Updated: May 6, 2020
Today we're talking with Christine Carberry, previously the Chief Operating Officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals. As part of the Executive Committee, she led the Technical Operations, Quality, Human Resources, Regulatory, and Program Management functions.
Prior to Keryx, Christine served as a Senior Vice President at FORUM Pharmaceuticals where she established Program & Alliance Management while also leading Technical Operations and Quality.
During her 26 years with Biogen, she held positions in technical operations and spent her last 9 years leading Program and Alliance Management for a portfolio of over 30 programs.
Hey Christine, could you tell us a little about your career path and what brought you to your current work?
This idea that there is a career ladder is how I thought about my career early on moving up from individual contributor to upper leadership. A mentor early in my career pushed me outside of this straight path and outside of my comfort zone. I realized then that it was not a ladder, but more like a jungle gym. Sometimes to move ahead you have to move to the side and be open to different kinds of experiences. My prior position was a culmination of all my experiences in a very broad role covering manufacturing, supply chain, human resources, and program management. This all led me to my ultimate goal for a profession.
You mentioned being open to different kinds of experiences—how do you know when to make this choice?
At some point in your career, you are going to be faced with a transition - sometimes earlier than you originally thought. I took each of these as an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
So how did you get into mentoring? How would you describe your approach, and what you try to achieve when working with mentees?
I started mentoring at University of New Hampshire by tutoring nontraditional students and found that I loved working with people and learning together. I always felt that I learned as much as they were learning from me. We all go about this differently and I really enjoy the process of learning together.
As a manager, I always felt a big part of my responsibility was to work with my team to develop each of them both personally and professionally. Looking back, I am really proud of the success of those that I worked with. It then came naturally that I would continue to make time for mentoring others.
What’s the biggest buzz you’ve got during your time mentoring?
I have had a lot of those moments actually. I had a woman in my department and I worked with her to help her explore career options. She inevitably took a huge turn away from being a scientist and working in a regulatory field. This type of mentoring would often result in gaps on my team.
Administrators feel stuck in a linear path and I have helped them grow into non-admin roles. It has been exciting to see them spread their wings when they didn’t think it was possible to break free of the stereotypes.
What would you say that you get from mentoring, both personally and professionally?
I feel like I am giving them insight and support. It is so humbling and rewarding to work with these individuals and then receive gratitude from them later in their career.
One word -- verb, noun, adjective, adverb -- that describes a Mentor's role.