Career Conversations | Jennifer Poitras, Field Application Scientist

[MUSIC] I knew I wanted to go into
the industry and not so much that I knew I wanted
to go into the industry. I just always knew I wasn’t
going to go into academic science. And as good as I was at,
pushing the field forward and doing science, I wanted to just facilitate
helping other people do so. And I knew I could do
that in an industry role. [MUSIC] Well, it’s not like your
conventional story. I used some of the software
packages, so I worked for Qiagen, which at the time
the pathway analysis tool, Ingenuity pathway analysis
was independently owned by Ingenuity. So I basically tried
to reach out to them. But then Ingenuity was
acquired by Qiagen. I couldn’t get in
touch with anybody. So I just stopped by their
booth at an American Society of Human Genetics meeting,
and said, listen. There’s one thing I know
I could really enjoy and excel at is selling and
supporting your software, cuz I think it’s great. And do you have a job for me? So that’s how I got my job. [MUSIC] So day to day varies. I work from home,
which is wonderful, but you also have to be
self-disciplined, although most people
in a PhD are anyway. So day to day,
I send emails to people. I work and
do webinars from home. So I see what kind of support
the sales people need because I’m working really
In tandem with them, to see what sorts of customers
need webinars for what purposes. I also travel a lot and
do hands-on training. So I would say my job is
probably 40 to 50% travel. So yeah, between working
at home doing webinars and on-site training, it’s a lot
of communication basically. You have to have really
good communication skills for this job. [MUSIC] In general, it’s really
the communication skills. Making sure that
the hiring manager knows that you’re comfortable
speaking in front of people, because you’re gonna have
to do that a lot, and dealing with a lot of very
interesting personalities. And knowing how to kinda
navigation those situations [LAUGH] when you’re in
the field especially. And so basically I would just
say good communication skills are what’s necessary. [MUSIC] So there’s this myth that
there’s not a lot of room for creativity in industry, which
in my case at least isn’t true. So I mean, we have frequent
meetings with the product managers and talk about
enhancements either that we’ve heard from the field or the things that we think would
be helpful with customers. And also the ability to put
together our own case studies, so go to journals,
get data there and actually use our tools to showcase the
capabilities using real data. So we have our own
ability to be creative. [MUSIC]

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