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Joe Shields, Wyeth


Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive-06-01-2009
Volume 0
Issue 0

People define "work" differently. For some, it's making useful objects that you can see and touch.

Joe Shields

Product Director, Enbrel, Wyeth


People define "work" differently. For some, it's making useful objects that you can see and touch. For others, it's closing a sale. As people rise in organizations, especially large ones, they need to continuously redefine what "work" is for them. It's also difficult to become comfortable with the unknown, giving up control and letting someone else possibly make mistakes. But if I'm really honest with myself, my mistakes have more to do with who I am today than my successes do. I believe that people must be tested to know what they are truly capable of. Some of the smartest and most dynamic people in business today work in healthcare marketing, and knowing this pushes me to keep up with them. Every day is a different challenge, and I feel that this industry has made me a better marketer and a more caring person.

Today, being a CEO is more sprint than marathon. Short-term expectations force decisions and actions at a pace we've never seen before. CEOs are given less time to demonstrate results, creating increased turnover and more opportunities for younger executives. In some ways, younger executives represent newfound optimism. A good question to ask candidates for a job is whether they see their biggest accomplishments ahead of them or behind them.

The pharmaceutical industry must reinvent itself to survive, and I plan to help drive some of the changes that are necessary. I cannot say what my job title will be in 10 years, but I imagine I will be at the intersection of innovation, technology, communications, and patient care. Appel CEO Steve Jobs said that one's choices make perfect sense only when looking backward. I think he's right.

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