“I always welcome constructive feedback and where there are have been gaps in my skills, I look at how I can address them through mentoring, courses, study but keep a positive mindset on my strengths to keep motivated for the next opportunity”
Lisa Devereaux is a Business Development Manager at Luina Bio Pty Ltd and here she shares her career journey.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science – Life Science (Hons) from QUT, my first scientist role was with a start-up biotechnology company. I was their first employee! This role gave me the inspiration and desire to learn how scientists commercialise their research from universities into companies for the benefit of human or veterinary healthcare.
From this pivot, the next decade of work and study commenced. I completed a Masters of Technology and Innovation Management from The University of Queensland and did night-shift part time work as a scientist in immunology for a pathology company learning more about quality control and diagnostic testing. While working nightshift, I started a role working in education managing commercialisation skills development training for PhD students.
Ten years ago, I commenced a career in the CSIRO across a number of business development roles across many areas of technical and science research from mining, to coal and energy, to data and back into synthetic biology an area of science where I started my career almost twenty years prior. I have also worked in the bio pharmaceutical manufacturing industry as well in marketing and business development, also engaging with biotechnology companies partnering with us to scale-up and manufacture their drug development for pre-clinical and clinical trials.
One fun casual role I took up was a drone instructor for school age children inspiring young girls to engage in careers in STEM via flying drones and coding. I am also a mum to 9 year old twin daughters and on the Board of Girl Guides Queensland.
What was the key thing that helped you get to where you are today?
Probably a combination of things. Learning to network by attending industry events and continuous professional development through short courses or further post graduate qualifications in parallel to applying for bigger projects to be recognised through work experience has been a consistent formula to progression.
If you have had a career disruption, how did you manage to stay productive during this time – what helped you the most?
When I was 12 weeks pregnant with twins, I applied and was appointed a Business Development Manager role within the CSIRO. I was very grateful to be working in an environment which was very supportive, and had flexible working arrangements for creating a balance between my career and family. During the maternity leave, I touched base by attending Women in Technology industry events, met with my mentors and when I returned to work part-time I was very fortunate to have a day care centre within walking distance of my office.
How do you cope with loss or rejection in your career (e.g. rejected papers, non-funded grants, loss of personnel, loss of employment)?
Loss and rejection are all signs for opportunity and growth. You won’t always get that job you applied for or were interviewed for, sometimes redundancies happen and grants are rejected. I always welcome constructive feedback and where there are have been gaps in my skills, I look at how I can address them through mentoring, courses, study but keep a positive mindset on my strengths to keep motivated for the next opportunity.
If you have done multiple types of roles (e.g. in industry, academia, education, business, government), what skills could be applied to all?
As I moved from the bench and laboratory and into business development, commercialisation and project management, I found I was able to apply those latter skills across the technical markets (i.e. from biotechnology, to mining, to data and back to Synthetic biology) while working for industry, education, university and government. The core skills were always an understanding of intellectual property, contract management, relationship management and project management.
What are your favourite past-times or hobbies?
My current hobby is amateur beekeeping. I am an active committee member for the Gold Coast Amateur Beekeeping society where we provide education and support for members. I have 6 honey beehives on my property and an Australian native hive. I actively engage with local beekeepers, keep up to date on latest research to improve the beekeeping industry, attend conferences and recently was selected to Bee Ambassador for the Wheen Bee Foundation.
LinkedIn: Lisa Devereaux