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EP48 Live from the 2019 Public Health Career Expo [Part 1]
Alexandria Arriaga: Hello everyone, my name is Alexandria Arriaga, and I want to welcome you to part one of a live edition of Public Health Career Expo. In this episode, we get to hear from a variety of employers, and learn more about positions they're offering within the field of public health. The employers also tell us more about what they're looking for in a candidate, and give us advice for all MPH students, who are beginning their job search. Are you still looking for an internship, full-time job, or fellowship? If so, please stay tuned.
Elizabeth Oriole: I'm Elizabeth Oriole, and I am a manager in business development for SYNTACTX. SYNTACTX is a company that manages clinical trials for medical device and pharmaceutical companies. So we essentially take a company that's trying to bring their medical device or pharmaceutical to market, and we walk them through from step one through till the end. We're a full service organization. We offer everything from protocol development, through to post market studies, and everything in between.
Alexandria Arriaga: And what types of positions are you hiring for, and what are you looking for in an ideal candidate?
Elizabeth Oriole: We're looking for medical writers, clinical project managers, and data scientists. And we're always also looking for software engineers, as well. And in an ideal candidate, I think we're looking for someone who has experience in some sort of health care or clinical setting. And that's not necessarily someone who has worked in a hospital, but just someone who has an interest in health care. And I would say we're looking for someone who is a team player, someone who is very hard working, and someone who is really just interested in learning a lot, because we have a lot of really smart people in our company, and we have a lot to offer to the candidate, as well.
Alexandria Arriaga: In your opinion, what skills, attributes, or types of experiences, will be most important in the next three to five years, for professionals in your industry?
Elizabeth Oriole: I think that it's important for people to really just hone in on their craft, and become somewhat of an expert in what they want to do. I also think specifically with SYNTACTX, I mentioned before that it's really important to be a team player. We have a lot of different departments within our company, but everyone really works together to get to that end goal. All of the departments work in tandem, and I think that it's just a good place for someone who likes to be a team player, who likes to work with people. People who are in their department and other departments, as well as our leadership, they're very hands on, and the entire company functions as one big team.
Alexandria Arriaga: Excellent. And what is your number one piece of advice for MPH students who are beginning their job search?
Elizabeth Oriole: My number one piece of advice would be to just keep going, and keep trying, even if you are rejected when you're applying for jobs. I know it's a really competitive market right now, and it might be a little bit disconcerting, if you're applying for a ton of jobs, or you don't hear back, or you don't get them, so I think just keep applying. Apply to everything you see. LinkedIn is a really good place for job sears. And go to things like what we're at right now, job fairs, and that sort of things. Because I really think that connections are everything. So if you meet someone through LinkedIn or through a job fair, then you have that personal connection, it makes you a more appealing candidate for the person looking.
Alexandria Arriaga: Agreed. Thank you so much.
Elizabeth Oriole: Sure, thank you.
Shawn Card: Yeah. My name is Shawn Card with FEMA Region 2. FEMA's mission statement is, "Helping people before, during and after disasters." The agency is structured into ten different regional offices throughout the country, and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Broadly speaking, FEMA's mission is divided into some main key components. You have mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. There are many other supporting offices, but those four are the major components of the agency. I work for FEMA Region 2's New York City office in preparedness. And more specifically, my job is to assess Region 2 jurisdiction preparedness levels. So this is accomplished by conducting regular threat and risk assessments and preparedness reviews. So my position is responsible for New York State, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, so we also have our Caribbean areas, and we also provide support to federally recognized tribes, some of which are Seneca Nation, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, and the Oneida Nation. My job big picture, is to really know the key players in Region 2. Know what the key issues are in each of these areas. Much of my job involves providing technical assistance, the state, local, tribal, territorial partners, and that's in the form of helping them perform those tasks, providing training. And a lot of it just simply spending time with them to understand the different challenges that they face.
Alexandria Arriaga: What type of positions are you hiring for? And what are you looking for in the ideal candidate?
Shawn Card: So each FEMA region is afforded a certain number, and type of positions. And within each region, each division is responsible for conducting their own hiring in accordance with FEMA's policies and procedures. So anyone interested in a career with FEMA can always monitor USAJOBS.gov. All the open current positions are always posted there. And they can peruse that for different positions that match their interest and qualifications. Ideal candidates come to the agency already with the relevant education and experience for the position that they're applying to. Broadly speaking, a successful emergency manager is someone who is highly intelligent. You often have to learn a little bit about a lot of things in this profession. And someone who is analytical, who is able to bring logic to fluid situations and problems. And you also need to be a skilled practitioner. So someone who can take disparate pieces of information and abstract concepts, and build those into concrete outcomes. That's always a challenge. Additionally, a good emergency manager is a personable coordinator. So if you're able to take those chaotic situations, apply some structure to them, and then achieve unity of effort, among numerous partner organizations in any type of disaster response. The ideal candidate also needs to be able to multitask, and be adept at critical decision making. Able to quickly and sensibly weigh different options, and have the confidence to make a decision.
Alexandria Arriaga: And in your opinion, what skills, attributes, or types of experiences, will be most important in the next three to five years, for professionals in your industry?
Shawn Card: Yeah, so right now we're seeing the emergency manager profession, become more professionalized, I guess you could say. You're seeing a lot of colleges and universities have emergency management programs, which is relatively new. And that's bringing a certain level of specialization to the field. So what we'll start to see is more people begin their career in emergency management, as opposed to migrating to it at some point mid-career. So you'll see a lot of newcomers that way. Anyone coming into this field at this point, needs to be technologically adept. The field is incorporating new technologies on a daily basis, and that's something that both newcomers, and veterans of this profession, have to keep pace with constantly. There's also a need to have a healthy balance between education and experience. Because there is this huge application component to the field, so you have to have both sides of that equation.
Alexandria Arriaga: And what is your number one piece of advice for MPH students who are just beginning their job search?
Shawn Card: I've got a few, if that's all right?
Alexandria Arriaga: Yeah. Go for it.
Shawn Card: All right. Keep your mind and options open. Use your younger years to really explore the field and figure out what your niche is, and build your career from that. And that requires a certain level of flexibility to do that. Emergency management is a huge field; there's public, there's private, there's nonprofit, there's health-oriented emergency management, there's school emergency management. There's a lot of different aspects to the field, and it might take some time to figure out where your primary interests are. Be present in each position. I think if you don't ever coast, and you give each position your full time and attention, you'll be surprised what opportunities come your way. Find that position that provides you job satisfaction, because I think that's where you'll be most successful. If it's a job that you're truly interested in, you derive some satisfaction from, that's where you'll thrive. And lastly, I would say be willing to work for experience instead of pay, especially right at the beginning. You'd be surprised what a six month unpaid internship can do for you, if you really apply yourself. And if it's done right, it can open a lot of doors into the field.
Alexandria Arriaga: Excellent. Thank you so much.
Shawn Card: All right. Thank you.
Bruno Van Tuykom: My name is Bruno Van Tuykom, I'm the CEO of Twentyeight Health, we are a direct-to-consumer birth control platform. Our mission is to empower women with trusted information, affordable access and convenience for their reproductive and sexual health. And we're studying birth control as the first service and category and we'll expand to become a health company.
Alexandria Arriaga: What types of positions are you hiring for? And what are you looking for in the ideal candidate?
Bruno Van Tuykom: Yeah, great question. So recruiting for two positions. One is basically an internship position, and one is a full-time. The responsibilities are not extremely different. It's basically a customer experience and operation person. So it would be actually like opportunity number one. So we've been working with interns opportunity now. And the goal of that position is to make our customers as happy as possible. So it's basically managing customers from beginning to end. Communicating with them, managing them through the process, coordinating with doctors, with the pharmacy, making sure they get delivered. So for the internship, we're looking for somebody for the next three, four months. Full-time is full-time, as it says.
Alexandria Arriaga: Yeah.
Bruno Van Tuykom: And the full-time position, there's a lot of growth opportunities to actually lead that team, and recruit other people.
Alexandria Arriaga: Great. And in your opinion, what skills, attributes, or types of experiences, will be most important in the next years for professionals in your industry?
Bruno Van Tuykom: Good question, I would say. So we're in the healthcare industry, ten medicine tack. I think number one is to be very curious about what's happening. It's a very complex industry, with lots of changes. So somebody intellectually curious, who wants to understand the complexity. I think they're very passionate, I think if you join us, you need to be passionate about increasing access to health care, and solving the way it works, and it's really hard. I think people who are extremely driven, who are willing to work hard, to learn and to be able to develop as well, as fast as possible. I would say also, very good communicators. I think in any industry, but in general, if you can express your ideas in a very succinct, structured way, whether you engage with customers, with stakeholders, with investors, and again, I think living in the industry that is very complex puts the emphasis even more on being able to bring that complexity to something very simple.
Alexandria Arriaga: Definitely. And what is your number one piece of advice for MPH students who are beginning their job search?
Bruno Van Tuykom: Good question. I would say, you always meet people twice. And by that I mean, you should see every interaction as a potential interaction that is valuable for the future. So for example, if you interview with people here, it's not my preferred job, I would still cultivate a good relationship with everybody you meet, because you never know. You never know. And that's why I say that you will always meet people a second time, and that second time, you will be happy that you were nice to them the first time. And I see that a lot in interviews. Obviously at the end there's only a couple of people who will get the position, or get the job, but I think the way you project yourself during the process, is extremely important.
Alexandria Arriaga: I fully agree. And a personal question, what do you love the most about working at Twentyeight Health?
Bruno Van Tuykom: I would say two things.
Alexandria Arriaga: Go for it.
Bruno Van Tuykom: Well to pick one. One is, I just love the energy of the team around us, all the advisors, or investors, or friends, I think they're just something... It takes a lot of energy, but it gives you a lot of energy to do a startup, so I think that's the most valuable asset is the people with us. The number two is, it's extremely satisfying when you have customers who join, and give you very good feedback. And again, I think we help people on a very important matter, which is access to birth control, and so we get feedback that is really moving the product. People are like, "I love you. You made my experience so good. I didn't have access before, you are much cheaper." Whatever it is, but I think getting really positive customer feedback is really cool.
Alexandria Arriaga: Thank you so much.
Bruno Van Tuykom: You're welcome.