North Carolina Authors: Remember Who You Are

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Review by T. Goodyear, Associate Director, Veracity Logic

In the 1980’s, I had the career-changing experience of taking a job in Chapel Hill, N.C., at a small company called Quintiles, a “CRO” -- whatever that meant! -- that was about to change the face of pharmaceutical research.

Among the great team members I had the privilege of knowing at what quickly became referred to in the industry simply as ‘the Q’ (now the megalithic ‘IQVIA’) was Paula Brown Stafford, a North Carolina native who rose through the ranks of project management, business development, scientific operations and general management before retiring from Quintiles, a Fortune 500 company, in 2015 as President of Clinical Development. A recipient of the Triangle Business Journal’s Women in Business award, Paula was named one of the top ten women in biotech by FierceBiotech in 2012 and in 2016 received a Distinguished Alumna award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Now she has joined with Lisa T. Grimes, former CEO of InSite Clinical Trials, AcSentient, and Pur Thread Technologies, to achieve another life goal: to help young women of today chart their careers up the rocky paths of corporate life without banging their shins against the same obstacles over which their pioneering predecessors stumbled. Their new book, Remember Who You Are: Achieve Success. Create Balance. Experience Fulfillment, published by Morgan James Publishing, refreshingly strives to save women from the longstanding and damaging illusion that their goal in business is to strive to ‘have it all’ – as if that were possible anyway.

The jacket blurb for Remember Who You Are lays out the quandry: “Success. Balance. Fulfillment. It’s the elusive trifecta every working woman is desperately seeking. Do you find yourself trying to be everything to everyone, but never quite good enough? Do you run yourself ragged trying to find time for family and friends, still feeling that something is missing – perhaps you? For women who are still trying to ‘have it all’, Paula and Lisa share relatable experiences, insights and encouragement – what they wish they had known 30 years ago.”

Generous with personal truths and unvarnished tales, Remember Who You Are delves into the multitude of issues assaulting women in business – juggling the personal and the professional, dealing with guilt and expectations, rivalry among peers, and, above all, the sense that one must put aside oneself to succeed.

The mitigating challenge, according to Paula and Lisa is to  “…develop your own personal brand, guided by your priorities. Once you do this, everything else will become easier to manage. Having your own brand is like having a road map you can refer to when you reach a fork in the road.”

When you have defined the things that matter most to you this is what follows: ‘Fulfillment, a sense of accomplishment, balance and peace come in knowing you have stayed true to yourself.” The authors reveal how to claim your brand…and how to wield it in a world of real-life challenges.    

The journey toward Remember Who You Are started when these two powerhouse women, self-described as one-time ‘fierce competitors’, unearthed a key piece of the puzzle: Complement, rather than compete. To paraphrase, draw strength from the village.

To quote from the book: “After many years, curiosity got the better of us, and a networking lunch launched a friendship as we both realized that complementing each other was much better than competing. We found in each other a perfect sounding board. We were both working mothers and wives. We have bought and sold companies. Each of us worked her way up from entry level to be named someone’s Woman of the Year, yet we still struggle with keeping up with the paperwork and curveballs of life. Do you know how refreshing it is to meet an authentic woman? A woman who gets frustrated, a woman who stumbles? A woman who is willing to say to herself: It is OK not to do it all and have it all, so can you please stop trying?”

And from that simple starting point, read on. In the hands of these two giving, caring, sharing execs, the road to the C-suite beckons….

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