With Catherine Edenborough

Recently, one of our Lift Up Ambassadors, Katy Barber, sat down with Catherine Edenborough. Catherine is an Executive Coach, focussed on helping the next generation realise their potential. As such, we felt that she was the perfect person to talk to about making a bigger impact in our next career move.

Whether it’s a promotion, a new role, or a different department, this guide will help accelerate your growth. Some of the topics Katy and Catherine discussed include:

  • Starting Your New Role
  • Beware The Dip
  • Embracing Equity

Ready to smash your next career move? Read on!

Starting Your New Role

When you start a new role, the first feeling is almost one of excitement – but as you begin to learn more about the position, this can quickly dwindle.

Instead, you can be left feeling overwhelmed but trying to maintain a confident ‘façade’. Catherine likens this to acting like a swan, looking graceful on the surface while your feet are frantically paddling below the surface.

Catherine suggests that rather than trying to seem like we’ve got everything under control, being transparent about our feelings can actually be better. It’s okay not to be perfect at everything when starting a new role.

She explains that when you transition into a new role, this is actually the perfect time to ask questions about anything. You’ve got a ‘honeymoon phase’, where it’s acceptable to ask questions about anything you’re unsure of – make sure you don’t waste it!

The First 100 Days

One of Catherine’s biggest points was that the first 100 days after a new career move are perhaps the most crucial for long-term success.

These first 100 days are when you have the most eyes on you, because you’re new to the role. People are developing their first impressions about you, so it’s vital you make a memorable and positive impact.

On the other hand, it can be harder to come back from a poor initial impression. It can slow your progression, and mean that you get passed over for certain projects and promotions.

But that doesn’t mean you need all the answers!

Instead, focus on asking people questions and advice. If you’ve just joined a new team, ask for their insights — especially if this is an area you don’t know much about.

Beware The Dip

At the beginning of every new career move, there is a dip in motivation. At Fraser Dove, we call this the ‘90-Day Dip’, and we weren’t surprised that Catherine had spotted this too.

When you first start a new role or position, your motivation is at an all-time high. You’ve taken the next step in your career, but as you learn more about the role, you can quickly get overwhelmed. This leads to decreased motivation, and while everyone’s ‘dips’ are different, we all get them when starting a new role.

But the dip can be overcome.

Want to know how? We’ve listed some actionable points below!

Be Clear on Your Success

Success looks different for everyone. Where one person may chase a high-power role, another may choose a path that leads to a more flexible work-life blend. Everyone is an individual. Judging personal success on someone else’s progress will never produce the desired results.

Instead, figure out what you want in your career and go for it. A clear idea of how you can be successful is an excellent step towards limiting the severity of the dip.

Delegation is a Great Tool

If you’ve just gained a promotion, one of the biggest challenges can be letting go of your previous responsibilities. Learning how to delegate effectively is an essential skill, and it makes your transition much more seamless.

If you try to control every area, your workload will almost instantly become unsustainable and can quickly lead to burnout. Rather than risking your health, remember that it’s okay to delegate tasks to other people in your team.

In fact, as people progress through their careers, it’s normal for them to spend less time on areas which were previously integral to their role.

Ask For Support

If you start to feel overwhelmed or like you need additional support, don’t be afraid to ask for guidance. While it may not feel like it, your superiors will, at some point, have been in the same position as you. They may have developed their own specific tips suited to that role, and will usually be happy to share information to help you.

Asking your superiors for advice can actually improve their perception of you too. So next time your workload starts getting on top of you, ask for support.

Welcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is a common occurrence in our professional lives, especially after a recent career move. Those who suffer from it constantly question whether or not they can actually achieve something. If that’s you, you may question if you ‘lucked’ your way into the role.

The short answer? No, you didn’t.

You went up against a whole host of other qualified people, and you are the best suited for the job. If you weren’t, it would’ve gone to someone else.

With that in mind, it’s integral to remember that growth only happens outside of your comfort zone. So when feelings of Imposter Syndrome arise, take it as a good sign. You’re making progress.

Embracing Equity

In honour of International Women’s Day, we also asked Catherine about #EmbraceEquity, and how we to take that into account after a recent career move.

One of the biggest misconceptions that people make is splitting traits into masculine and feminine. Catherine argues that these are all human traits, and can apply to men and women equally. Dividing them amongst genders doesn’t actually help bring us together, since it creates more of a barrier.

Instead, we should focus on what unifies us, and help lift each other up.

One piece of actionable advice was that men and women, together, should support the women in their network. By providing support, we can help each other gain confidence and elevate our positions.

One easy way to help do that is by becoming an Advocate of Lift Up. This completely free and widely accessible initiative is designed to promote women in the Life Sciences.

At Lift Up, we recognise that we can only create meaningful change by working together, which is why we’ve made it so easy to join and be a member. Sign up, and together we can #CloseTheGap.

Women have some incredible superpowers that we bring into the workplace, whether we recognise it or not. In a recent Lift Up Live session, Rosey and Louise were joined by two incredible guests: Jessica Smith and Heather Moses.

Jessica is Integra’s Corporate VP and Chief Regulatory Officer, whereas Heather is AstraZeneca’s Head of Europe & Canada Medical Affairs.

Together, these genuinely inspirational women discussed some of the superpowers we have access to, and how they benefit our workplace progression.

Jessica and Heather even shared some specific advice, learned over the course of their careers. You’ll find this a little further down.

If you want to watch the full Conversation, we’ve included it here:


Women’s Workplace Superpowers

These are some of the top superpowers mentioned during the discussion. If you have any suggestions that we’ve missed, feel free to share them in the Lift Up Group!


One of the biggest superpowers that arose during the live discussion was Authenticity.

Heather suggested that Authenticity and Empathy go hand in hand, because being your authentic self lets you relate better to the people around you, and results in common goals being reached more easily.

It also allows you to develop ‘carrying connections’. These make you much stronger and can help you solve more complex problems, with an established network of people with differing viewpoints.

See ‘True North’

Jessica defined her own superpower as ‘seeing true north’, or the ability to cut through and head for her goals. It’s something that she brings to every aspect of her life, not just her professional career.

Typically, as we head towards a specific goal, there are many distractions which can lead us away from that path. These could be minor goals, like trying to solve a specific problem at work, or larger achievements, like mentoring the next generation.


As we share our stories, the one superpower that appears, again and again, is resilience. Whether it’s growing and nurturing a family, or managing geographical mobility throughout your career, women have to develop an extraordinary capacity for resilience.

Ignore the ‘Judges’

‘Judges’ are everywhere. They could be in your department, and they’re ready to suggest that you’re not capable of a specific job or responsibility for a whole host of reasons. From not having the right qualifications, to having too little (or even too much) experience, some people are impossible to please and will doubt your abilities.

Ignore them.

While this can be difficult, it’s important to remember that you wouldn’t have gotten your job if you weren’t capable.

Fortunately, both Heather and Jessica noted that this problem is quickly disappearing. In fact, the more we invest in positive workplace culture and equality, the less we’ll see these issues in the workplace.

Jessica’s Advice

Bet on Yourself!

During the Live session, Jessica shared an anecdote about when she was faced with an opportunity, and chose to bet on herself.

While studying for her degree, Jessica’s company started making layoffs. She faced an incredibly tough decision, either drop her degree and keep her job, or continue studying and join those getting laid off.

Approaching 40, Jessica knew that if she didn’t get her degree now, then she never would. It was her last chance, and so she bet on herself. She accepted the layoff, and put herself first.

In an interesting turn, she offered to work as a Consultant and was hired back about three weeks later. Of course, these events aren’t common, but they highlight the importance of putting yourself first.

Now whenever an opportunity is presented, and Jessica feels afraid or nervous, she immediately nominates herself for it.

Heather’s Advice

Make The Decisions

In response to Jessica’s anecdote, Heather confessed that when faced with major decisions, she focused on making the right choice. With experience, she learned that there is no right or wrong choice.

Whatever choice you make, you will learn, experience new things, and develop. With that in mind, it became less about choosing the right option, and instead picking whichever she felt suited her.

In fact, Heather went on to say:

“Never be afraid of making those decisions, because it’s always going to turn out to be something.”


And she’s spot on; next time you have an important decision to make, don’t worry about which is the right option. Instead, focus on which is the better option for you.

Learn More About the Lift Up Community

We founded Lift Up as a community where women across the Life Sciences could grow and develop together. Our mission is to connect, inspire, and champion women from Academia to C-Suite.

That’s why we’ve ensured the community is free and accessible to everyone. You don’t even need to sign up or pay a subscription. We want to level the playing field; in order to do that, everyone needs to band together.

Interested in learning more about Lift Up? Read about our aims on our Women in Life Sciences page.

It’s easy to think that your experiences are the norm, but that’s not always the case. Culture can have a massive impact on how women progress through the life sciences, and that varies dramatically between different countries — today, we’ll look at Italy.

A recent conversation between Lift Up Ambassador, Sophie Packer, and Napo Therapeutics CRO, Annabella Amatulli, highlighted some major issues in Italian culture that prevent a significant amount of women from entering the Life Sciences.

We’re going to explore the following topics below:

  • Culture
  • Childhood
  • Further Studies
  • Annabella’s Career Advice


Italian Working Culture

When asked about the culture in Italy, Annabella revealed, “the mindset is really men-focussed; the patriarchy is still in place”. For those who aren’t Italian nationals, what does that actually mean?

For one thing, when someone has to stop working in order to look after the family, it’s automatically a woman who has to make the sacrifice. This was never more prevalent than during the Covid Pandemic, when around 80% of working women left to take care of their families.

Annabella attributes that as one of the reasons why Italy struggled financially throughout the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, this cultural mindset is damaging to both men and women. They both feel intense societal pressure to behave in a certain way, whether or not that aligns with who they truly are.

Of course, one of the biggest concerns caused by the culture is the lack of awareness surrounding women’s issues. Annabella put it perfectly with:

“We need to spread awareness, and then we can transform that awareness into action.”

Because it’s not enough for people to just be aware of the issues, we need to work together to come up with a suitable solution. Both the conversation and action require everyone’s input to overcome these global and systemic issues. In fact, Annabella continues, “You cannot speak only with women and say ‘we found the solution’, it does not work.”

The Part International Organisations Play

International organisations are in a unique position to enact cultural change through their business practices. Since they benefit from multicultural talent, they also become a melting pot of different cultures, beliefs, and experiences.

It’s becoming more common to see women rise up towards leadership positions, which in turn is affecting Italian attitudes.

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that there’s still a stigma associated with women in the workplace. That means, especially in Italy, women need the courage and confidence to overcome societal pressures if they want to reach great heights in their careers.


Many factors that prevent women from entering the STEM fields and the Life Sciences originate in childhood. From a young age, both boys and girls are being pushed towards archaic gender norms.

For instance, where boys are given blue cars, girls are given pink dolls. As these groups set in, children typically mould their own interests to fit in with their peers.

Annabella recounts that as a child, she loved playing with cars. When she reached a certain age, however, she asked her mum for a ‘Barbie Party’ so she could better connect with the other girls at school.

These types of situations happen all over the world, and it’s common for children to be fickle about their interests — but we need to watch out for when they are compromising their own identities. If it happens frequently at a young age, it can become an unconscious habit, impacting them later in life.

Further Studies

One incredible statistic that Annabella brought up was that in Italy, 54% of female teenagers wanted to pursue a scientific path. This was followed by one far more heartbreaking; only around 20% of female teenagers follow through on this desire.

That’s a jaw-dropping amount of young women who are not following their passions. Instead, parents and cultural norms push them towards the humanities.

Upon visiting a school for International Women’s Day, Annabella asked the girls what they were planning to do in their studies. Roughly 90% responded with “my mama decides for me.”

By taking the choice away from young women at such a vital stage, they are losing agency over their lives. In fact, one girl, in particular, revealed that she was both good at and passionate about Maths. Despite this, she was still forced to follow more ‘traditional’ studies.

In a culture where people aren’t allowed to make such integral decisions for themselves, it creates a ‘generational loop’. One generation impacts the next, making change that much harder to enact.

Annabella’s Career Advice

Annabella repeatedly noted how important risk-taking was to progress her career. While she’s been supported by both men and women, which has enabled her to reach greater heights, she had to take risks — frequently.

In order to keep herself going, Annabella took inspiration from various female scientists. These were all women who had fantastic ideas, and made significant contributions to science, but only by fighting to have their voices heard.

It’s important to remember that fear is normal — but you have to understand when you’re capable of doing a job. It’s easy to feel like you’re not ready, or that you need more experience, but you’re better off just taking the risk and going for it.

If you need help in this area, check our guide for finding a mentor.

And before you commit to join the initiative, why not read more about Lift Up: Women in Life Sciences?

What’s the worst that could happen?

Have you set your sights on progressing your career? Is it your dream to reach the C-Suite? You’ve got a challenge ahead of you, but these Lift Up Insights (garnered from some of the top women in Life Sciences) can make your journey more manageable.

Rather than tell you to watch all of our Lives from 2022, we’ve collected some of the best information so that you can stay on top of the best methods and strategies moving into the new year.

The best Lift Up Insights of 2022 are:

  • Be Unapologetically Confident
  • Aim Higher
  • Sign Up For Extra Projects
  • Get A Mentor
  • Speak Their Language

Keep reading as we explore these in more detail.


Be Unapologetically Confident

The biggest Lift Up Insight from successful female leaders came up time and again: “believe in yourself!”.

As women, we tend to only apply for jobs and promotions if we tick between 80-100% of the requirements. When you consider that, generally, men aim for 50-60%, the disconnect becomes obvious.

Job requirements aren’t a guaranteed marker of who will or won’t get the job, and skills can always be learnt.

One potential cause for this is Impostor Syndrome or a lack of self-belief. Additionally, while everyone experiences Imposter Syndrome, minority groups (like women) experience it more often.

Take pride in your abilities, and realise that even if you don’t check off every requirement, you’re still fully capable of doing the job.

Aim Higher

One of the biggest issues women in life sciences encounter is actually part of their mindset. We don’t aim high enough.

In the first ever Lift Up Live, Anjana recounted that when asked what position she could see herself in, she went with Director. Her mentor responded with four words.

“Why not a CEO?”

Having that kind of support and validation from an external source is brilliant; sometimes, that’s precisely what’s needed. But it’s crucial that we set our own goals higher too.

Don’t set yourself a limit, thinking that’s as far as you can go. Instead, set your goal as what you really want to achieve. You’ll be much more likely to attain your dreams.

Sign Up for Extra Projects

If you want to find long-term success, you need to put yourself forward for new projects and additional work frequently. These extra projects are opportunities to prove yourself, especially if you’re going for regular promotions.

This helps keep you front-of-mind, especially to key decision-makers.

However, if you’re putting yourself forward for projects and keep getting passed over, there are some solutions.

The first is to respectfully ask the decision maker if there are any specific reasons, or if there is something you could do better to ensure you win the project. There could be a crucial element you’ve forgotten, which is holding you back.

On the other hand, if the feedback isn’t helpful or you enact the changes and are still getting passed over, it may be time to switch jobs. The right environment should recognise and value your contributions — if they don’t, you may need to find somewhere that does.

Get a Mentor

Not having a mentor is like having one hand tied behind your back. You can still progress and make your way, but it’ll be a longer, more intensive journey. Mentors have already been through similar struggles, and offer unique perspectives to help guide you through your career.

Even being removed from the situation gives them perspective on the best way to guide you forward. Mentors are a crucial tool, and a good one will help you to do your best.

You should choose your mentor by who’s best equipped to help you reach the next stage of your career. This can mean having a range of mentors across your career, each helping you accomplish your personal and professional goals.

You may even decide to mentor younger women as they enter the life sciences.

If you’re unsure where to find a mentor, read our post: Top Places to Find a Mentor.

Speak Their Language

It’s no secret that men and women communicate differently. It commonly leads to misunderstandings between genders, and if not navigated properly, can negatively impact your career.

One crucial Lift Up Insights we found is: make yourself more easily understood by speaking to people in their ‘language’. For instance, men typically prefer receiving clear and direct answers. This can lead to projects or suggestions being more readily accepted.

Additionally, if you’re offering solutions to a problem, it’s worth suggesting multiple options rather than just one. By providing multiple choices, decision-makers can weigh the pros and cons and choose the plan that corresponds with their mission.

Of course, we’re not suggesting that women have to ‘act like a man’. Finding and using your own voice is essential to long-term success.

But ensuring you communicate in a way that lets you be easily understood is crucial to establishing long-term connections with various people. It is an essential skill that can help you dramatically improve your career prospects.

Have You Joined Lift Up?

These Lift Up Insights were only collected from the Lift Up Lives we hosted in the last three months of 2022. There’s more top-tier information coming, guaranteed.

As Lift Up continues to grow and expand, we’ll only get access to more inspirational and influential women in the Life Sciences space. That means we will continue providing you top-tier information for free.

Lift Up (and all our content) will always be free and easily accessible to everyone. So join this growing community and help us change things for good. After all, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

You can find a library of all our Lives and Podcasts on YouTube

Did you catch our final Lift Up of 2022? We offered you a Backstage Pass to the C-Suite, bringing high-profile guests like Deborah Wild, Iris Grossman, Kevin Malobisky, and Geelanie Briones within reach.

If you didn’t catch it Live, you can still go back and watch the episode!

A range of topics was discussed, from Imposter Syndrome to Misunderstood Characteristics. We’ll explore the following in more detail:

  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Reaching the C-Suite
  • Misunderstood Characteristics

Ready to learn how to tackle some of the most pressing topics? Keep reading!

Imposter Syndrome

When you suffer from imposter syndrome, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one. This isn’t the case. As Iris mentions, both men and women suffer from Imposter Syndrome. In fact, Lynne S. Taylor has documented that “up to 75% of successful leaders and entrepreneurs have admitted to experiencing imposter syndrome”. That includes people in C-Suite roles.

So how can you work to overcome this feeling of inadequacy?

The first step is registering why you feel this way — you’re not in your comfort zone.

The feeling of imposter syndrome signifies that you’re not in your comfort zone, which is actually a good thing. If we want to continue progressing and furthering our careers, it’s time to shift imposter syndrome from a negative to a positive sign.

Another guest, Deborah Wild, frames imposter syndrome more positively; “if I’m not uncomfortable, something’s wrong”.

You’re not out of your depth, you’re growing outside your comfort zone. This is a healthy and exciting place to be. The more comfortable you feel in your role, the more likely you will stagnate.

Of course, it’s completely natural to seek reassurance. Talk to a mentor you trust if you feel that your imposter syndrome is impacting you. They’ll be able to help assuage the feeling, and make you feel more secure in your role.

Reaching the C-Suite

When asked for her advice on reaching the C-Suite, Deborah Wild revealed she actually left the workforce to be a stay-at-home mum. After a few years, Deborah realised she needed to start working again.

In order to continue progressing in her career after taking a break, Deborah relied on three tactics:

  • Mentoring
  • Asking for additional responsibility
  • Signing up for extra projects

Don’t be shy about asking for a bigger salary or the next level; all they can say is no. Plus, frequently asking can keep you front of mind and put you in the limelight for that next promotion.

“It got embedded in my brain that if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

Of course, if you’re in a situation where you’re not being heard, you need to figure out your next steps. This can be a difficult conversation to have with yourself, as it may involve leaving your current employer.

In these situations, you have to put yourself first. If a company isn’t fulfilling your needs, then it’s okay to move to an employer that does. If you’re struggling with a decision, you should talk to your mentor and gain their perspective.

Don’t have one? Read our guide about the top places to find a mentor.

Finally, if your goal is to reach the C-Suite, it’s important to understand why. While being part of the C-Suite comes with impressive titles and salaries, it also comes with a lot of responsibilities and visibility.

Misunderstood Characteristics

It’s no secret that men and women deal with problems in entirely different ways; this can easily lead to being misunderstood. When asked his thoughts on the most commonly misunderstood characteristics, Kevin Malobisky responded with “action”.

There are two main approaches to a situation; analytical and reactive. The former takes a step back to assess the situation before making a move, whereas the latter enacts action quickly at the risk of being disruptive.

While this isn’t true for everyone, typically, men get stuck in and try to fix things quickly, while women take a more analytical approach. So where does the misconception arise?

Responses that conflict with how someone else might respond are likely to be misinterpreted. For instance, a reactive person may view an analytical person as unsure of themselves.

That’s the wrong attitude to take.

Kevin goes on to say, “It isn’t one or the other; the most successes I’ve found are a blend of those two approaches”. That means having an inclusive team of people from diverse backgrounds.




These are just some of the topics covered in the final Lift Up Live of 2022. As usual, if you missed it and would like to catch up, you can rewatch all our previous Lift Up Lives.

Or, if you’d like to read more about Lift Up, check out our Lift Up Intro Blog.

The right mentor can help you accelerate your career, but finding one can be quite challenging if you don’t know where to look. When you’re starting your career, this can be pretty overwhelming, so with help from two amazing special guests, Lexie Pieper & Evelyn Marchany-Garcia, we’ve put together this guide to help you along.

In this article, we’ll tackle the following stages of gaining a mentor:

  • What is a Mentor?
  • Before You Start Looking
  • Where To Find A Mentor
  • Bonus Tips

So if you’re interested in finding the right mentor to help progress your career, keep reading!

What is a Mentor?

Before we explore where to find a mentor, let’s examine what a mentor is.

A mentor teaches, instructs, and guides someone with less experience. The relationship should be friendly and supportive, helping the mentee grow into someone with the necessary skills to progress in their chosen field.

A mentor doesn’t have to be someone in a specific role or position. In fact, anyone willing to impart the knowledge you don’t possess can be a mentor, from a colleague to a C-Suite member of your company.

Keep an open mind to the thoughts and experiences of those around you, because you never know what you can learn.

Before You Start Looking

You must know what you want before you find and gain a mentor. Having a clear understanding of how you want your career to progress is essential when approaching potential mentors. For example, it can help your chosen mentor know if they’re right for you, or if you’d be better suited to someone in their circle.

Knowing what you want beforehand also protects your reputation. For example, if you gain a mentor, and then realise that’s not what you want, suddenly changing your mind may negatively impact the mentor’s perception of you, especially if they’ve started to invest significantly in you.

Of course, being upfront and honest about your decision should help how it’s received.

Where To Find A Mentor

Now that you know what a mentor is, let’s look into the different places you can find one. While there are many more places you can find a potential mentor, these options should grant better success.

Internship Groups

Depending on how they’re run, some internship groups can provide you with a mentor. Sometimes this only lasts until the end of the internship or course, but if you develop a particularly strong bond with them, this can continue throughout your career.

You may find that because your mentor frequently works with internship groups, they don’t have as much time for you after your internship ends. In this situation, try asking them for an introduction to someone with more availability.

Your Peers

It might sound strange, but if you’re new to a career in the Life Sciences, then one excellent place to look for mentors and build connections is your peers.


Because your peers already understand the role. By asking for their help and putting their input to use, you can master your duties more quickly. It also makes your colleagues feel respected and acknowledged. This is key to building long-term and reciprocal professional relationships, which can greatly benefit your career development.

Additionally, with these connections firmly in place, you may find that throughout your career, you and your contacts are in positions to help each other continue progressing.


One brilliant place to find mentors is at industry conferences or other speaking events. Approach the speakers, and try to build a rapport with them. Asking them to mentor you straight away isn’t likely to bring success, but if you develop a professional friendship first, this can quickly develop into a proper mentorship.

Of course, this method does come with two drawbacks. The speaker may not want to be a mentor; even if they do, you’re unlikely to be the only person asking for their help.

This can make the process quite competitive, so it’s essential to be genuine about why you want them to be your mentor. Being genuine can help you stand out from the crowd, and increase your chances.

Ask Your Connections

Just like you would ask for your colleagues’ guidance in your new role, the people you know may be aware of others better suited to help you progress. You might also find that by asking, you discover one of your current connections is open to taking you on as a mentee.

Don’t just stop at your first-level connections either! Speak to the people that your primary contacts know. By utilising connections effectively, you can gain access to a whole host of people capable of offering expert guidance in their field.

LinkedIn is an outstandingly useful tool if you need help finding these second and third-level connections.

Bonus Info

Make connections during your studies! Some of our Ambassadors have found that more successful people stay connected to the people they studied with. You might all choose different paths, but more often than not, those paths intersect and you can help each other grow.

How to approach a mentor

It’s important to remember that mentorship is a professional-casual relationship, and you should treat it as such. Like external friendships, the best ones will develop and strengthen over time. Don’t try to force everything in your first meeting; instead, make the connection and have regular follow-ups.

If they’re not the right option

Another point worth remembering is that just because someone has agreed to mentor you, doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for you. Different people have different learning styles, and your mentor may not be capable of teaching in the manner you need best.

In situations like these, it’s best to be open and honest. Explain that you appreciate their efforts,

It may be worth looking for multiple mentors, and trying to learn what you can from each of them. As you progress, you can choose one area to specialise in.

Want to learn more about the Lift Up Initiative? Check out our other articles!

Search is an intrinsic section of our Talent Ecosystem, and the primary way we help you combat the Talent Crunch. A record number of people are leaving the talent pool, either by retiring or by starting their own businesses.

This is massively affecting how Life Science businesses grow, with 77% of CEOs highlighting hiring key skills as the biggest threat to growth. So with that in mind, we’re going to explore:

  • Why You Need Search
  • Our Search Products
  • How to Add Search to Your Company

So if you want to know what the power of Search can do for your business, keep on reading.

Why You Need Search

Search is the most important part of our Talent Ecosystem — without it, we wouldn’t have a pool of candidates suited to your business. With the right Search methods in place, we can discover potential employees with the skills and experience you require.

Did you know it takes roughly 100 hours of Search to find the right Executive candidate? This multi-stage process includes:

  • finding potential candidates,
  • scheduling and holding interviews,
  • assessing their worth,
  • providing feedback,
  • making an offer,
  • signing the contract.

This creates a lot of extra work for whoever is in charge of hiring, who usually has to juggle their existing workload alongside the hiring process.

Essentially, if your team doesn’t have the right talent acquisition skills, this can be a long and difficult process. Fortunately, our team have the training and skills required to attract and assess the very best potential candidates.

Our Search Products

When it comes to Search, we have four different specialisations designed to suit a variety of needs. Have a look below to see what areas we can help you with.


Our improved form of Executive Search. Our Primary Search product has our expert consultants utilising the latest technology to sift through a global collection of the brightest minds in Life Sciences.

The result? The perfectly tailored fit for your role, every time.

Whilst hiring top talent at any level can help give your life science organisation a competitive edge, middle management holds a particular influence. These members are responsible for delivering on divisional goals, but they also provide visibility and involvement into the day-to-day operations of your business. Ultimately, they are essential to employee engagement and retention.


As demand and development change, businesses need to adapt and restructure to survive and grow. This is especially true for the Life Sciences industry, which is evolving incredibly quickly.

Sometimes, you need to build a professional team within a short time frame. For example, transforming your business to account for new product development or increased demand.

In that case, Project Search is perfectly suited for tackling this task. Project is fantastic at providing you with multi-vacancy partnership solutions.

Our Life Science knowledge is uniquely adapted to navigate these challenges, reducing time-to-hire while maintaining candidate quality.


If you had a broken boiler, would you try to fix it yourself or call a plumber? Implementing structural business change works much the same way. If you don’t have the knowledge or experience, it’ll be incredibly difficult to manage it smoothly and successfully.

That’s exactly where our Interim Search product comes in. Interim Search finds your business the right individual to lead the change you’re after, while only remaining with you on a short-term basis.

Because of the way high-level Interim Executives work, it’s likely that the successful candidate already has experience with similar projects. They’ll be able to hit the ground running, bringing skills you typically wouldn’t have access to otherwise. After a set period, or once the project finishes, they’ll leave your company and move on to their next role.


When it comes to Executives, the average cost of a bad hire is 200% of their salary. It makes sense then, to hire the right person the first time.

Of course, you may not always want to rely on an Executive Search firm to handle this — that’s completely understandable. Our Search Coach function is the perfect middle-ground for you.

The purpose of our Search Coach is to teach your top people how to fine-tune your processes. This includes:

  • Optimising candidate assessment
  • Perfecting your onboarding process
  • Teaching effective negotiation tactics

While clarified as Search in our Ecosystem, the Coach will cover multiple areas, including leadership branding, outplacement, and long-term career development.

How to Add Search to Your Company

Adding Search to your team is a relatively easy process. You start by simply contacting Fraser Dove, and we’ll discuss which of our services would suit you best.

Afterwards, our team will work alongside your Talent Acquisition division to find the perfect fit for your business.

If this sounds like something you could benefit from, contact us today!

Contact Our Team

Interested in exploring how FDI can solve your talent problems? In the coming months, we’ll explore the other services that we offer and how they can solve your problems.

Or, if our Search services are exactly what you need, give us a call at +44 (0)203 355 7050 or send an email to enquiries@fraserdove.com.

With the peak of the talent crunch fast approaching, time to hire is quickly becoming an important metric to monitor and reduce. Think about it, the longer it takes to move a candidate through the process and onboard them, the more likely they’ll be snatched up by a competitor first.

Now is the time to tidy up your processes and ensure your business is acquiring the best talent. We’ve listed some of the best methods below:

  • Streamline Your Processes
  • Review Applications Immediately
  • Network with Potential Candidates
  • Interview Qualified Applicants
  • Make an Offer They Cannot Refuse
  • Hire the Right Executive Search Firm

Streamline Your Time to Hire Processes

Reviewing your talent acquisition processes can identify and eliminate which parts take more time than necessary. Streamlining each step in the process will help to drastically decrease time to hire and, as a result, cost-per-hire.

One way you could speed up interviews is by having them online instead of in-person. This also allows you to access global talent, instead of just being limited to the immediate area. Conducting interviews virtually will remove any travel delays or scheduling issues.

We also recommend you use scheduling software (such as Calendly or Book Like A Boss) to cut out one time-consuming touchpoint while improving the candidate experience.

Once the interview is booked, refine the list of questions you are planning to ask, ensuring you get the answers to any role-critical questions and the candidate’s job acceptance factors. These will ultimately answer everything you need to know ahead of making a decision.

Review Applications Immediately

Some businesses get into a habit of collecting 40 or 50 applications before beginning the reviewing process. This can waste weeks at the front end, when you could review as they filter through and start offering interviews almost instantly.

Offering interviews from the offset also makes sure you interact with candidates as soon as possible. Typically, an applicant will apply to multiple jobs at once, rather than just yours. By interacting with them as soon as possible, you limit the chance of a competitor getting to them before you.

Network with Potential Candidates

Networking and interacting with potential candidates before a role has even been advertised is a great way to reduce the time to hire. Handily, it will also provide you with a ready-made list of targets you have already engaged or interacted with.

Because you’ve previously interacted with and selected these candidates, they should move through the process much faster than a typical candidate. If they don’t, then you may need to examine any bottlenecks.

Interview Qualified Applicants

While interviewing every applicant can sometimes unearth hidden gems, it also dramatically increases time to hire. If you’ve already found that your time to hire process is quite long, it’s time to make some decisions about who you interview and what type of interview they have.

For example, an exploratory phone call interview is great for deciding if a prospective employee needs a full interview or not.

Refine the list of candidates who genuinely have the potential to fulfil the role required. Match the skills on applications to those within the job description and invite any matches to interview promptly.

Make an Offer They Cannot Refuse

Making a lowball offer in the hope your candidate accepts is poor practice. Even if they accept, they’re in danger of feeling unvalued and leaving within a short time frame.

In response, your goal should be to retain employees long-term, as this almost completely eliminates larger re-hiring costs. With that in mind, make a good offer from the offset. You’ll immediately make your new employee feel valued and appreciated, especially if their current role is underpaying them.

Here are three steps to improving your offer acceptance rate:

  1. Create an offer based on previous conversations
  2. Respond to any queries quickly
  3. Provide insights into their new role and responsibilities

Hire the Right Executive Search Firm

When you have a particular role you need to fill, it can sometimes take longer than necessary. You may not even be able to find the right candidate without significant effort.

Hiring an executive search firm can help you find the right talent for the right position at the right time. Ultimately, taking pressure off your internal talent acquisition function, and reducing time to hire.

Sometimes spending a little can help you save a lot — especially when it comes to competitive, high-level roles.

Hiring in the Life Sciences?

Fraser Dove International is a talent consultancy operating exclusively across the life sciences industry. While our roots lie in executive search, we provide more than the traditional recruitment services. Uniquely placed within the market, we have been providing cutting-edge talent solutions and insight to organisations at all stages of their journey – from start-ups to established leaders – since 2013.

Talent Acquisition has changed more in the last 2 years than in the previous 20 — it’s remarkable.

As CCO of Fraser Dove, I have been fortunate enough to meet over 100 TA Directors in Life Sciences over the last 6 months. I managed to gain unique access to the challenges, ideas, and programs that are reshaping the industry.

It’s no secret that larger companies have better talent acquisition resources. Unfortunately, as the talent crunch worsens, small and medium-sized businesses will struggle to acquire top-tier talent unless they fight smart.

To help lower the barrier to talent, we’re sharing some secret information that your business can use to dramatically improve your talent acquisition processes. This information fits into one of three categories:

  • Diversity
  • Digital
  • Data


Commonly referred to as D&I (Diversity and Inclusion), at FDI, we think this is the wrong way round. After all, you can’t be diverse without first being inclusive.

Diversity doesn’t just refer to gender and ethnicity; it also includes disability, neurodiversity, and many other protective characteristics. Due to unconscious attitudes, various things can alienate diverse groups that you may not have considered. We’ll explore a handful below:

Job Adverts

One of the biggest ways businesses are cutting themselves off from a wide range of diverse talent happens right at the beginning — job adverts.

From a talent acquisition point of view, perhaps the worst thing you can do is include a long list of requirements for the position. While you may think it whittles down unsuited applicants, these long lists dissuade capable candidates from applying for the job.

For one, “women want to be 100% sure before they take on the next role”. This means the more conditions you have, the less likely women will even apply for the position.

Instead of including a ‘wish list’ of skills (which can make the job ad lengthy and confusing), stick to the essential information and watch a better variety of candidate applications fly in.

Interview Process

A piece of data we came across at the LEAP TA conference is that diverse candidates are 40% more likely to accept a role with an organisation that includes a ‘non-traditional individual’ in their interview process.

Essentially, involving diverse employees in the hiring process makes you more likely to acquire diverse talent.

You also want to have an inclusive assessment process that isn’t constrained by traditional interview formats. Many great candidates don’t perform well under verbal interrogation or when forced to tell stories.

Getting more inclusive at every step is a great way to access diverse, hidden talent pools and stand out from the traditional employers in your space.


In the same way a customer’s online journey is mapped, we’re starting to see the same thing happening for candidates — in 2023 and beyond, talent really will act like a consumer.

As such, companies are quickly wising up to the idea that candidate experience dramatically affects their talent acquisition rates. The most alert leaders have realised that candidates are gaining power and becoming their most important customers.

Digital Hiring Identity

When it comes to talent acquisition, one of the most important things to be aware of is your digital hiring identity. This includes:

  • Business Leaders’ LinkedIn Profiles
  • Careers Pages
  • Well-crafted Job Adverts
  • Hiring Leaders’ Recommendations
  • Content

Your digital hiring identity is a massive selling point when it comes to recruiting new people. Your primary goal should be to get them through the door and sat down for an interview. Of course, how effective you are depends on the attractiveness of your ‘digital shop window’, and the ease with which people can engage with you.

Leadership Marketing

More than ever, people are picking a leader rather than a job. Simply put, we trust people more than we trust company brands. Unlocking the recruitment marketing potential in your executives is a great way to stand out.

The first step is to get their LinkedIn profiles optimised, recommendation-heavy, and full of passion for their current mission. Candidates spend a lot of time reviewing these profiles before deciding whether or not to attend an interview; don’t miss out on this excellent influencing opportunity.

Following that, you should look at personal branding activities such as conference speaking, content production, and podcast appearances. The goal is to stand out as leaders people will want to learn from and work for.

Digital Candidate Experience

Once your leaders’ personal brands have wowed a candidate, it becomes all about the experience. Future employees judge your culture based on every touch point.

For example, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is during the application process. If an applicant uploads their CV, and then has to manually enter the information again into your ATS, they’re unlikely to continue the process.

This should be easy to rectify, yet it’s a widespread pain point for all candidates. If you review your full candidate journey, you will identify various pinch points like this that can be optimised to deliver quick wins.

Digital Touch Points

After a candidate has met you and is progressing along the hiring journey, you need to consider your continued contact methods.

Amid a competitive job market, you need to ensure you stay in contact with a potential candidate regularly. Available individuals in the life sciences are receiving job offers left, right, and centre — and it’ll only get more intense. So if an applicant doesn’t hear from you for two weeks while you’re deciding, they might accept a different offer and leave the market.

Developing and maintaining effective continued contact methods keep you in contact with a candidate, even if they’re unsuccessful. Some candidates may not be suitable right now, but will be in the future. Automation, content, and digital updates which offer transparency on the hiring process can be implemented for huge gains.

For unsuccessful candidates, instead of losing them completely, perhaps invite them to an online community. Keep them engaged with your brand, and once they’ve developed, you can attempt to hire them again.


Data is integral to talent acquisition. Proper use of data can tell you how well certain streams work at attracting talent. It’ll also tell you which areas of your digital identity potential candidates see and interact with most often.

There are two types of data you can use:

Internal Data

Using your internal data effectively and monitoring hiring metrics is an excellent way of limiting your weak points. This data can highlight your company’s hiring speed and efficiency, whilst showing you any gaps that need to be closed.

Some metrics which provide you with a better insight into your business’ hiring functions include:

  • Time to Hire
  • Days in Stage
  • Offer Acceptance Rate
  • Probation pass success rate
  • Number of high-potential hires

For example, if your ‘Days in Stage’ metric is relatively high, you could lose out on talent before they’ve even progressed to the offer stage. One easy-to-solve issue could be if you’re waiting for a certain number of applicants before starting.

By the time you’ve reached the ‘quota’ of applicants, competitors may have already snapped up some of the best. Instead, start the process as soon as the first candidate applies.

Competitor Data

One of the greatest tools available to you is competitor data. By collating and analysing competitor data, you can create ‘scorecards’. In turn, this can give you extraordinary insights into your competitors’ soft spots, and how best to attract their people.

Some good competitor data to consider:

  • Drug development cycle
  • Turnover
  • Flexible working policies
  • Compensation and benefits
  • D&I stats

Once armed with this competitor data, you should be able to tailor your InMail, emails, and headhunting calls in a way which drastically improves your hit rate.

There is no doubt that Talent Acquisition is harder than ever. Still, as an industry, we have an incredible opportunity to impact our businesses in a way we never have before.

Focus on getting the 3 D’s in place and firing, and you’ll maximise that impact.

Further Developing your Talent Acquisition

Interested in further improving your hiring procedures? Contact Andrew MacAskill.

Andrew has significant experience in helping both applicants and hiring managers improve their attraction. His stellar work on personal branding even earned him LinkedIn’s Top Voice for Careers 2022.

Join over 99,000 others already learning from a top career coach.

With Richard Dane

There’s a tug-of-war for talent between smaller Biotech and larger BioPharma organisations. In the past couple of years, Biotech has been collecting the top tier of people jumping over from large BioPharma. But over the last 12 months things are changing…

“It’s a combination of the smaller companies hiring less, and bigger companies snapping up those people because they’ve been in a more stable position.”

We’re looking at what factors affect who’s getting talent, why, and what you can focus on for improved hiring power.

  • Stability & Funding
  • Compensation
  • Role Scope & Responsibility
  • Flexibility & Work-Life Balance
  • Tips for Hiring

Stability & Funding

When the economy is stable and growing, people are happy to take risks. If a job doesn’t work out, there’s another opportunity they can rely on. But in uncertain times? People want stability.

“There’s a bit of a battle, excitement vs stability.”

Job security is one of the largest differences between Biotech and BioPharma, and exactly why more people are now flocking to larger businesses with more secure jobs.

So why is this happening?

On one hand, small Biotech’s are more reliant on outside funding. This reliance means they’ve got less financial power to start with, and shorter runways. Ultimately, if their projects are unsuccessful, they might have to close their doors within a few years. In that case, employees would have to re-enter the job market — a particularly risky situation with the current state of world affairs.

On the other, the big BioPharma corporations have already got products on the market. These products are constantly generating revenue, and there are more in the pipeline. Essentially, the cost of failure is a lot lower, and these businesses are likely to stick around for a long time.


Job security isn’t the only reason that new talent is flocking to larger BioPharma companies. In fact, since these companies have a larger revenue, they’re able to pay their employees more and offer better benefits.

“What would you prefer? A solid paycheck & benefits from a company that’s not going anywhere, or a smaller base salary with potentially huge equity upside.”

For example, if a BioPharma business has multiple offices spread globally, this may provide workers with the opportunity to travel and work abroad. Some may consider this an invaluable experience, so if it’s possible to offer relocation, you may wish to give it some serious thought.

In the short-term, working for a smaller Biotech can be less financially viable, since base salaries are typically smaller (although not always!). Despite this, it’s worth remembering that you may be eligible for significant equity awards — if the business is successful, this can result in a much larger pay-out.

Role Scope & Responsibility

Choosing a workplace isn’t just about time and money; the workload and responsibilities also need to be considered. For example, where bigger companies offer more focused job roles, smaller businesses allow more variety in your day-to-day.

“In a smaller company, you have more exposure to other areas of the business. You’ll see more and be more involved in strategic decisions.”

From a career progression standpoint, BioPharma can be very enticing. They have more potential for growth, and a larger pool of people to learn from. This opportunity for skill development and networking is invaluable to people new to the Life Sciences.

As careers develop, however, priorities change. An individual may want greater variety in their role, or a broader range of responsibilities. These goals are much easier to achieve in Biotech firms, since the number of employees is generally a lot smaller, and departments less siloed.

Due to this, what you tend to see is new graduates and fresh talent building their careers in BioPharma, and then switching over to Biotech once they’re more established.

Flexibility & Work-Life Balance

While big BioPharma is pulling ahead in terms of financial compensation, they’re falling behind regarding flexibility.

“I speak to a lot of people who say, ‘I really like my job. I’m happy. But they’re making me come to the office four times a week now, and I don’t need to.’”

The pandemic forced people to work remotely wherever possible, now that things are returning to normal, larger BioPharma organisations want their people back in the office. This ‘traditional’ line of thinking is alienating some of the best talent businesses have access to.

Many people have realised they don’t need to constantly be in the office to get the job done, so returning to it can feel archaic and old-fashioned.

Biotech’s, however, are racing ahead. Perhaps due to their smaller size, they’re offering more flexibility, allowing people to find their individual work-life balance. This is more attractive, especially to those who’ve established their careers and want to spend time with family.

Of course, Pharma jobs do tend to be more regular. The shorter runway for Biotech companies means that projects are almost always rushed, leading to longer working hours and less personal time.

Tips for Hiring

In order to improve the chances of hiring the best talent possible, businesses must play to their strengths. That means being vocal about what they can offer and minimising any potential barriers. Consider what’s important to your business, and why a prospective employee should care.

Here are a few ideas on what Biotech and BioPharma businesses can do to maximise their options.


As a Biotech, you don’t have the same fiscal power as a BioPharma business. Instead, your strengths lie in your work flexibility and role scope.

By making the actual workday as enticing as possible, you’re more likely to attract higher calibre applicants. These applicants will be more passionate about the work and should produce better results.


BioPharma companies can offer a whole host of benefits to attract a range of talent, from new to experienced. To stand out from other BioPharma corporations, you want to make your benefits packages as unique as possible.

Integrating flexible working can also help you attract some top talent, since this can make working for your company much more desirable.

Connect with Richard

Richard Dane, FDI’s Biotech Practice Leader, has some great insights into the Biologics industry. Whether you’re in search of the next step for your career, or his thoughts on the latest Biotech topics, go check out his LinkedIn.

While you’re there, why not give him a follow too?

Don’t forget to check out Lift Up: Women in Life Sciences!


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