Sep 26, 2017

About the author

Dr. Gina Stetsko

Dr. Gina Stetsko is a senior pharmaceutical development and manufacturing executive with over 35 years experience, including 23 years in the start-up pharmaceutical field. She holds a PhD in Pharmaceutics from Purdue University.

Topic tags

Career, CMC, Drug Development, Novateur

Forgoing Retirement: Why I Became an Advisor at Novateur Ventures

I have had a successful career in pharmaceutical development and operations and I was about to retire but decided not to. So why am I an Advisor at Novateur Ventures?

I just saw a quote from astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson and this answers part of the reason for my motivation.

“When I think of science and scientists, I think of kids who never lost their curiosity and wonder, and then woke up one day as adults with the same sense of search for what is and what is not true in the world.”

As a adolescent one has to select a direction for study and a potential career. Hopefully, the choice is something that ignites a spark inside rather than just a means to make a living but everyone makes individual decisions based on many factors.

As a child, I helped my Dad take apart and fix just about every thing around the house that needed to be repaired. Starting out as “curious observer”, advancing to “assistant and helper” handing over tools and finally to “repair partner”. My curiosity caused me to often forgo typical childhood pursuits and yes, it had my mother concerned.

Later I became fascinated with nature and biology and how living organisims work, and how they interact with the world around them. I remember being intrigued by how some cells in plant seeds turn into stems that grow upwards and other cells become root hairs and grow downwards. Also, how can you swallow an aspirin and your headache goes away? This got me hooked on medicine and the human body.

Working in the pharmaceutical science field for over thirty years, I know that and much more, having solved problems and developed formulations and processes for just about every dosage form.

I was also fortunate to have opportunities for building teams in the US, UK and France where I learned how to deal with different cultures, work environments and traditions. In the end, I found that people are really not that different, especially inside.

We all have hopes, dreams and expectations along with fears, dislikes and ingrained personal habits. I found it is possible to work with these realities and still achieve desired goals, with some personal development thrown in for good measure.

Instead of retiring, I decided that I still have that scientist’s curiosity and the desire to create things and help others, even if it sometimes involves just handing them some tools.  It is especially rewarding to find gaps in the existing project and teach others what I know. I recall a quote that defined what it means to be a leader, it read:

“Be the person you needed when you were younger.”

This strongly resonates with me today in my role as Advisor at Novateur Ventures. Yes, I have experience and knowledge to share but I also like to be part of a team. My role has become teacher, mentor and cheerleader bringing a sense of the positive to situations that frequently look grim, especially when aggressive timelines are concerned.

I do enjoy the science and the challenge but mostly, I enjoy the people. For them, I like being that person I needed when I was younger. I certainly know how it feels to be challenged and overstressed with no clear direction. I am able to apply my experience to different situations and help my clients see that problems can be solved by dissecting the issues into manageable parts and then help manage them.

Most of all, I feel fortunate to find a vocation that blends the curiosity, science and people together in a way that I never experienced before. It’s great to learn something new every day, move science forward and make others happy.

I continue to live by my motto: Tell the truth; Do the right thing; Be kind. I find it never fails me.

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