Leann Sweeney - Business Unit Director

Leann Sweeney

Director, Sales & Marketing Effectiveness; Amgen Canada

I was born/grew up in: Burlington, Ontario

I now live in: Etobicoke with my husband and two boys

I completed my training/education at: L’Universite de Quebec a Trois Rivieres (studied French for 1 semester); University of Western Ontario (Bachelor of Science Degree); McMaster University (Masters’ Studies).

While working I was able to brush up on my business skills through the generosity of various employers who allowed me to complete certificates at York University, Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of Business.

Describe what you do at work.

First thing I do is check our sales numbers & the news wire. I want to know how our business is doing relative to what was forecasted for the year at Amgen Canada. I want to know what other companies are doing in the biotechnology space. This allows me to direct my organization to focus its energy on the right things with the most up to date perspective. I spend a lot of my day interacting with my staff. It is very important to have an engaged and energized staff. It is my responsibility to ensure they are growing in their role, meeting expectations and aligned on priorities. I also meet several times per week with members of our cross-functional executive team. This helps me to understand across all the disciplines what is happening with our key customers/accounts and how our pipeline is moving along. I also check in about once per week with my global colleagues who are in a similar position as I to discuss their business, our shared goals and attempt to learn and share best practices.

Every day I use my STEM education! Not only do I need to understand the science of Amgen’s products but I need to understand and interpret the emerging landscape for key therapeutic areas. This understanding allows me to plan the right strategy and establish the right forecast models and performance goals. The concepts I learned through hands on lab work of hypothesis generation, observation, drawing conclusions and translating them into meaningful insights is central to what I do every hour of every day at work.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

In some way, every day I work to ensure patients who need Amgen’s medicines receive them on time. The passion that drives me is to know that I did something through my pursuit of science as a career that helped people suffering with terrible illness live a quality life long enough to achieve their meaningful milestones.

What motivates you in your career?

There is nothing I do not love about my career. First, there are endless options about what direction I can take my career. Science is forever changing and evolving and I can tap into most if not all of these opportunities because of my science education. Second, I know when my career is done I will have done something for the greater good of humanity. While I have been relatively blessed with limited serious illness in my family, others have not. It is my responsibility to use the talents and education I have to help others. Finally, for my children so I can demonstrate to them what a meaningful career looks like and how following your passion is key to unlocking your potential.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

Growing up I was always encouraged to take school seriously and do well. I am not certain I was specifically encouraged to pursue science. I remember my Dad did have some doubts about what a career in science could mean. This was especially true when I told him I did not want to be a doctor, pharmacist or nurse. Today however my parents are very proud of my accomplishments. I am very grateful to teachers who encouraged and demonstrated an interest in me pursuing science as well as making the subjects fun & interesting.

The biggest thing I had to learn was to keep an open mind to all the options that were in front of me. I always needed to be ready to try something new and have multiple paths ahead of me. This has allowed me to seize opportunities that others shy away from and grow my career.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I paddle on a Dragon Boat team. I only started this a few years ago because I have always been curious about it and found out I love it!

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Always listen to what others tell you and never get so set on a career direction that you cannot change course. Some of my greatest opportunities have come out of ideas that I would have never considered. I have a career now that I never knew existed when I was an adolescent/young adult. If you have the same passion as me, Science, stick with it – you will benefit and those around you will benefit as well!

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.



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Avatar  twenty4sev

I'm a junior at a small liberal arts university in Iowa. I'm a double major in business and biology with a minor in organizational leadership. I was wondering if there are any tips or specific ways that I can gear myself for entering either the business side of biology. Is there anyone I can talk to about potential internships for project management or something in your field?