts for one year but all participants must meet the following guidelines:

  • Mentors must have at least 5 years of experience
  • Mentees are those recently hired with less than 2 years of experience 
  • Both mentors and mentees must be current members of the MSL Society in order to participate

This program is not available for aspiring MSLs (those interested in becoming an MSL).

Our program is managed by highly experienced MSL leaders who have extensive experience in managing mentor programs:

Christine Vaupel, PhD

Christine Vaupel, PhD

Director, Mentoring Program Head of Medical Affairs - Navigate BioPharma Services, Inc., A Novartis Subsidiary

Jinah Lee, PharmD

Jinah Lee, PharmD

‪Co-Director, Mentoring Program Sr. Medical Science Liaison - GSK

Wendy Toler, PharmD

Wendy Toler, PharmD

Director, Operational Excellence

Although our program is unique and there is no other program in the world like this available for MSLs or MSL management, it is NOT designed to be a substitute for internal management, HR, training or other services offered through the mentee’s company.

Testimonials

When I began the program last year, I was a very new manager of a team of 7 MSLs and at my current company, there is not a mentor program set up or a specific training program for new managers. Also, I knew the MSL Society Mentorship Program would be a good fit for me because of the proven track record of the organization and the large network that we could tap into.This program provided me with real life examples of situations that managers find themselves in and provided me with real-time advice on how to face the challenges of a new manager. The highlight of my experience of being a mentee in this program was the friends and colleagues that I have met through this program.”

Brian Tumminello, PharmD

Regional MSL Director, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

As a new manager of MSLs, it was important to me to learn from those outside of my business to focus less on the technical, product challenges of the job, and more on the MSL team and individual development aspect.  By learning from other managers from a product-agnostic perspective, it really helps you learn more about how to work with and develop your MSL team. The program helped in three ways: (1) it confirmed that the challenges that I faced as a new manager were the same as those of other new and experienced managers, particularly in the position of leading MSLs who often bring with them their unique, high-level talent; (2) it provided great ideas for tactics and tools on how to approach these same, high-performing individuals on how to manage, develop, and enhance their experience while at the same time ensuring positive performance outputs beneficial to and in alignment with the company goals; and (3) as a field-based employee, it gave me comfort to know that I am “not alone” in the field, particularly at a level where there may be fewer (if any) internal colleagues that share the same responsibilities that comes with managing highly-driven personality types. The mentor program was key in helping me develop a renewed Journal Club program that lay dormant for over a year prior to my appointment as the team manager.  It is something that our team really wanted, and I felt it was important to not just “phone it in” but to really find excitement and joy in how we engage and interact scientifically (which, let’s face it, can be more of a bore and a chore for some).  Everyone in the program generously provided/donated their ideas for me to pick through, customize, and execute; and I was proud to announce it to my team from the 2018 MSL Society Las Vegas meeting stage where many of my team were present in the audience! “

Ramon Dimalanta, PhD

Director, Medical Science Liaison Operations, Alcon

I became a mentee because I wanted to gain as much experience as possible. Attending this program has allowed me to receive great advice and learn a lot from others experience. The highlight of my experience in this program was that I was given the chance to ask my mentor questions whenever something came up. “

Sungun Huh, PhD

Medical Science Liaison, AbbVie

I became a mentee because I had just started my first MSL position and wanted to get as much advice and guidance as possible from those with more experience and success. This program has really helped me grow in my role and become more efficient utilizing my time in the field. The highlight of being a mentee in this program was running into a fellow mentee unexpectedly at a conference and meeting one of my mentors in person at the MSLS conference this year. “

Brian Berg, PhD

Medical Science Liaison, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MSL Society Mentoring Program?

The MSL Society Mentoring Program is a dynamic, group format consisting of 2 co-mentors and 4-6 mentees. The group will self-govern in establishing monthly connections whereby information is exchanged, experiences shared and a learning dynamic established. The MSL Mentoring Program is designed to help MSLs accelerated development and is not designed to be a substitute for internal management, HR or other services offered through Mentee’s company.

How do I participate?

All participants must be members of MSL Society and currently in an MSL or MSL Leadership position. An application survey must be submitted which gathers specific information on your needs/talents. Applications are held in strict confidence and are used to create mentor/mentee groups. All Mentor and Mentee participation is voluntary. According to extensive research on formal mentoring programs the biggest mistake organizations make is forcing participation. Formal mentoring programs work best when Mentors and Mentees feel that each will benefit.

Can I be both a Mentor and a Mentee?

When completing the survey, please choose either the mentor or mentee option. Please know that the entire program is designed to be a true group dynamic. The educational spirit of the program and provided tools and insights at launch should ensure that every participant – regardless of role – learns and grows through this process both personally and professionally.

What is the commitment on my part to participate?

During the 12 month program individual groups should meet via webinar or conference call each month and are encouraged to reach out for 1:1 connections with their mentors around topics they’d like to discuss. All group members will also exchange contact information such that all participants serve as a resource for one another. In maintaining professional business ethics, no proprietary or confidential information will be discussed. In creating a safe learning environment focused on personal growth and development, it is expected that the group members will always be respectful of each other and maintain confidentiality. At the conclusion of the program, completion certificates will be awarded.

Mentor expectations?

An ideal Mentor is a passionate, lifelong learner who is open-minded and empathetic. A role model who is trusted and respected, the Mentor leads by example and creates a safe space for shared learning, insight and wisdom. The environment created nurtures confidence, resilience, and strength while challenging unconstructive beliefs/attitudes thus helping the Mentee push limits and develop potential. Mentors are expected to participate in formal training which occurs prior to the launch of the mentoring group. The Mentor supports Mentees as they identify and set specific goals and challenges Mentee to strive for excellence. The monthly time commitment is 2-3 hours. The Mentors will facilitate web or conference call group meetings each month and occasionally connect on 1:1 calls with mentees. Additionally, someone from the mentoring committee will stay connected with the Mentors throughout the program to provide ongoing support and resources.

Mentee expectations?

While the process of identifying groups is not an exact science, all groups will be designed to maximize the opportunities for MSL Society members to benefit from others experiences. The Mentoring Committee reviews information provided to best arrange Mentors and Mentees in groups. The Mentor/Mentee match process considers data such as geographical locations, Mentee needs and Mentor expertise, diversity, company affiliation (so people are comfortable to speak their minds). Do expect a common theme with each group, but do not expect a perfect match of all criteria, the power of our program is to broaden everyone’s horizons. Each group will have one mentoring committee member assigned as their point of contact. Best practices from productive groups will be shared as the program progresses.

How can I ensure I get what I need from this Mentoring Program?

Quite simply – participate! You will get out of this program what you put into it. Commit to attending group meetings and scheduling individual connections for the year timeframe. Willingly bring your experiences and challenges to the table to share. Listen and learn. And above all else – be part of that educational spirit.

For additional questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Christine Vaupel by clicking the button below: