An education in STEM can prepare you for many kinds of careers—just ask Marketing and Customer Insights Network Lead Rebecca Ewald!
Meet Rebecca Ewald, a Marketing and Customer Insights Network Lead for the Pathology Lab and Oncology at Roche. She has a PhD in biology. Before her current position, she also worked in Sales, Business Development, and as an International Business Leader. Let’s unpack what it means to work on the business side of science with some questions for Rebecca.
Science Connected: What do you do? Describe your job as if you were describing it to your non-scientist grandparents.
Rebecca Ewald: In the simplest terms—I work in Marketing and, in general, on the business side of a large, global healthcare company.
SC: What was your path to this job and why did it interest you?
Ewald: After my PhD, I joined a management training program at Roche called Perspectives, which recruits people with business and non-business backgrounds. It was basically my MBA on the job and I had the opportunity to work in four 6-month rotations in different business roles around the world. Afterwards, I worked in Sales, Business Development, and as an International Business Leader before taking on my current role in Marketing. I like being on the business side of a healthcare company because I feel like my work has direct impact and contributes to improving the lives of people and patients worldwide.
SC: What is a challenge you’ve faced in reaching your current role, and how did you overcome it?
Ewald: It is very easy for people to identify what you are not and put you in a box. Since I come from a non-traditional background, I always had to find people who were willing to take a chance with me and take the “risk” of hiring someone who may not fit all of the criteria of a job description. In my different roles I was able to prove myself and build a great network of people that helped me along the way. I think my PhD experience really taught me resilience and how to be a problem-solver who just has to figure it out and make it work!
SC: How does your role impact science and/or the public? In other words, how are you changing the world?
Ewald: I had the most direct feeling of changing the world in my previous role as an International Business Leader, working with products aimed at cervical cancer prevention. Some of them have become global standards of care in screening and diagnostics. With the WHO calling for the elimination of cervical cancer by 2030, I really felt we were making a huge difference in helping countries and their women fight a cancer that is preventable. My current role as Marketing and Customer Insights Network Lead has a broader focus on enabling others to advance our entire tissue diagnostics portfolio, which is critical for cancer diagnosis. Everyone knows someone who has been afflicted by cancer, so it is easy to find meaning in your job—even when you’re just a small cog in the wheel!
SC: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Ewald: Working with smart people who I learn a lot from and feeling connected to a mission that we are making positive contributions to the health of people worldwide.
SC: What one piece of advice would you give you to someone (a middle/high school student interested in science) who may be interested in going into your field?
Ewald: Stay curious and follow your passion for science—having an open mind, technical understanding, and problem solving skills will open up opportunities that you can’t even imagine today. I would also advise to stay humble and become a good team player. At least in a company—it doesn’t matter how smart you are, if others don’t like working with you! With exceptions being the rule!
SC: Outside of work, what brings you joy?
Ewald: So many things! Family and friends, of course, come first. I also love the outdoors, traveling, and food. These are some of my favorite outlets for my curiosity and experimentation!
This interview with Rebecca Ewald is part of the Get to Know a Scientist series from Science Connected.