Meet Tiffany Coleman—Featured Young Professional Member
Tiffany Lynann Coleman
Kansas City, MO, USA
Q: What college(s) did you attend?
Devry, University of Missouri Kansas City
Q: What was your major in college? Why did you choose it?
Chemistry. I did not choose it, it chose me. I was doing molecular biology when I came across organic chemistry and loved it so much I had to switch.
Q: What is your present position? What do you do at your job?
I’m a Validation Specialist/Project Manager. At my job I help pharmaceutical companies plan and execute their validation strategies from new facilities to repurposed equipment.
Q: What has your career path been like so far?
I started as a student worker doing undergraduate research – where I learned the power of knowing where to find the answer instead of just knowing the answer. Then I went to my first “industry” job where I realized that what I had learned in most of my classes was not going to help me, except perhaps English Composition and Computer Science. I was still a student at that first industry job and that allowed me to pick some different classes moving forward. And I joined ISPE. ISPE became a place for me to find the answers to the questions that came up on every project from packaging and labeling to learning how to remediate regulatory observations. After years of managing projects, solving problems, and doing investigations I moved into a Quality role. From there to where I am today was a personal career choice – did I want to be in quality at the batch level or did I want to be a full time problem solver?
Q: What are your ultimate career goals?
I would like to stay on my current path and continue expanding my ability to solve problems that seem to plague our industry. If I could do anything else, I would take the knowledge I have about our industry and apply it to building sustainable infrastructure around the globe.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
Solving puzzles. Finding the answer to questions where first you have to flesh out the question before you can even attempt to answer it. Questions that require you to stretch your brain.
Q: When did you join ISPE/how long have you been a member?
I joined at a student in 2008. I’ve been a member since then.
Q: What benefits have you realized from being a Young Professional Member of ISPE?
It started out as just a whole bunch of knowledge available on CoP forums. Then it was the first couple of hand-me-down baseline guides that I got from an older member. That transformed into going to a training event in Washington DC, where I learned just how much more knowledge was available and out there. I also met one of my ISPE mentors (Stephanie Wilkens) who continues to provide knowledge and career development advice to this day.
Q: What involvement have you had within ISPE?
I started out as a student chapter member. Then I moved on to being part of the Investigational Product CoP. Then I had the opportunity to join the Young Professional Committee, and I’m still a member today. Just this year I was nominated by the Midwest Chapter to be on the Board of Directors for our chapter. I continue to be involved and try to champion student and young professional causes here in the Midwest. I want other people to get the same experience I did.
Q: Any role models/mentors that have helped and are currently helping you in your career/life?
As noted above Stephanie Wilkins – who I met in 2008 and who continues to inspire me to reach further for my career. She always answers my questions and dusts me off when I fall on my face. I had another ISPE mentor, Lois Johnson, who spent hours talking to me about regulations and how they apply to our industry, may she rest in peace.
Tracey Ryan has provided a grounding touchstone for me since my very first interaction with ISPE in 2008. She continues to be a motivating force in my life, enhancing my commitment to the society while providing constructive feedback to my communication and management styles. Her patience and persistence are values that I strive to uphold in my daily life and I look forward to each of my conversations with her.
Beyond that I still consider that Dan Elman, my first industry manager, changed my life forever by instilling within me a true definition of work/life balance. And Synda Crawford, who helped polish off my rough edges and continues to be a litmus test when I’m unsure about a quality decision.
Q: Any Young Professionals you admire? Why?
Of course Jen [Jennifer Lauria Clark, CPIP], I mean – she flies around the globe solving problems and championing the cause of the next generation. Beyond that, Patrick Barry – who is his own champion chomping through an entry level position at a pharmaceutical company to propel himself into medical school and now a successful doctor in Miami of all places!
Q: If you were not in the pharma/biotech industry, what career path would you have taken?
I’d probably work at an NGO doing water purification and sustainable agriculture around the world.
Q: What is one skill you wish you had but you don’t?
I wish I had structural engineering knowledge – problems related to that come up in my professional and personal life.
Q: Any hobbies?
Video games, table top gaming, growing and cooking food, reading books.
Q: Favorite food?
Pasta and veggies with tangy sauce.
Q: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Surprised to learn about me? Maybe that I was a journalist and editor for my university paper for almost five years. Including being both a sports writer, photographer, and editor.
Q: Any advice for other young professionals in the field?
Do not be afraid to answer questions. You learn just as much by answering as by asking. Your thoughts are just as valid and valuable.
Q: Finish the sentence “I can’t live without…”
My totally awesome and supportive fiancé. Who’s there for me through all the challenges and stress that comes with the type of work I do. And who helps make every day worth living and giving my all.