There’s much to be said about someone sticking with a company for over 20 years; it’s something that has become more of a rarity these days. Which is why we recently sat down with BLI Alumni, Author, and Director of Training, Oncology ADC Franchise at AstraZeneca, Allison Lavender, to hear her story, about career journey with the company, and how her Brand Leadership Institute Experience set her up for long-term success.
When I first kicked my BLI journey, it was spring of 2020. Think back to that time… most of us were at home. I had two young daughters who I was juggling homeschooling with. One of the main questions that I found myself focusing on during that time was, ‘How can I balance being the best in both of these worlds; as a mom, and as a professional?’
I found myself questioning myself, and even worrying that I was lacking in certain areas while trying to balance it all. Ultimately, it was the principles that the BLI taught that helped to recenter me, and guide me through using my MVP.
The MVP is an exercise that all BLI Participants take on, that challenges them to clearly define their Mission, Vision, and Purpose.
One thing that I truly enjoyed about The BLI is that, as a marketer, I found that it brings in some of the core marketing principles. Pulling in the personal aspects of branding myself, and using defining principles to apply to my own career and life journey was truly the beauty of the program. I feel that this has also helped to position myself now as an alumni.
It helps to answer that “reason to believe” question, and that really sat well with me as I worked through the program.
Allison was part of the Inaugural AstraZeneca Cohort, which was customized specifically for women of color.
That aspect of the cohort made the experience so much more personal, and different than other leadership programs that I’ve been through. It opened the opportunity not just to build on my leadership values, but as a women of color cohort, set us up to candidly share, swap stories, and even discuss challenges and concerns that we saw across our industries.
As we worked through the program, we quickly realized that it wasn’t just about our own journeys, but coming alongside each other, and holding each other accountable. I still keep in touch with some of my cohort members to this day, as well as with my accountability partner.
When I look back on the time now, I realize how crucial it is for companies to promote programs like this for not only leadership growth, but for continued sustainability and retention. I continue to see women of color leaving AstraZeneca, and so the question remains; how can we continue investing in our female leaders, and ensure they are set-up for success? The Brand Leadership Institute is certainly one of the answers to that question.
How do I flourish across all aspects of life? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves often…
My biggest takeaway from The BLI was how I can successfully balance and understand what my purpose is, and weave that into my own personal brand. Crafting a unique brand for myself was a huge takeaway from the program. As so many of us still find ourselves in this hybrid state of work, the question remains… how can I maintain that brand, my presence, and my exposure, when I’m still not necessarily seeing my colleagues as frequently as I used to, on a face to face basis?
As for what’s next, I want to be the best at what I’m doing right now, today, at this moment. I don’t plan to take on a new role unless it fully aligns with my passion and purpose. I’m content, I’m happy and I’m taking it day by day, knowing that whatever is next will be best for both my professional and personal life, align with my MVP, and fit into my career journey.
I’m now fully confident that I can have the best of both worlds, and that whatever is next will challenge and educate me, while fitting into all aspects of my life.
Allison Lavender brings over 20 years of pharmaceutical experience with AstraZeneca; strongly contributing across a variety of functions that have led to increasing responsibilities and scope throughout her tenure with the organization. Allison joined AstraZeneca in 2002 as a PSS in Louisiana where she was recognized by Sales Leadership as a “Rising Star”. Since then, Allison has held various roles across sales, sales training, operations, marketing and previously as a Regional Account Director in market access. That role allowed her to confidently position the AZ portfolio as a leader in patient-centric medicines across key systems and players in the MD/DC area.
Allison received several awards while in the BioPharma and Oncology Business Units in marketing, including receiving an AZ Commercial Excellence Award for innovative marketing promotion, Return to Growth CEO award for LYNPARZA and two President’s Model of Excellence Awards. Allison has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication with dual concentration in Business Administration.