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Pharma Front-Runner Turned Entrepreneur

“Can you believe that I once said, “I always want to work for someone else!” Like many savvy women climbing the corporate ladder, Jane Chin had basic tangible...

“Can you believe that I once said, “I always want to work for someone else!”

Like many savvy women climbing the corporate ladder, Jane Chin had basic tangible goals that included paying off her house, saving up for her kid’s education, and investing toward “retirement”. But one day she realized a greater purpose, a means to acheive her goals and much more. In 2004, Jane left a lucrative pharmaceutical career to explore and blaze trails onset by a vision to challenge the status quo in medical science.

Since taking the leap in 2004, Jane’s determination led her on an incredible journey from being a Medical Science Liason to her personal business incubator, and role as President and Founder of the Medical Science Liaison Institute, LLC. And just when you think no stone has been left unturned, Jane proves that entrepreneurs can change the world and continues to do so every day via her newest Professional Training and Coaching endeavor, 9Pillars Leadership.

“I want to inspire others to discover their own adventures and design viable futures by sharing my life lessons and how I produce sustainable and outstanding results. My expanded role is as catalyst for, and collaborator with, like-minded individuals looking to change the world through authentic thinking, personal mastery, and alignment of actions with our highest values.” – Jane Chin, PH.D.

Company: Medical Science Liaison Institute/ JaneChin.com 

Founder/Age: Jane Chin PH.D., 32 (when I founded the company)

Location: Redondo beach, California

Startup Year: 2004

Startup Costs: $5,000

How I Got Started: Can you believe that I once said, “I always want to work for someone else!”? Up until then, I did! I had a great job in the pharmaceutical industry with a 6-figure salary, I was field-based (which meant I worked out of my home office), I had paid vacations, and I was working with research doctors on the cutting edge of medicine to treat cancer. I was working in what many of my peers would call “a dream job” as a medical science liaison.

At the time there were things happening in my profession that bothered me, and how pharmaceutical companies used the medical science liaison profession when building relationships with doctors. I saw things happen within the company I worked for that kept me up at night, worrying about whether what I was doing was ethical or even legal. I wanted to do something about it: I asked lots of questions, I spoke up about the things that my colleagues whispered about but not talk
about, and I went through the proper compliance channels within the company.

Soon I realized that my efforts were futile, and that within the corporate setting, I was not able to make a difference. I would never forget the 3 phone calls that happened that January morning in 2004 that changed the course of my professional life: the first phone call was me receiving an ultimatum from my bosses about how I would behave as an employee, the second phone call was me calling my husband asking for his support if I quit my job, and the third phone call was me calling my bosses giving my resignation. Thus began my rookie entrepreneurial journey.

I began my business with a very simple mission in mind: I was going to change the way the pharmaceutical industry used people like me (or the profession I used to work) – and I was going to speak up about the ethical questions that no one likes to talk about. I spoke at industry conferences, I published articles, and I talked to people in the industry who felt troubled by the direction the industry was going in this area.

I landed my first client within 3 months. My business was profitable that first year, and every year since its founding, including 2008 when I put myself on a business sabbatical and cut my business
activity back about 95% (I spent that entire year doing an experiment, where I explored the question, “if I followed my bliss – will success really follow?”).

Through my entrepreneurial enterprise, I accomplished things that I otherwise thought was out of reach for me. I published in international magazines, launched a new management journal (Medical Science Liaison Quarterly), published book chapters, created and ran two industry conferences, and made it to an industry magazine’s “100 Most Inspiring People” list in 2006.

Best Success Story: My most memorable customer interaction is with a client who heard me speak at a conference and flew me to her company’s headquarters to help her build infrastructure for a new team. She had researched my work, learned what I stood for and what my mission was, and she knew she wanted to work with me. I valued this client because she believed in doing the right thing – and this underlined our work together throughout the project.

At the end of the project, we met for breakfast on the day of wrap-up, and she said, “We love you Jane, and we want to retain you for a few more months.” I was then invited to the corporate meeting like I was a member of her executive team. I felt like I not only had a client, but a friend who had similar professional and ethical ideals that I had. I have worked with her many times since.

#1 Tip for Newbies: Invest in your skills and put what you learn to use! When I look at how I got started, I look at how much I have invested in mentoring and coaching as part of my own business skills development and professional development. I was not afraid to spend the money if I knew that it would shave my learning curve by years or save many-fold in costly mistakes.

Some people may blanch at how much I have spent ($3,500 of startup funds) on my professional development alone. In retrospect, I see that my investment with a coach/mentor resulted in a significant return (in one case, my return was 1000% – that is not an extra zero – one thousand percent), — I consider that a great investment. I have also seen many people who do not follow through on what they have spent tens of thousands of dollars learning! Hence, “put what you learn to use.”

 

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