Q&A with Jennifer Wolfgram
Share Your Story Blog Series From IWL Conference Keynote Speaker and Vice President, Commercial Education for Roche Diagnostics, Jennifer Wolfgram
Why should women take the time to develop themselves?
I think the most important thing to remember is: what got you to where you are today will not get you to where you need to be or where you want to be tomorrow. All too often, I think women routinely keep their heads down and think if they work hard that they will get to where they want to be. The problem with that is the first thing that falls off our plate is our own personal development. I absolutely believe that events such as the IWL conference are an exceptional way for women to be able to achieve their goals and develop through one day of series of workshops.
What does brand you mean to you?
Brand you is all about getting your brand out there. It is not about keeping your head down and working hard. It is letting people know what value you bring and what initiatives you have driven that have been successful. It is about owning your awesome!
What is your personal brand tagline?
My personal brand tagline is: authenticity, integrity, and doing the right thing. It is about owning your mistakes and making sure that people are in the room. It is not about being liked, it is about being yourself and being respected.
How do you think this year’s conference will help attendees to advance their own careers?
What I love about this year’s conference is that the whole goal is to develop individual women into leaders and it gives you different paths that you are able to take; it does not force fit you into one particular area. It can take you down the individual contributor route or the leadership realm and it allows you to make the best choices given with time that you have and chose the topics that are most meaningful to you.
How is the IWL Conference different than other events you have participated in?
IWL is special and unique because of the fact that the topics are geared toward women and gender issues that we all struggle with. I like that it brings in tough topics that all of us need to develop but we may not be able to take the risk and admit that we have issues that we need to work on.
So what are the key points that you want attendees to take away from your keynote speech?
I really want people to be energized. I also want people to know that they are not alone. We all struggle with various things within our career. I have struggled with some of the same decisions or insecurities a lot of other women have had throughout their careers. It is through telling stories and sharing what my background has been that I am able to connect and help other women who have been in the same position. We all have had the mentality that if we keep our heads down and work hard, that next opportunity will come along, but it’s okay to take a risk and its okay to be insecure and to share those insecurities. It is okay to make an unpopular decision or a decision that fits you and your family versus taking that ultimate career step. Balance is different for everyone, we all have some of the same struggles and it is okay to be vulnerable and share what those have been.
Why do you feel that you are passionate those subjects?
As I think about where I have been in my career and I reflect upon some of the challenges, I find through sharing the stories and sharing my perspective that other women will come up to me and say thank you for taking that risk and thank you for sharing that story and I am struggling with the same thing. I have found that I enjoy being able to provide that and I am passionate about mentoring and about helping others succeed; so this is an excellent way to be able to do that.
Contributed by: Jennifer Wolfgram, Vice President, Commercial Education, Roche Diagnostics
You can find her on LinkedIn.