S2BN Ottawa: Trends in Cancer Research - Career Journeys and Opportunities

On November 4, 2019, the S2BN Ottawa Chapter, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance, hosted the event “Trends in Cancer Research: Career Journeys and Opportunities”. The event brought together a panel of professionals working in industry, government and academia to discuss trends and current issues in cancer research as well as their unconventional journeys that lead them to their careers today.

Panellists included:

  1. Dr. Abigail Mateo, Senior Manager of Research Programs, Canadian Cancer Society

  2. Dr. Betty Zou, Manager of Research Communications, Canadian Cancer Society

  3. Dr. Elizabeth Douville, Managing Partner and Co-founder, AmorChem

  4. Ken Lawless, President and CEO, Epitope Capital Corp

  5. Dr. Marni Williams, Consultant, Shift Health

The panel was moderated by the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance’s Executive Director, Dr. Sara Urowitz. To kickstart the evening, the panellists discussed their career paths. Many explaining that they too asked themselves the age-old question, ‘now what?’ after they obtained their higher education - and despite not knowing, have found themselves in innovative spaces and careers.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion:

Do some soul searching

  • Take the time to ask questions. Get a sense of what is out there and see where you would like to fit.

  • It’s okay not to know what you want to do. Take the time to know your environment, your skills and your interests.

  • Be ready to network – it can lead to opportunities where you least expect them and propel your career to where it needs to go.

  • If you’re in a job where you’re not learning, then you’re not growing. Take the time to step outside of yourself and understand what energizes you.

  • The first job you land may not be your forever job – and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to take a short-term position. This allows you to get a feel for what is out there, what you like and what you don’t like.

  • Know that a career is a journey and it runs at different lengths and speeds for everyone.

Everyone has their own toolkit - Learn to use it

  • Take the time to understand your strengths.

  • What you care about matters and will keep you motivated.

  • Skills can be learned – don’t undersell yourself and what you can offer. You completed a higher education! That’s no easy task.

  • In your career journey you’re going to face criticism – don’t let it hold you back. Learn how to face it constructively.

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S2BN is Supported by: Bayer Canada, BioTalent Canada & Cyclica Inc.