Joshua Jacobs, Director of Operations and Partner Integration
From the vantage point of a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, Leslie Prince Rudolph, LGO '99, says everything in the LGO toolkit—technical, leadership, financial and people skills—has been essential as she moved through different phases of her career and sought to learn as much as she could each step of the way.
"I've realized how fortunate LGOs are to gain the perspective to use our skills to manage effectively while constantly keeping focused on our company's long-term vision," said Leslie, who is now Director of Quality Assurance for Sandoz, a division of LGO partner Novartis.
During Leslie's undergraduate career in mechanical engineering at the University of Cincinnati, a co-op at Dow Chemical sparked her interest in the pharmaceutical industry, and after graduating she joined Eli Lilly. She started as a project engineer, then moved to a team leader position , but always had wanted to return for graduate school. When her plant manager Mark Capone, LGO '91, and other colleagues told her about LGO (then called Leaders for Manufacturing), she was sold.
"I fell in love with the program, which was perfect for what I was looking for. I've never been unhappy for a second about choosing LGO, and my husband and I still count some of our best friends from our time at MIT," Leslie said.
Returning to Eli Lilly after LGO, Leslie leveraged her engineering and MBA background to move through several significant leadership challenges with multiple functions and hundreds of people reporting to her as Engineering Services Leader and later as Manager for Dry Product Packaging. Her assignments took her to Puerto Rico and then back to Indiana, where her focus turned to Lilly's global manufacturing strategy.
It was at this point, Leslie said, that she and her husband decided to pursue their next big challenge. Leslie took on a senior supply chain manager role at the Sandoz facility near Boulder, Colo., where her husband started a Ph.D. program. She became Director for Quality Assurance in early 2011.
When asked what it means to be a director at a Fortune 500 company like Novartis, Leslie spoke both of professional and personal responsibilities. "As director of quality, it's my responsibility to ensure the quality of our product going to patients. I wouldn't want to do this without all the experiences and knowledge I've gained through the years of my career and at LGO," she said.
However, taking on such a serious career commitment has to fit within your life plan, she added. For Leslie and her husband, being engaged with their son's school and their community is a priority, and she noted that her husband's post-doctoral career allows him the flexibility to get involved as a volunteer and thus provide overall balance to their family's work and life commitments.
As Leslie looks ahead to continued leadership challenges, she reflected that her most important lesson at MIT was to realize how critical it is to always push against the limits of your knowledge and perspective.
"I learned an amazing amount at MIT, but more importantly, my eyes were opened to global perspectives on work and life that I had never known before," she said. Asked to advise current LGO students on how to take advantage of their time at MIT, she urged them to "realize how much there will always be to learn. Keep looking for your next challenge and the next opportunity to apply the framework for learning you get at LGO."