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Linda Traylor, PhD

VP, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs

What are you looking forward to most at the 2nd Annual Women’s Summit?

Last year was the first time I ever attended a women’s summit of any kind and had no expectations for how it would differ from the annual MSL Society meeting.  Now I know.  The energy level is elevated, the connections made are of greater depth and what I will call the empathy quotient is off the charts.  In sum, the vibe is nearly tangible.  What I am most looking forward to is the inevitable re-energization that comes from aligning with peers facing the same issues from the same perspective.

How can attending this event have a positive impact on women in their MSL career?

Learning to evaluate your personal goals in context of professional expectations associated with the MSL career path provides a peaceful clarity that can only come from associating with professional women that have walked this path.  In addition, the MSL roles and opportunities are constantly evolving.  No matter our tenure in medical affairs, we still have a lot to learn from each other to be professionally successful and personally fulfilled.  

Speak to the importance of why men should also attend this type of conference?

I have never really subscribed to the ‘think like a man’ approach for women in leadership roles.  We all leave too much on the table when we don’t bring our gender specific thinking style forward.  To me that is what ‘leaning in’ is all about.  Nevertheless, understanding the perspectives of your peers, female or male, is the mark of a true leader.  Men have a unique opportunity to gain invaluable insight and a better understanding of the working style and approach of their female colleagues to the MSL role when attending a conference like this one.  As we all know and discuss incessantly, empathy is a key ingredient for effective leadership and self-awareness cannot exist without it.  This concept also applies to understanding the differences between genders when executing the MSL role.

What do you think is the value of attending this conference?

Stating the value of the Women’s Summit is simple.  Getting the value from the conference is the challenge and should be the personal goal of each attendee. If you think about the number of female leaders you have personally worked with that you truly respect and consider a worthy role model, the number is too low.  At least it is for me.  Why is that?  We are living in a time where this should no longer be the case.  These are the topics that will be debated openly and honestly at the MSL Society’s Women’s Summit.  

I for one, look forward to the day when we as leaders, female or male, judge one another with the intention of building each other up.  I am not looking for a utopian outcome, we are humans and that is not possible.  I am looking for respectful accountability and owning our own mistakes since this is the seed of personal growth.  In the end, the MSL role is a leadership role with heavy performance expectations, independent of gender and whether you are a manager or not.  I have never seen gender on any list of characteristics associated with effective leadership.  Internalizing this concept, to me, is the true value of any professional women’s summit.