STEMM PROFILE: Valerie Tan | Technical Sales Coordinator | Mérieux NutriSciences | Melbourne | VIC
“… sometimes when things don’t work out … it doesn’t mean that you won’t succeed again. My advice? Don’t be afraid of trying again, it’s never a loss”
Valerie graduated in 2011 from RMIT University with a Bachelor of Science (Applied Chemistry) and began her career at Ensign Laboratories as a Quality Control Chemist. After gaining some experience, she took on a regulatory role at Henkel (Product Safety Chemist) where she authored Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s) and Labels.
Valerie continued her journey in regulatory affairs and compliance as a Technical Specialist for Chemwatch, ensuring that SDS’s were compliant with global standards. She enjoyed providing customers with regulatory and technical support. Leveraging her customer support skills and prior retail experience during university, she transitioned to a customer sales role at Mérieux NutriSciences.
Valerie enjoys her role as a Technical Sales Coordinator, where she services clients nationally. As first point of contact for customers (existing and new), she prepares quotations, manages client accounts and supports the development of new business processes. Valerie is passionate about ensuring clients are provided with the best solutions through Mérieux NutriSciences’ product and service offerings.
What is it about you that got you where you are today?
I have always been proactive in seeking opportunities, even it if meant taking a risk in a new environment. Being out of my comfort zone made me learn and grow professionally.
What is one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in science?
My brother once said to me, “Think of yourself as a scientist, not just a chemist.” My thinking and outlook changed, and I began expanding my job search to all areas of science.
What are you most proud of in your science career?
In my first two months at my first job, I detected a faulty batch of finished goods. As I was very junior, my team members didn’t believe me. I stood my ground and insisted that my intuition was right we ended up preventing 460,000 units (43 pellets) of product being sent to the client! As a result, we protected the company’s reputation, and saved a lot of paperwork and hassle.
If you have transition careers, what was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
Coming from a chemical background with no corporate sales experience made it difficult to join a sales team. By marrying my retail experience and technical background, I was able to provide myself a better chance at being employed in sales.
Do you have a mentor? What is the most important advice they have given you?
I have several industry mentors in different lines of work that have come and gone. My regulatory mentor told me that sometimes when things don’t work out in one field of work or company, it doesn’t mean that you won’t succeed again. My advice? Don’t be afraid of trying again, it’s never a loss.