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Want to know a secret? If you want to be a leader, it’s up to you!

Denise Boyer
Denise Boyer, E-Training and Learning Development Specialist, Novartis

Leaders aren’t born

Becoming a leader is not an overnight accomplishment; some believe that it is inherited through their family genes, some think it is appointed to certain people in the company who may or may not be deserving of it, all the while wondering why they are not being seen as a leader themselves…The fact is, leaders become leaders by investing in their own development, practicing what they learn and preach, and encouraging those around them to invest in themselves as well.

In 2001, when I was working as an Administrative Assistant in a large pharma company, I was happy with my job, yet I always had this feeling that I could do more, be more and have a greater impact. I was known as the local “techie” of the admins, knowing how to fix just about any admin issue, getting a little charge whenever someone told me that “it couldn’t be done”… and I’d end up getting it done myself! I was happy and I had a great supportive boss, who knew that I was capable of doing more.  One day he announced that the company was going to be hiring a field force and they needed someone to train the new reps on the software applications… did I know anyone? I knew this was my chance, and before I could talk myself out of it, I told him that I could do it and that I’d be great at it. His response made my day… “I was hoping you’d say that, I know you can”.  And that is how my journey into Leadership Development started, it started with me investing some time and training into myself! I had to learn to become a trainer and facilitator, how to read a room and become an effective instructional designer within weeks… and I did it!

Go for it! Get it done!

After that successful training, I felt AMAZING! This is what I wanted to do, to have a direct impact on others!  I decided to volunteer for another initiative, this time it was a global one which involved launching a virtual training center to offer live online training for our sales reps across Canada. It was a longer commitment with bigger responsibilities, but I decided that I was worthy enough to lead this project and I chose to invest in myself and believe in myself once again. It was up to me to show that technology could save us thousands of dollars, and I was so successful in showcasing our triumphs at a global level that my project became a best practice for other countries! I was thrilled, excited and wanting more… developing others was what I was meant to do, it was clear to me now that I needed to be in the Training department but there was one little issue…. there was no available position for what I wanted to do. So I got one created for me. That’s right. I decided that it was up to me and I got it done.

Becoming a pioneer in e-Training

It was not easy, there were a lot of “proofs” needed to show that my work could have an impact on others, but with the support of my manager it actually happened – a role as an e-Trainer was created for me, which at the time was one of the first ones ever in Canada.

I was THRILLED!  I WAS MAKING AN IMPACT!!  And I was thankful to those who had supported me in this transition, grateful for their encouragement, knowing that without their guidance I might not be where I was today…. and then it hit me again… the need to have a bigger impact and this time, I wanted to be the one guiding!  I’d heard of a development program for sales reps in the U.S. and I worked with our HR team to launch it here in Canada. I became the lead in overseeing the curriculum portion of the program, conducting annual needs analysis with our reps to see what trainings needed to be offered, ensuring that we were delivering the best solutions to the needs. Through this program, I received a President’s Award and it was highlighted as a Global Best Practice!

Being the leader I choose to be – every day

I was loving it and am still loving it to this day, 10 years later. I know that my work has had a positive impact on many sales reps, I take pride in being a key go-to person for training needs and yet, I still have that feeling of being able to do more… so now, I am moving more into a co-active form of leadership development, where I always ask my reps what it is THEY think should be their next leadership development move, encouraging them to come up with their own solutions, reminding them that it’s up to them to become leaders and supporting them along their individual journeys. This is the impact that I am most proud of, knowing that my support is helping them become the leaders they want to be, in the way they choose to be. Just like I was supported. I’ve come full circle now, becoming the support branch for them, and nothing gives me more joy than to see them all succeed!

About Denise Boyer

Denise Boyer
E-Training and Learning Development Specialist

Denise has been in the pharmaceutical industry for 22 years, having spent the last 17 years in Sales Training. She is passionate about training; from seeing firsthand the improvement in skills sets to knowing that she’s made an impact in someone’s leadership development, it makes going to work every day a pleasure and not a chore.

Denise has travelled as far as Africa (Kenya) to help others in their Leadership Development, and one thing always remains true when it comes to training…“It’s up to you!”.

Learn more about Denise Boyer

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