It’s a brand new Career Diaries podcast episode and this fascinating episode grapples with a great topic for RA/QA professionals – visibility and exposure. The special guest is someone who has reached great heights in her own career, Ondina Bennaïm, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs at Becton Dickinson, and she has some fascinating insights and easily actionable tips that will make you more visible at your company!
Here are some of the key learnings from the episode to give you a taste of why you should listen to the discussion in full.
🔎 Why visibility?
If you work in the medical device industry, you know that it can be a highly competitive and fast-paced environment. Hard work is a prerequisite in the medical device field, and hard work alone won’t be able to get you ahead and take you to the top. Instead, visibility and exposure are critical components to succeeding in this field.
At its core, visibility means being known to the organization. It means making yourself known as an individual and making your department known to the organization. Visibility means being recognized and remembered by others in the organization. It’s almost like brand awareness – building your brand within the company.
🧐 Benefits of visibility
Visibility is important for both career progression and getting things done in your day-to-day job. Being visible means that people know who to connect with to progress on the things you are responsible for. It means that you are more likely to be considered for initiatives or projects. Being visible can also help to build your reputation within the company, making you the go-to person for specific tasks or projects.
In the competitive landscape of the medical device industry, you have to put in extra effort to secure promotions or other opportunities that go beyond performing routine work tasks. It is a combination of being visible, making yourself known in a positive way to senior colleagues by speaking up in meetings, making connections, and providing insights and outcomes that are key to career success.
🥳 4 ways to become more visible
Here are Ondina’s top tips that you can act on today to start becoming more visible at your company:
💬 1. Speak up in meetings
Speaking up in meetings is the simplest and most accessible way to become more visible at your company. Even if you feel like you don’t have anything to add or that everyone has already articulated your message, speak up anyway. By doing so, you are flexing a muscle that you will need more and more as you advance in your career. Speaking up is important because it helps others to recognise your unique perspective and expertise. A goal for everyone should be to speak up at least once per meeting.
😊 2. Make connections outside of your typical job
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of your role and interact only with those in your immediate team. However, to become more visible, it’s important to interact with colleagues outside of your typical day-to-day job. Invite colleagues from R&D, procurement, or finance for a coffee. By being curious to learn more about the organisation and building your business acumen, you’ll be better positioned to identify opportunities for cross-functional collaboration and partnership.
🤞 3. Express yourself
If you have a specific interest or passion, express it to others in your organisation. Share it with your manager or HR person. For example, if you have a vested interest in healthcare economics, share it with everyone who will listen. Read everything possible about it and attend any relevant events. Whenever a project about reimbursement comes up, you’ll be top of mind because you’ve made your interest and passion known.
💻 4. Be visible on social networks
Join industry-specific groups on social networks, such as LinkedIn. This will give you a great opportunity to be visible and a safe space to practice offering opinions and being visible. For example, Elemed’s EU MDR group on LinkedIn is an excellent forum for connecting with others in the medical device industry and sharing thoughts and insights.
✨ Building relationships
A company is made up of people, so it’s really important to build those relationships. In a world where everyone is super busy, people are prioritising many different things at the same time. How can you get someone who you’re not working with currently to go for a coffee? Be direct and approach them.
In Ondina’s case, being part of a women’s network at work helped her build connections, be visible and led to opportunities. If you’re wondering how to go about finding time with people, ask them for a coffee. If you’re speaking to people in a department other than yours, you could say something like ‘Hi, I’m very interested in building business acumen in R&D, do you have 15 minutes to share your knowledge’. It’s rare that people say no to such a direct question, and people are often passionate about their work and interested in sharing their own knowledge.
Make wider connections by speaking to people outside of your own department, not only will you be able to gain a new perspective on work that can provide you with ideas on how to achieve your own goals, but you will be making yourself more visible to the company and increasing your chances of your name popping up in meetings.
Intentionally working towards becoming more visible at your company and targeting departments or individuals that you would like to make yourself known to is a good starting point. Then making sure to set aside time, for instance spending time with these connections at lunch instead of eating on your own, will massively benefit your visibility in the long run.
Speaking up in meetings is another key takeaway. If you sit silently in a meeting and let others talk, you won’t be adding value or making yourself visible to others, which can help open doors and opportunities at a later point when colleagues remember you and what you can bring to the table.
To hear Ondina’s perspective, story, and great insights that weren’t touched upon in this article, make sure to listen to the full podcast and take your first steps towards becoming visible at your company and reaching new heights in your career!