Making the Transition to Leader/Manager, December 2019

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Participants of this program will gain the key essential skills to effectively lead and manage in the life sciences. Tailored to the specific needs of biotech, pharma and medical device organizations, this workshop provides attendees with know-how to avoid the most common mistakes made by managers, the capability to apply appropriate leadership styles in varied situations, and strategies for conveying difficult information about performance – honestly and proactively. The format of this course is highly interactive with a focus on practical techniques and applications in current roles.

In the life sciences, individual contributors are often promoted because of their knowledge and expertise, but their success as leaders depends directly on their ability to get things done through others. Becoming an effective manager can be challenging because it requires a new set of perspectives, skills, and responsibilities. This session will provide participants with the key tools they need to be more confident and productive in their organizations.

Course Topics Include:

  1. Key Expectations of Leader/Managers vs. Individual Contributors
  2. Developing Your Management Style
  3. Improving Essential Leadership Communication Skills
  4. Delegating Effectively (Without Micromanaging)
  5. Leading Productive Meetings
  6. Interviewing & Hiring Basics
  7. Setting Clear Goals, Roles & Expectations
  8. Motivating and Coaching Your Reports
  9. Providing Effective Performance Feedback
  10. How To Continue Improving Leadership Skills

Program Format:

This intense one-day workshop is highly interactive, and involves small-group discussions of case studies using examples that are relevant to the life sciences. In addition, there are facilitated group discussions, writing assignments, practical exercises, short role-playing exercises, and opportunities to gain perspective from and share best practices with course instructors and other participants. Attendees are given theoretical background and overview of topics, as well as practical tools that can be implemented in the work place. Participants gain experience by practicing using new skills where appropriate.  Attendees will receive hard-copy and electronic information, practical tools, tips and techniques to improve their ability to be effective and confident in their roles.

Target Audience:

  • New managers and leaders within the first few years of their responsibilities
  • Technical experts who have responsibilities both as individual contributors, and as supervisors
  • Individual contributors preparing for leadership roles in the future
  • Team leads, project managers, and directors who want to improve their skills
  • More experienced leaders without formal training, who want to expand their fundamental understanding of leadership and management, or fill in potential skill gaps

Instructor: Gwen Acton, PhD

Gwen is an expert on strategic leadership at the intersection of science and business. She is CEO of Vivo Group (, a firm that improves the influential leadership skills of technical experts so they can be more productive and innovative in industry. Dr. Acton has a doctorate in biology from M.I.T., and served as a faculty member at Harvard University in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Dr. Acton also served as Director of Scientific Development at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where she ran the operations of the Functional Genomics Program, a $40 million, 50-person academic-industry collaborative research program. She is the author of the book "The Bluffer’s Guide to Genetics," a humorous guide to DNA published by Oval Books, as well as the eBook “Integrating Technical Expertise & Business” ( She is former Board Chair of The Bioscience Network, and former president of Women Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (WEST). Dr. Acton is a popular speaker, workshop presenter, and facilitator.

Looking for Ways to Maximize your Training Dollars?

To see if you are eligible for 50% reimbursement on your program fee through the State Workforce Training Express Fund, apply hereThe course ID for Making Transition to Leader/Manager is 1111976If you are applying through the Express Fund, your application must be filled out and submitted 6 weeks ahead of your intended start date of training. 

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  • $795 for MassBio Member
  • $945 for MassBio Non-Member
  • $700 for Non-Profit
  • $0 for MassBioEd Administrative Use Only


Thursday, December 5, 2019
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Corporate Professional Development


CIC Offices
245 Main St. 2nd Fl.

Level of Knowledge

Beginner to intermediate in supervisory role