The Women I Mentored are My Legacy
Rose Crane has dedicated her career to improving lives as an executive in the pharma industry. Starting as a pharma rep, her path led her all the way to a President role. Now a Board member at Teva, she shares her experience, tips and optimism.
Our industry is so important. I am and was inspired by the changes that pharmaceuticals have brought to patients worldwide. HIV, at one time, was a deadly illness, and now it is something people can live with. I believe that one day, the same could happen with cancer, given the strides in the area of Oncology. In the generic industry, we treat millions of people with our products every day.
I went into the pharmaceutical business because of my Dad. He started his career at Squibb and spent his entire life as a pharma rep. As a young person, I saw my Dad helping people through pharma and I had many friends who were pharmacists and physicians. They inspired me to set on this career path. I started as a sales rep and had a wonderful series of roles in Marketing and Global Strategic Marketing, ultimately becoming President of the US Primary Care business.
In my role at Johnson and Johnson, I led the McNeil companies worldwide and was able to put together a phenomenal team. It was back in 2004; I chose the most qualified and talented people in their area of expertise. The 12 person team consisted of 9 female executives; most are still good friends and many have continued on paths to success. Subsequently, some of those women are flying high – one was the Treasurer at Johnson and Johnson, another is the worldwide head of Med Tech business and another was just appointed as General Counsel for McDonalds.
A highlight of my career was when, as a CEO, I had the opportunity to take a Healthcare Tech company public. It was a rare opportunity for a woman in 2010, especially in the Silicon Valley. Although I was commuting to the west coast, it was a great time to get this experience!
Adversity can help you focus and ultimately makes you stronger. At one point my husband was dealing with a serious and lengthy illness, and unfortunately passed at the young age of 55. My daughter had just graduated from college and received a wonderful job offer in New York City. It was time to find something on the east coast and I happened to find an exciting opportunity at a venture capital firm that continued to enhance my development and growth.
I believe finding balance is all about setting priorities. Sometimes moves and promotions work well and other times you have to say no to a role, if the timing is not right for you. I once turned down a role as a Canadian GM for a large company, and ultimately became Head of Global Marketing, which truly helped me to grow and flourish.
After retiring, I decided to continue to use my knowledge and skills in the pharmaceutical arena. I joined two biotech boards, and later joined the Teva Board. I had been familiar with the company for years and was inspired by their reputation for quality.
Teva has a broad business: generics, biosimilars, and specialty products. It is one of the most complicated and interesting companies in the industry. The challenges and opportunities that Teva faces, require a diverse, thoughtful team at both the Management and Board level.
My daughter is the center of my universe. She has a wonderful career that has allowed her to grow and learn. I can hear her saying, "You and Dad talked about business at dinner all the time and I listened closely."
The advice that I give my daughter is – be confident: when you are presenting, remember that you usually know your subject better than anyone in the room. Always be prepared and know your material extremely well. Have confidence, but listen and learn.
My greatest legacy is the women that I have mentored. I always had wonderful mentors, both men and women. I believe the progression of women flows from the top. Women who mentored women helped them grow. Many have gone on to become executives in large and small companies, some are now CEOs.
Women leaders and managers, it's up to you to mentor. We owe it to one another. Once you experience having a great mentor, you can become a mentor for others.