Before coming to ZS, Toronto Principal Carolyn worked as an aerospace engineer designing the robotic control systems for the International Space Station program. Over time, she found the career trajectory in engineering was not as “out of this world” as she thought, so she decided to pursue her MBA at the University of Toronto. That’s where she found ZS. She joined for her consulting internship and worked on an oncology forecasting project, which was the first time ZS had done this type of work in Canada.
When she joined ZS full-time, she knew she wanted to focus on marketing work and that work has taken shape in many ways throughout her ZS career from playing a role in the Customer Journey & Experience practice area to leading a global pharma client’s tracking work out of Boston, to supporting the Qualitative Expertise Center (QEC) in its early years, to developing ZS’s latest point of view on Marketing Excellence.
“One of the amazing things about being in the Toronto office, is that you get exposure to everything on every client,” said Carolyn. “Over the years, I've had the opportunity to touch hundreds of clients across the full spectrum of marketing topics.”
Today, Carolyn still has a passion for the oncology space where she first started her ZS career. She is now the Marketing Lead for ZS’s Oncology Vertical, serves as a leader for a large pharmaceutical manufacturer doing global oncology work and even started a new expertise for a firm in Facilitation.
If you had to choose one hashtag or just a few words to describe your ZS career, what would you say?
#InspireThroughCreativity. Every time I've taken a creative leap or tried something new, it has almost always resulted in something pretty great. I think by nature people are risk-averse – we avoid trying new things and putting ourselves out there. But I’ve found that in doing so it has always paid off for me, and then some! I encourage others to push the boundaries of their creativity and to always ask, “How can I make this more exciting and engaging?”
What was the most game-changing piece of feedback you ever received?
It's two-fold. One is trust in the quality of your work, which goes along with the idea of taking risks and being creative. You can only do that if you trust in the quality of your own work. Recognize where your strengths are and everything that's great that you do and pull that thread through new areas of your work.
The second is figure out what you are uniquely great at, and then to do that. I remember during a breakout session at my Associate Principal training, I grabbed a pen and changed up the way we were doing the exercise. Afterwards a colleague came up to me in the hall and said, “You know, Carolyn – you're really good at facilitation.” Having someone recognize my unique strengths and encouraging me to pursue them changed the game for me. I took her advice and took the creative leap to establish the Facilitation Team for ZS.
What’s your life like outside ZS (think family, interests and hobbies), and how do you balance it with your career?
My husband Eric and I have a three-and-a-half-year-old named Rowan, so the two of them take up a good chunk of my time. And I love hobbies, especially those that combine being active with music. Recently, I’ve taken up aerial silks and I go to a ‘circus school’ for class every week. It is a great workout and it really forces me to use my brain in new ways to literally unravel things. It encourages me to take some risks, helps me build strength and flexibility and builds on my dance and music training. All in all, it’s a lot of fun!