MSL Mentor ProgramThis is a unique free program that exemplifies our mission of being dedicated to helping MSLs and MSL Managers advance in their careers.
Accepting Applications for the 2021 Program in Fall 2020
The MSL Mentor / Mentee Program
The MSL Society Mentorship Program is unique because there is no other program in the world for MSLs or MSL management. The mentorship program is yet another free resource for professional-level members that further exemplifies the MSL Society’s mission of being dedicated to advancing the MSL profession and helping new MSLs / MSL Managers advance in their careers.
We pair new MSLs / MSL Managers with experienced MSLs or seasoned MSL leadership. Each group will consist 2 co-mentors and 4 to 6 mentees to provide guidance, support, professional development, and knowledge sharing. The group mentoring approach affords opportunities for mentees not only to benefit from mentors but also from mentee peer.
Mentors are encouraged to share experiences, feedback, and provide insights related to career guidance and/or career advancement. Mentees are encouraged to enter the program 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.
The program is free and all participants must meet the following guidelines:
- US & International Mentors: Must have at least 5 years of experience
- US Mentees: Recently hired MSLs with less than 2 years of experience by program start date
- International Mentees: Recently hired MSLs with less than 3 years of experience by program start date
- All mentors and mentees must be current professional-level 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
Director, Mentoring Program
Head of Medical Affairs – Navigate BioPharma Services, Inc., A Novartis Subsidiary
Luchy Hidalgo, MD
Associate Director, Mentoring Program
Management & Medical Affairs Consultant – KOL Insights
Janelle Rosa, MSL Society
Director of Operational Excellence, Mentoring Program
Loren Wilkinson, BAS
Global Mentor Connector, Mentoring Program
Medical Science Liaison Excellence Lead, ANZ – Janssen
Mahesh Tawney, PharmD
Domestic Mentor Connector
Associate Director – Medical Outcomes Liaison – Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Jenna Konkel, PharmD
Domestic Mentor Connector, Mentoring Program
Medical Science Liaison, Director – Novartis
This program it is NOT designed to be a substitute for internal management, HR, training or other services offered through the participants’ company.
Dr. Christine Vaupel Explains the Importance of a Mentor Program
Why did you want to create the Mentor Program?
After 5 years of being involved in leadership in a global level mentoring program in the healthcare sector, I saw a glaring need for a unique program across the pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device industry focused specifically on the field medical role.
Why is it important for the MSL Society to offer this type of program?
Having a mentor has been shown to be the single most important reason people succeed in careers, as it correlates more than intelligence, hard work and talent. In a flash, three years have flown by and the numbers are astounding. United by the passion of improving patient lives, by next year in over 70 companies we’ll have touched more than 100 mentees. The MSL Society mentor volunteers willing to share the precious commodity of time along their career journey provide tremendous value.
Why did you get involved to create it?
In my career, I have had some wonderful mentors. After finishing my PhD, I arrived eager, wide-eyed and new to industry, pregnant with my third child. In my on-boarding process, I was assigned the most amazing mentor in my new company who cheered me on and enabled my success at a time it would have been easy to succumb to being overwhelmed. Inspired by the concept of creating an additional support network for new MSLs and recently promoted MSLs managers, the MSL Society Mentoring Program was introduced.
Dr. Mahesh Tawney Shares His Thoughts on the Mentor Program
Can you give a specific example of how being a mentor enriched your own career development this year?
In my opinion, I received more than what I could give being a mentor. I aspire to be a manager of people one day and the ability to practice coaching and serving others can/will help me in my development as a Liaison and hopefully as a leader of a team one day.
How was having a co-mentor impactful for you?
Having a co-mentor was very beneficial. My co-mentor and I were able to bounce ideas of each other to discuss with our mentees and as it turned out, we ended up mentoring each other! I learned a lot from my co-mentor and was thankful to have one!
What did you learn, revise, or enhance after experiencing this mentoring program; or what would you have missed?
I would certainly try to utilize more of the resources that are available on the MSLS website. I feel like we should have tapped into the resources earlier in order use the resources with the mentees.
I recently started working for a small company without its own onboarding or mentoring programs that are typically seen in larger companies. I therefore joined the MSLS mentoring program to learn as much as possible from the experiences of other MSLs. Not only were we matched by geography and therapeutic area, I was also part of an all-female mentoring group! This opened up the discussion around specific challenges and tips of how to overcome them. In the end, I learned so much during our monthly talks, but it was also great to be able to bring the tips and best practices back to my own company. I love that I was able to meet up with some mentees in person. I truly appreciate the time and effort the mentors put in and that they were always available for 1-on-1 calls. This program has been an invaluable part of my first year as a brand-new MSL!
The program provides a perfect match to your geography, therapeutic area, and experience level. It was invaluable for me, as a new MSL, to obtain objective and timely advice from seasoned MSLs who have been successful in the field. The program also provided an excellent opportunity to network with mentors and mentees that were from other companies.
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.”
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! “
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. “
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. “
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 by establishing monthly connections whereby information is exchanged, experiences are shared and a learning dynamic is established. The MSL Mentoring Program is designed to help an 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 current members of the MSL Society and currently in an MSL or MSL Leadership position. An application 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?
NWhen 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 is to provided tools and insight at launch to 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 8 to 9 month program (varies based on domestic or global groups), each group is expected to meet via webinar or conference call each month. Mentees 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.
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.
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 Janelle Rosa by clicking the button below: