Carol Wells has traveled the world but considers Kansas City a hidden gem.
She worked for Marion Laboratories in Kansas City for 20 years, first as a trainer in the mid-80s and then in sales through the early 90s. Carol leveraged the leadership development opportunities at Marion to earn her executive MBA at Rockhurst University in 1998.
After Marion, Carol made a few career stops across the country to round out her sales background with marketing experience before landing 15 years ago in the Bay Area. She built out the training function for biotech company Genentech in South San Francisco, a role she considers the “capstone” of her career and an evolution of her passion for developing people.
As demonstrated by her own career trajectory, Carol is a proponent for building capacity and experience instead of looking for the next promotion—what some call the “lattices over ladders” philosophy, a topic Carol will discuss during an event in Kansas City on 14 August, sponsored by HBA Kansas City and BioKansas. Her approach to healthcare leadership embodies the evolving nature of work, which goes beyond a one-size-fits-all corporate ladder model.
Part of this is acknowledging the nature of work is changing. Younger generations are looking for purpose and mission in the workplace. “That’s a little easier to find in healthcare where the mission is clear,” says Carol, “as managers, it’s our purpose to help people connect their work to the overall mission, whether they’re working in sales, marketing, finance or HR.”
Carol recently returned from a month-long sabbatical in which she traveled to Europe, but took the time to share some advice for healthcare professionals adjusting to this new model of work:
- Focus on building breadth and depth of experience. Sometimes that requires looking for surrogate experience to help fill in the gaps in your current role. It also means staying at a role long enough to gain true experience, not just checking a box.
- Adopt a volunteering mindset. In her 2015 STAR speech during the HBA Woman of the Year event, she made a case for recasting the definition of volunteering. She said to look beyond fulfilling a certain time commitment but considering the true essence of volunteering, which is helping others. “You have a chance to do that with every interaction,” says Carol. “It’s about how people feel when they walk away from an interaction with you.”
- Lift up other women in the workplace. Carol believes strongly that women must advocate for each other and educate their male colleagues about why women often feel less valued in the workplace. She says, “your voice counts. Your pay should be equal. Your opportunities the same.”
Carol Wells is senior director of commercial, medical and government affairs training and development at Genentech. She will address new ways for healthcare and life science companies to keep pace with today's rapid rate of change and skills needed to rise in the healthcare business during a panel event hosted by HBA Kansas City and BioKansas on 14 August 2019.
From Ladders to Lattices: Thriving in the Evolving World of Healthcare Leadership
Wednesday, 14 August
4:30PM - 7:30PM CST
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art
12345 College Blvd Overland Park
Kansas City, MO 66210
Written by Carolyn Sobczyk