Q&A with Lauren Lechner of the Commercial Excellence Leadership Program
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
We’re excited to share the first of a two-part Q&A series with the Commercial Excellence Leadership Program members. Lauren Lechner, a member the program, shares with us her experience and how she learns from her colleagues every day. We captured the essence of the program, Lauren’s excitement and passion for the program and how she is prospering.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself, and how you were led to the Commercial Excellence Leadership Program.
A: I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA. My passion for science is what led me to study biology in college. After graduating from Villanova University with my B.S. in Biology in 2008, I – as many other post-graduates – decided to move to New York City. There I started working for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center doing clinical trials research.
It was always a personal goal to get my Master’s degree. While in New York City, I attended Fordham University Graduate School of Business part-time in the evenings, on top of my job at the Cancer Center. After four years, I completed my MBA with a concentration in Management and a Designation in Global Sustainability.
After earning my MBA, I wanted to shift my career from research to business management. In April 2013, I moved to Raleigh, N.C. to start my journey with Bayer CropScience. I wanted to work for an innovative company in a customer focused, team-oriented environment. I was interested in Bayer because of its “Science For A Better Life” mission, and was driven to Bayer CropScience because of the Commercial Excellence Leadership Program. I felt this program was a perfect fit for me because of the opportunity to build a career in Marketing and Commercial Operations (sales) by working in rotational assignments. I like that I can learn my strengths and see where I am best fit before committing to a particular position. Additionally, I liked that the program included the opportunity for an international assignment.
Q: What are your general thoughts about your experience so far?
A: The experience has been nothing but positive for me. I can’t believe how much I have learned in only a year. I am very grateful to my colleagues who are always willing to answer questions and offer guidance.
Q: What rotations have you done so far? What have you liked about them? What has been your favorite?
My first rotation was working in the Horticulture group as a product manager on Oberon
. I built out a product strategy and delivered my recommendations to the Marketing Leadership Team. The second rotation is in the National Operations Team; my primary project was to standardize the business planning process across Crop Protection and Seeds. I led the development of a business planning tool. I will be finishing up this assignment in the coming weeks and look forward to starting my next rotation.
I really enjoy getting to work with the different groups. It is a unique opportunity we have to learn and develop skills by working on various projects. I like receiving a new project and being given the responsibility to lead it.
Q: What opportunities do you foresee coming from this program?
A: The knowledge gained through the rotations are applicable to several positions in marketing and commercial ops. My goal is to continue to sharpen my skill set and develop a deeper understanding of the industry so I can add as much value as possible to whatever role I am in.
Q: What do you like about Bayer CropScience as a company?
A: The people and work culture- I love the collaborative, supportive, team-oriented environment. I like being a part of a team that is customer-focused, goal-oriented and competitive.
Q: What would you recommend to future program participants?
A: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn something new. Continually push yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
Q: What has been the most impactful lesson that you’ve learned thus far from the program?
A: When you work with a great team you don’t need to have strengths in everything. Utilize your colleagues’ experience and knowledge, and take the opportunity to learn from them.