Our ongoing “Meet Me in 5” series covers 5 people, topics or questions to illustrate how Covance nurtures exceptional people, provides an energizing purpose and enables extraordinary potential in its employees’ careers.
In this article, we spoke with Julien Lazarus, Director, Global Data Management for Covance Central Laboratories in Geneva to get his view on the value of training and development for career growth. Given that Julien’s first role at Covance started as a training and development manager, he is well suited to share insights on how to grow a career, gain leadership skills and take advantage of mentoring opportunities at Covance.
1. The journey from consulting to teaching
After completing his graduate degree in economics, Julien worked in business development for a large professional service network, developing marketing strategies for products and services. But after a few years, he was ready for a change.
“While I enjoyed business and financial consulting, I wanted to work at a place where the values were greater,” explained Julien.
After a few years working as an economics teacher at a college, he found he missed some aspects of the corporate world and sought out an organization where he could combine his interest in knowledge sharing and make a difference in people’s lives.
“I learned the work we do at Covance matters. That was something I didn’t have in consulting and I found it very rewarding.”
2. Growing his career in a global setting
As a training and development manager at Covance, Julien facilitated training sessions across Europe, America and Asia, gaining insights into different departments and their needs. From here, he was able to transition into the role of senior project manager, gaining exposure to a variety of clinical indications, such as HIV, HPV, oncology and multiple sclerosis. After a few years he started supervising the project management team and then took on a junior leadership role.
“I made a bold move in 2014,” admitted Julien. “I wanted to change departments and work in the Global Data Services department. While I didn’t have a data management background, I knew I could leverage my experience in strategic management.”
Taking a chance, Julien applied and was offered the position. “Through the opportunity I gained the diverse experience I needed to grow my career,” he explained.
3. Experiencing “a breath of fresh air” in mentoring relationships
While it has been over a decade since Julien’s first Covance position as a training and development manager, he still recognizes the value of ongoing coaching and mentoring.
“As of today, I have six mentee relationships,” says Julien. “I like being able to sit down and put my daily work aside to hear about the challenges someone faces. In this situation, my role as a mentor is not the ‘know-it-all.’ I serve as someone who asks thought-provoking questions, listens to responses and even shares what did and didn’t work for others. I find these conversations very enjoyable – it is a breath of fresh air in my day.”
4. Finding a “safe haven” amongst colleagues
While Julien has several ongoing mentees, he admits that has never had one person that he considers his official mentor. “I’d say that throughout my career I’ve had numerous informal mentors,” he explained.
“Mostly these ‘mentors’ were people that I looked up to. They would take the time to meet with me. Whether I learned from their insights, spent time venting or just bouncing my ideas, I found these conversations helped me consider new perspectives. Having ongoing access to these ‘safe havens’ continues to be absolutely important for me.”
5. Encouraging others to increase their connections
To Julien, having a mentor at Covance is essential part of the career experience and making the most of one’s extraordinary potential.
“At Covance, we have the opportunity to work in a truly global organization. Everyone is so devoted to what we do,” said Julien. “The people I have met in the past 14 years are all keen to share their experiences and ideas. Each time I get to meet someone new, I gain new ideas.”
“That’s why I encourage my team to get to know our colleagues and peers. They all have incredible and inspirational stories. By sharing our time, we are building great relationships and increasing our ability to interact across cultures. It’s really the people that make Covance special and that’s what I value here.”
To explore careers and learn more about life at Covance, visit Careers.Covance.com.