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Megan Eastwood

#iAmBiomed because I want to help make the world a better place.
Megan's Biography

Megan has approximately 20 years management experience in the GMP manufacturing environment (pharmaceutical, food, medical devices, drug development). Her career began as a junior laboratory technician and moved up the quality department through increasingly senior roles until she progressed into managing an operations department approximately 10 years ago. In her spare time she is a Scout leader and does charity work through Soroptimists, a worldwide organization aimed at women helping women and girls.

She is currently the Director of Operations for Response Biomedical. Response develops and manufactures equipment and test kits to enable the medical industry to quickly, specifically and cheaply diagnose a variety of medical conditions (ie heart failure, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), sepsis, etc). As Director of Operations she oversees departments such as production (equipment & test kits), purchasing, supply chain, warehouse, facilities and maintenance.

I love to organize! I also enjoy finding more efficient ways to do things; two traits that are critical to running an efficient manufacturing department, so I am in my element in this role. One of my core values is giving back, and working in an industry that helps to save people’s lives really aligns with who I am and what I want to do.

My qualifications are in biology and chemistry, this has helped me in several ways. 1. The head of the manufacturing department, in pharmaceutical/medical device arena, is required to hold a science degree, so without it I couldn’t even be considered for the position. 2. The medical industry is a mix of biology and chemistry, this enables me to be able look at the industry & processes from the two disciplines, which really helps. 3. A science degree still holds a lot of respect within many industries, this opens doors to people who hold these degrees even outside what would be considered a typical science career.

A career in science is far more than just working in universities and research. There are endless possibilities for varied and well paid careers that involve science. If you think about it; chemistry is everywhere! Just about any manufacturing that isn’t assembling/engineering involves chemistry at some level.

A few years ago I was working in the drug development department of a company that was developing a drug to help cancer patients mobilize white blood cells after chemotherapy treatment. Our drug was still in the clinical trial stage and wasn’t available on the market at that time. However we would regularly receive letters from patients whose lives had been saved by the drug when they used it in our clinical trials. It doesn’t matter how bad your day at work has been, reading letters like that brings home that what you are doing is making a difference in the world. I am happy to say the drug is now on the market and is indeed saving even more lives.

The only subject I was interested in at school was Biology, so I decided I want to work in a related field. To be honest I hadn’t actually considered what career I wanted, I just knew I was interested in science. My first job was in manufacturing and I found early on that this industry has many stepping stones to enable people to climb the career ladder in a variety of directions. Sometimes can people can pigeon hole themselves into a very specialized career which I feel can limit your options. Manufacturing provides many different options so you are not tied to one area, discipline, career path, etc.

I work in a male dominated industry (chemistry and manufacturing), and, other than executive assistant or wait staff, I am often the only woman in the room at the senior level. I sincerely hope it takes less than 25 years for it to be considered normal to see women holding senior roles in these industries. I am however, happy to report that at my current company we have a female CEO and 50% of the senior management are women, so there is progress happening.

Through my charity work with Soroptimists of the Tri Cities I get the opportunity to speak to school and college aged girls about career paths, how to juggle family & career, how to not only survive but thrive in their chosen arena. I also lead a Scout group and mentor some young men as well as women. A female firefighter friend of mine often quotes “you can’t be what you can’t see”. I believe by showing these girls a path and showing young men a strong female leader, that I am helping to create a world where it is considered normal to see a female leader.

Don’t give up! Success isn’t always about being the best all the time, in many cases success comes to those who keep trying and never give up. When you get knocked down (which you will, nearly all strong females I know have been at some point), get back up, dust yourself off and keep going! You will get there.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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