3 Tips for Advancing Your Biotech Career

CSL’s Executive Vice President and Head of R&D offers advice for professional development.

Head of R&D Bill Mezzanotte at Development Day

The biotechnology industry, like Research and Development, is fundamentally about hope. Hope for patients and for the company. In order to stay ahead in this ever-evolving industry –  employees must pay attention to their own professional development to personally grow. That was one of the messages Bill Mezzanotte, Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development at biotech leader CSL Behring, shared with employees at the company’s recent Development Day in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Here are three more tips Mezzanotte shared:

Think about your career like a weeping willow tree. “You never see a weeping willow tree go down in a storm,” Mezzanotte said. “It’s because it starts by growing laterally under its surface. Its root system is strong. And when the storm comes, it’s ready to bear it.”

"Also like the weeping willow tree, employees should grow in various directions, without concern about how high they are growing at first,” Mezzanotte added. “Not only will that help in your stability, but it also broadens you. In an environment like this, where we work cross-functionally, the more horizontally you grow, the more effective you are.”

Be ready to take opportunities when offered. Mezzanotte shared his own experience of entering into the biotechnology industry and rising to head up Research and Development for CSL – the world’s fifth largest biotechnology company – after a successful career working in private clinical practice.

"This progression has been the result of professional development – a combination of coursework, lateral (not necessarily vertical) moves, opportunities that built my skills and capabilities, and leaders who gave me a chance,” Mezzanotte said. “At one point in my career, a leader offered me the chance to lead a new global alliance instead of taking the safe promotion in my own department. This choice sent me on a path of global working that has led me here today.”

Never stop learning. “Life-long learners are less apt to experience job dissatisfaction and more likely to adapt to an ever-changing environment,” Mezzanotte noted during CSL Behring’s Development Day. “Your best career insurance policy is to add to your skill set and personal toolkit. While biotechnology companies continue to change, what doesn’t change is that the employees most in demand are those who continue to develop themselves.”