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Back to Work: Women At Work - Life Science Edition

GettyImages-898065152March is Women's History Month. This a fantastic opportunity to recognize and honor women's contributions throughout history and promote gender equality across industries. During the month of March, our podcast will showcase a four-part series of women making strides in the tech, life sciences, health care and engineering fields. This episode will focus on women in Life Science, a branch of science that studies living organisms and their interactions with each other and the environment.

In this episode of Yoh's Back to Work podcast series, our host, Joe McIntyre, and Sr. Business Development and Diversity Specialist for Yoh's Life Science practice, Caitlin Root, talks about her experience as a woman operating within Life Sciences and provides strategic tips for women in the growing field. Caitlin concludes the podcast by giving her informed hypothesis on the future landscape of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the Life Science industry.





What is special about Life Science and Recruiting to Caitlin Root?

The Life Science field is intriguing to Caitlin because it is constantly evolving. Science is involved in everything we do, see, touch, and engage. Therefore, the industry must welcome different perspectives and experiences. The recruiting space allowed her to pursue something meaningful by helping people to achieve their dreams. The intersection of these fields culminated in her ascension as a leader.

Caitlin's intersecting passions of Life Sciences and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are what drive her in her role each day. Some examples of her taking these passions by the reins include her experiences of helping a transgender woman break into tech, as well as aiding a person with a speech impediment in securing their dream job. Over the years, Caitlin has also enjoyed the fulfilling experience of helping unemployed folks land a job after a lengthy search. 

Her positive impact does not stop there. Caitlin was formerly an Employee Resource Group (ERG) co-chair for Day & Zimmermann's (D&Z) True Colors ERG. Today, she is heavily involved in overseeing the success of all D&Z ERGs in an overarching DEI support role. She works diligently to create and implement internal diversity strategies and environments, as well as move the needle on DEI within the Life Sciences industry. For those new to DEI initiatives, Caitlin emphasizes that you don't have to understand to accept. This is a powerful mantra to address implicit biases.


Tips for Women in Life Sciences 

Caitlin reveals she reads major publications and listens to podcasts to stay informed on trending Life Sciences subject matter. Specifically, the Breaking Bio Podcast, where biologists talk about everything related to science and biology related in a weekly roundtable format. Staying informed is one of the greatest ways to educate yourself as a recruiter; admitting she also learns a lot from her candidates and clients by simply listening. 

She also reflected on the best qualities to possess as a Life Science recruiter. These include being inquisitive, curious, persistent, and organized. She recognized that men have historically been given certain adjectives that have allowed them to be more 'bold' or 'assertive' than their female counterparts, but overcoming these obstacles is achievable!


Where is the Life Sciences industry in terms of Gender Diversity?

Caitlin states that, like most industries, the Life Science industry is still figuring out how to promote diversity effectively. Much of the general uncertainty is rooted in how we view diversity. Diversity encapsulates not only gender and ethnic variety but things like access to education and how that influences perspective. She goes on to emphasize the importance of prioritizing inclusive settings by accommodating a lab so that someone in a wheelchair can operate without hindrance or limiting exposure to flashing lights for someone with a neurological disability like epilepsy.

The momentum suggests that leaders in Life Science are making a concerted effort to incorporate DEI initiatives into their strategy as they slowly get up-to-speed on the full spectrum of diversity. Companies that make a concerted effort to implement these initiatives will experience the benefits financially and institutionally.


What are some Misconceptions about the Life Sciences field?

Often candidates new to Life Sciences are under the impression that they must possess a Ph.D. or be at the top of their class. Caitlin suggests that is not the case. Conversely, some areas within Life Science only require a bachelor's degree and sometimes just an associate's. 

Caitlin reassures her candidates that different perspective matters, and that they should not be discouraged by differences but rather celebrate and leverage them to their advantage.


Listen to the full podcast episode

Learn more about how women are making massive strides in the Life sciences field by listening to the full podcast episode. Keep an eye out for upcoming Women at Work podcasts where we interview women making a major impact tech, healthcare, and engineering.

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