From Books to Beakers: The Career Journeys of Catherine Mack and Lashmi Babu
Discover Your Journey Here
Have you ever dreamt of a job where you can continuously learn and push your intellectual boundaries? Maybe a global role where you can work with people all over the world? At Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, each career path is as unique as the individual in it, and within our Research & Development (R&D) department, there are countless professional avenues to take. Today, we’re spotlighting two inspiring leaders and their unique career journeys.
Growth through Continuous Learning
Catherine Mack has grown as a scientist and found her place within Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health by switching up her roles and by continuing her education with the support of her manager and mentor.
Catherine studied chemical and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University where she took full advantage of internship opportunities to explore potential career paths like manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. It wasn’t long before Catherine realized she had a passion for having a positive impact on people’s lives but wanted a role where she could make that impact in a fast-paced environment.
After graduating, she found that role within the R&D division at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and began her career working with the baby care platform team to develop early-stage research—like her projects of exploring the effects of sun exposure on infant skin or working to understand the interaction of products with the skin barrier. She then moved to adult skincare where she designed new methodologies for skin assessments across skincare brands, focusing on moisturization and the skin barrier.
Catherine enjoyed the fast-paced energy environment of working in consumer health but wanted to push herself to develop new skills that would help her continue making a positive impact. “I decided I wanted to strengthen my scientific background and expertise,” says Catherine, “and so, with the support and encouragement of my manager and mentor, I decided to pursue my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University. It says a lot about a company when they make it possible for you to continue your education while working full-time.”
After completing her degree, she felt it was time for a change and moved into the claims area. “I found it very interesting as it is more downstream. But the data and understanding the science is no less important when we’re trying to find what claim is most relevant for the consumer and then make sure we have the data to back it up.”
What does she love about her job? “Every day is different,” says Catherine. “One day I might be going very deep into the science—reviewing clinical data or designing a clinical study—and the next I’m working with marketing to understand the consumer better to identify new ways to translate our science to a product that is suitable for them.”
The Universal Language of Science
For those interested in pursuing a global career, the principles of science are universal, and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health has scientists around the world pursuing continuous innovation. Lashmi Piriya Ananda Babu started her journey into consumer health by earning her Bachelor of Technology degree in Industrial Biotechnology from Anna University in Chennai, India; and then her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan before finding her current role within R&D in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Lashmi recounts, “I applied for the R&D Leadership Development Program at Johnson & Johnson because the program gives you the opportunity to learn about different departments in a short period of time, which helps you to connect the dots between different parts of the organization and learn how they all come together to develop and deliver a product to the consumer,” says Lashmi.
“It was a shift because when pursuing a Ph.D., you’re diving deep into a specific area but, in R&D Leadership Development Program, you touch many areas quickly, so you have to have learning agility. I spent time speaking with consumers using our products and it really widened my perspective in understanding their needs and pain points. You see how the product is helping but also how you can solve their problems further.”
After completing the Leadership Development Program, she’s now a Senior Scientist within the Product Design Department supporting Cough & Cold, Pain, and Smoking Cessation need states.
“I wanted a role that would keep me close to science and consumers,” says Lashmi. “While my background is in neuroscience, I use the same scientific principles I learned in my studies every day to complete my projects. My role is to ensure activities are up and running to meet established timelines, which requires a lot of collaboration and problem-solving with colleagues. What I love about my job is that I’m constantly learning.”
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