The Mix Tape: Ep. 10 — Driving Employee Retention through Career Development

Retaining top talent and supporting the career development of your employees go hand in hand. As a manager, HR leader, or company head, making career development palpable for those around you can feel unreachable. K.C. McAllister discusses career development and feedback strategies with industry expert Amanda Lopez on today's episode. Amanda Lopez is the Executive Director for Talent Management & HRBP at Entrada Therapeutics, a growing biopharmaceutical company innovating to transform the treatment of devastating diseases through intracellular therapeutics.

Transcription

Valerie McCandlish:

Welcome to the Mix Tape. I’m Valerie.

Natalie Taylor:

And I’m Natalie. And welcome to the finale of season 3. I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for listening, for joining us this season. We hope you’ve enjoyed our incredible guests. And Valerie and I have had a great time hosting, so we really appreciate you listening and tuning in every week.

Valerie McCandlish:

I know. And if you’ve been with us since the beginning, a special thank you to you. If you’re just joining us for the first time, welcome. We hope that you stick around. Because it’s just been so much fun recording these. I’ve been here with my pal, getting to be here for all the intros and outros, and we’ve just had amazing guests, especially this season, so we look forward to more to come.

Natalie Taylor:

That’s right. And today we have an all star host, KC McAllister. She’s back on the mic again, and she is joined by Amanda Lopez.

Valerie McCandlish:

Amanda is the executive director of talent management and the HR business partner at Entrada, a company that we’ve been featuring a couple of times this season because they’re just a great client of ours, and we’ve really enjoyed working with them. But also, Amanda has been a long time friend of Mix Talent. I personally got to work with her a few years ago on a project, and it was just such a pleasure to work alongside her. She’s got so much knowledge, and I learned a ton in my short time of being able to work with her, and actually got to spend some time with her in Boston, which was really, really wonderful. So we’re really excited to have her as a guest today.

Natalie Taylor:

So with that, we’ll turn it over to KC and Amanda.

K.C. McAllister:

According to the US Department of Labor, currently unemployment in the US is down to just three and a half percent. Despite high inflation and other economic concerns, the war for talent is still going strong. And it’s not just about attracting great talent to your organization, but keeping the great talent you have. In fact, a survey from the Society for Human Resources Management reports, 47% of HR leaders ranked employee retention as their number one concern. So what should companies be doing about it? Well, a focus on career development is one proven strategy that drives retention. I recently read a report from Edusys that said, “60% of job seekers chose a job because of its offering strong professional development. And 53% say they would stay longer than expected with a company with career development opportunities.”

However, the reality is that for small and mid-size companies without significant development resources or learning and development budgets, they often have to lean on their people leaders who are already wearing multiple hats to lead career development efforts on their own teams. My guest today, Amanda Lopez, executive director of talent management and HRBP at Entrada Therapeutics, has turned her passion for career development into action. And at Entrada, she’s here today to share valuable insights and key learnings from her experience. Amanda, welcome to the Mix Tape.

Amanda Lopez:

Hey, KC, thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be here and talk about this topic.

K.C. McAllister:

So glad to have you. But before we get into talking about how others can develop their own careers, let’s talk a little bit about how you developed yours. So if you wouldn’t mind, could you share with the audience a bit about your career journey, how you went from Polisci in Berkeley to Boston and biotech?

Amanda Lopez:

Sure, I’d be happy to. So as KC was alluding to, I did my master’s in public policy at University of Maryland. So I was just outside of Washington DC, and thought I would have a career in federal government. I actually joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in their consulting department, and that was my first entree into industry. And I think consulting gave me such a great skill set in terms of problem solving and looking at things from a big picture. From there, I was recruited to the corporate executive board, now part of Gartner Research, where I did best practice research in sales. And then for personal reasons, I moved to Boston for love, and had to reinvent myself. And through my own network, I was able to find a role as an executive search consultant at a company with Fidelity Investments. And there I learned different industries, so financial services, high tech, and life sciences.

And I found that I really loved life sciences. I found myself on Wikipedia, learning about mechanisms of action, and just felt that it was a way that I could   to patients who were dealing with unmet medical needs, and I could help them by finding heads of companies, research sales CEOs and whatnot. And I was having a blast. And one of my clients, it was Biogen at the time, their head of talent acquisition said to me, “Hey, have you thought about doing this in-house?” And to be honest with you, I really hadn’t. I’d been a consultant for most of my career, and I took the opportunity to go in-house. And that was a whole other learning for me, in terms of how do you navigate internally with your stakeholders, how do you create a hiring plan? All of these different things. And really enjoyed it, it was very high growth at Biogen.

And then from there, I had my first child and had my own company for a while, and got exposed to smaller organizations. And so here I am now at Entrada. I started as the head of talent acquisition, and it’s still a hat I wear, but more recently moved into a talent management HRBP space. And for me, it’s like you said, my career hasn’t been linear, but I feel that all of the skills leading up to this has really helped prepare me to be a good strategic partner to the business and the individual employees.

K.C. McAllister:

Absolutely. Well, and congratulations.

Amanda Lopez:

Thank you.

K.C. McAllister:

On your recent promotion. It’s exciting.

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, I’m excited.

K.C. McAllister:

It’s exciting. So obviously at the top, I was sharing some stats around kind of the nature of the landscape currently, and the fact that employee retention is really on everyone’s mind, right? At least from an HR leadership standpoint. So in your career, especially coming up on the talent acquisition side of things, has that been the case? Have you seen career development be an important aspect of a retention strategy, of an attraction strategy? How-

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that we in the biotech space talk a lot about caring for our employees. And I think one way that you can show and take actionable steps is to help them. Give them tools, roadmap, whatever they need to really drive their own career. And I think that leads to a lot of engagement, employee engagement.

K.C. McAllister:

No, absolutely. That makes a lot of sense. So you had shared with me, and it was one of the reasons we wanted to talk today, that you and the team here at Entrada have been working to put a career development program in place, and doing some training around it. So what was the impetus for that here at Entrada?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, well, at Entrada we talk about the employee experience in three pillars. So we have belonging, contribution, and growth. And for belonging, we want people to bring their authentic selves, or we have different ERG groups in that pillar. Contribution, we’re really clear about corporate goals and how the team and individuals can work towards those corporate goals. And then the third bucket is growth. And we are a small organization. We’re working hard to progress our science. So people are really busy and managers are really busy, but they’re also people who are very ambitious or care about growing their career in different ways. So we talked about it as an HR team, and really wanted to create a set of tools that could be driven by the employee and used at the right time in the year so that they can have these meaningful conversations with their managers.

K.C. McAllister:

No, that makes sense. So you reference there, the importance of the individual having that accountability. Why is that, versus having it on the leadership or their individual manager?

Amanda Lopez:

I think that when you place that opportunity on the individual, there’s two things that happens. One, it’s about the intrinsic rewards, and that person, you can empower that person to drive his or her career at whatever speed, as long as the business needs more of that. And then at the same time, managers are also busy. And I think as a manager myself, I’ve been in situations where I’ve wanted maybe skill development more than the individual, and that’s a recipe for disappointment. So I think it’s an opportunity to really empower the individuals so that they can advocate for themselves.

K.C. McAllister:

So there’s two sides to that conversation. There’s the individual and then their manager, right?

Amanda Lopez:

Right.

K.C. McAllister:

So staying on the individual for a minute, Amanda, for somebody maybe newer in their career, or at least newer to this idea of really thinking about my own career development. What are some of the tips or ways that you guys help encourage individuals to be reflective so they can start to uncover perhaps what those career goals may be or what that path may look like?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, thanks for asking, because I do think it’s eye-opening for people particularly, maybe first in their family to be in a corporate job, or their first job out of school. And so we point them to a couple of different resources. So internally we have different career ladders that they could look at if they’re a research associate or a scientist, and become familiar with the different skills. We’ve also as a company, doubled down on having a feedback culture. So we’ve implemented a concept called My 321, which is an opportunity for the employee to call a conversation with their manager to talk about how they’re progressing towards the corporate goals, and to give feedback to the manager, and also receive feedback from the manager. And so we said, you can leverage some of those conversations that you have, and think about how you would build out an individual development plan, and also seeking input from other people in the organization.

The second thing that we’re also working, particularly with those earlier in their career, is to help set the expectation that, okay, we’re going to develop a tool, individual development plan. You might not be able to fill it all out by yourself, so come and be comfortable just brainstorming with your manager or talking to other trusted advisor, and know that it’s a living document and it can be iterated upon. So hopefully that helps them take the pressure off a little bit. So one of the research associates who was piloting this for me, she said to me, “Oh, I really want to learn more in the gene editing space, and I can think about different research publications that I can read, but I’m a little bit stuck.” And I said, “Thank you so much for bringing that. That’s a perfect example to take it to your team or your boss’s boss and have that conversation, and we can populate some activities for you.” So it really is meant to be a working document.

K.C. McAllister:

Absolutely. The idea of career development is a journey, not a destination, right?

Amanda Lopez:

Exactly.

K.C. McAllister:

So you don’t have to have it all figured out. That makes a lot of sense. So you referenced the feedback culture, which I love, and it’s amazing and empowering. But again, for those individuals perhaps that are not yet in leadership levels, have you found any hesitation around that or those seeking to understand how in the heck do I give feedback to my manager? Or how do I receive this in an impactful and positive way?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, we’ve had a series of meetings to talk about that because of course the feedback can sometimes be really uncomfortable, whether you don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings about something, or you’re maybe shy about if you’re doing it right or wrong. So we try to create an environment that’s very neutral, and we’ve done some different trainings by functional teams, so that we could talk about that. What’s uncomfortable about this, what are some best practices, what will work? We talk about a lot of brain friendly ways of receiving feedback.

K.C. McAllister:

Yes.

Amanda Lopez:

So one of my personal favorites is the micro-yes. And so before you start any feedback conversation, I would say, KC, is now a good time for me to give you feedback? If you say yes, then I would continue the process. If you said, oh, I really have a headache today, can we schedule another time? So really setting up the time and checking in with the person, as well as helping them prepare before they have that conversation. So I think too, what we’re trying to do here is helping them prepare before they go in to have a conversation with their manager. So we’re going to be doing a series of office hours where they can come and talk to us about it in a more casual way. And then that would be from the individual side, and we may get to this later. And then on the manager side, giving them a framework for having that conversation too.

K.C. McAllister:

Oh, that’s fantastic. Well, and I know actually on the Mix Tape here, last season, we had a guest, Dr. Brodie Riordan, who is a professional coach and consultant, and teaches a lot around feedback, and has actually written three separate books. He even dropped a new one. But one that we went through with our team last year, it’s called Feedback Fundamentals and Evidence-Based Best Practices. And it’s another tool, I’ll have to give you a copy of it. That just had some really interesting but easily digestible and actionable insights with this whole idea around making that safe space.

Amanda Lopez:

Correct.

K.C. McAllister:

Right. Because just the idea of feedback, it shouldn’t have a negative connotation. It’s not meant to have a negative connotation, and yet the average person has one, and or gets that nervous butterfly idea where you’re like, hey, can I give you some feedback? Instantly you think like, oh, I’m going to get fired or I’m going to get in trouble. It’s like, oh, it may have been, that was a really great way to express yourself in that meeting, or I’m so glad you contributed in that way. But we all kind of have that negative flinch, right?

Amanda Lopez:

I think we do. And also in the tool that we’re using in the first section, we really want people to open up and talk about what they’re good at, what their strengths are, and what lights them up and what they do. And so hopefully that focusing on somebody’s strength can-

K.C. McAllister:

Yes. And why do you think that’s so important to start out with that positive about what I’m interested in?

Amanda Lopez:

So the research shows, for people who follow Marcus Buckingham, that if people who can carve out 20% of their job and to do something that they really enjoy and lights them up, will lead to less burnout psychologically and physically. And this was shown in a study of nurses and doctors at the Mayo Clinic. And it showed that more than 20% didn’t really help, but having that 20% went a long way for resilience. So yes, I mean, at the small company, you’re juggling lots of hats. The expectation that a 100% of your day is going to be everything that you love. But if we can carve out that, you’d have that nice balance of 20%, I think is going to go a long way to keeping people motivated. And also I think a lot of HR leaders are concerned about burnout these days, so we’re really aiming for that too.

K.C. McAllister:

That makes sense. Well, and again, especially obviously the pandemic created its whole level of stressors, but to your point, in smaller, rapidly growing, rapidly changing organizations, but also with an employee population that are oftentimes scientists and researchers, and linear thinkers who don’t like a lot of gray. Gray, it’s kind of that perfect storm. So to find those places that do bring that fulfillment and create that positive environment, to your point, is not only good for avoiding burnout, but also creating a positive culture where people really feel like it’s worth getting up every day and giving a little bit more to take the mission further.

Amanda Lopez:

Exactly. And I think our three pillars, the belonging, contribution, and growth kind of creates that nice framework coupled with our five core values. I think Entrada is a place where people feel like they can bring their authentic self. And there’s a lot of kindness, and respect, and collaboration that I think also fosters just some good will in the organization. And also, frankly, opportunities to learn. I think sometimes, whether you’re at a small company or a large company, you can fill pigeonholed, and you only know your piece of direct discovery or direct development. And we do really try, and hopefully this tool will help people if they’re interested in getting a broader sense of it to have those conversations.

And I think something unique to us, part of your culture is bottom up, it’s also top down. And our chief scientific officer, he meets with everybody in the company. From RA level up to director plus. And he keeps a pulse on what the population is interested in. And often he’s told me, “Amanda, do more on career path and career journeys.” So there’s also just a demand for that. But the fact that he’s on this listening tour, I think also is really supportive of the positive culture here.

K.C. McAllister:

That’s incredible.

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah.

K.C. McAllister:

Well, and you just referenced the career path. We talked about looking at career ladders, you hear all of this language these days. And I think, I don’t even know, maybe 10, 15 years ago, career ladders kept popping up for people. What is your take on that? What’s the right way to think about it or frame the visual as you think through career growth, career development?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah. I’m so glad you asked Because I think career ladder is to your early point, so linear. It’s like, if you go up the ladder, it feels like you could fall off, right?

K.C. McAllister:

Correct.

Amanda Lopez:

So one of the things that we’re going to roll out with the managers is to equip them with different paradigms of possible career journeys. So somebody might want the Jungle Gym, and have different paths to the top, and different experiences that are maybe tangential to what their current path is. So we have one VP of product development, and he’s doing translational work. But before that, he was doing quality at a large organization. Before that, he was doing drug discovery and antibody. So he really valued the horizontal movement that he had in his career to prepare him for that VP job. Other people might want to take a portfolio approach, and those are people super analytical, maybe even an HR person. I want to do benefits and comp, but then I want to do HRBP, and then I want to do other specialization tours. Something like that.

And then for my myself, I like a career path. And a teacher I had in the past, she said to me to think about it as, it’s not somebody higher up in the ladder than you, they’re just further along on your path. And if they can offer you advice from their perspective, that’s great. And you might not follow their path, you could take a different path. But that was a real nice mental model for me. And my boss, the head of HR here at Entrada, she’s a maverick. And I said to her, “Well, I want a map.” And she said, “I don’t want no stinking map.”

K.C. McAllister:

I love it.

Amanda Lopez:

She would crumble it up and throw it away. And so that’s the conversation that we’re going to have with managers to say, somebody on your team might want a map, somebody might want a blank piece of paper. And how do you have, let’s say, a compass to just guide them to a model that feels right for them and meets them where they are? And I think that’s, honestly, it’s really liberating that we don’t have to follow one way to the top.

K.C. McAllister:

Oh, absolutely. I love that you say it. So we have at Mix Talent, our own internal career development program, which is called of course, The Mix CD, so Mix Career Development. But one of the things they also were using kind of that roadmap analogy, not necessarily the only path, but this idea of saying regardless of the destination, always use what we call our Mix OS, our values as your GPS.

Amanda Lopez:

Oh, I like that.

K.C. McAllister:

And I thought that was a neat way to think about that too. So this is kind of always that lens that we’re looking through as we’re trying to figure out what that path forward or sideways, or in circular, whatever it may be. Whatever the right shape.

Amanda Lopez:

One of the shapes that we were laughing at internally was the kaleidoscope. I had never heard of kaleidoscope. But when I was reflecting on it, I think that we have different hats that we wear in our personal lives. Maybe you’re in a rock band, and maybe we have somebody on our team, she has a catering business on the side. Or I’ve been doing a lot with healing and arts on the side. And I think you bring those different lenses to the job, and it creates a cool focus. And you’re pulling on skills that you thought weren’t related, but somehow they give you a broader perspective for what you do on the job. So I thought that was a cool one too.

K.C. McAllister:

Yes, it is. And I’ve never heard that one before, huh? So we talked about the individual showing up with positivity, showing up with accountability, but on the manager’s side, as we talked at the beginning, was oftentimes they’re wearing a lot of hats in these kinds of organizations. And now we’re asking for yet another opportunity here to help manage and lead your team’s career development. So what are some of the tools, what are some of the tips that you are providing for this management level, leadership level to try to be effective in those conversations?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, thank you for asking. I think it is a lot for them to juggle, particularly year end. There’s a lot of science milestones we’re going for, and they have their own pressures. And really what we’re trying to do is build a, I guess a foundation so that they can have a conversation. So as we were talking about, I think conventional wisdom was a much more linear path or a career ladder. And so to open their eyes about, there’s different shapes to this career journey, number one. Number two, setting a safe space. So aligning around what this conversation’s going to be like. So what is the person’s motivation? Is it just to gain skills? Are they really looking to get promoted? And what does that look like and how do you meet the person there? And then for each section in the individual development plan, we want to make them feel comfortable by almost helping walking them through what a conversation would be like, and how to be reflective with the individual.

So I’m hopeful that it will be well received. In some of the earlier feedback too, managers had expressed some concern, particularly around, what if it’s not in the budget and I can’t say yes to it? Or what if there’s no time? And so there’s some things that we suggest to them around this. So interestingly in the research, it shows that 70% of what’s learned on the job is really helpful to a person in their career growth. So if you think about that, if you can learn something 70% on the job, that’s awesome. And that doesn’t cost anything. And so we talked to them about that. We talked to them about maybe to the earlier point, if they wanted to learn more about drug development, shadowing a meeting with another group that doesn’t cost any money either. So getting creative, and really leveraging our small company as a strength because we don’t have the silos maybe as a larger organization does, so really leveraging that. But then we also give them feedback on, it doesn’t have to happen all now, right?

K.C. McAllister:

Right.

Amanda Lopez:

You’re right, there is a limited time in the day. So if you think about this over the course of the year, would there be peaks and valleys in the work where you can integrate some of this work at a time where it’s potentially less stressful, or there’s more bandwidth? So we’re offering that. And then the third thing that we’re offering is we have a new learning platform that talks about career journeys, both from an individual standpoint as well as a manager. It’s an app, and it’s very self-driven. And we heard that people want things in smaller increments. So they could be short videos, there could be longer modules, there could be podcasts or books that get recommended. So again, it’s much more of a menu that people can choose from. And that could be in addition to what’s done on the job.

And then the other thing related to that is we’re rolling out a coaching platform for our company. And so we’re super excited about this because we think it’s an affordable and scalable way to do coaching. And we’re also going to get some really interesting analytics about what are the gaps in the organization that maybe we can identify and do more broad training on. So those are some cool things that we’re trying to empower the managers to help their teams.

K.C. McAllister:

And leveraging technology and some other types of creative tools to make that happen. When you don’t have a huge learning and development department to manage everything, these are ways to do that. Oh, that’s fantastic. So why is career development such a passion of yours? Why is this something that you’ve spent time and energy on?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, I think for me, having been an executive search consultant and also being in-house for so many years, talking to people and persuading them to come work at the current employer that I’m at, I always ask the question, well, what are your career aspirations and where do you see yourself? And as that recruiter always looking for that alignment, if what motivated that individual was what I had to offer, that was a beautiful match. That’s what we all try to aspire to. And so now I think in this talent management role, it makes me feel good. All of those people I brought in, we’ve grown Entrada by a lot over the last couple of years. And so to see those people come in, and now be able to help them achieve the skills that they want to learn, or help them get to the next step in their career is really fulfilling.

K.C. McAllister:

Absolutely. Well, and you’re doing it yourself, right?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah.

K.C. McAllister:

Moving forward, which is pretty cool. So if there are others listening in our audience, in small, in mid-size biotech companies made without that same kind of resources, how would you suggest they get started? Gosh, this sounds really great, what she’s talking about. How could I do it myself? How could we do it here at X, Y, or Z company?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, I think what we’ve tried to do that maybe is exportable to other companies is keep it simple. The individual development plan might be something they already have. I think what was new in this case was making sure the managers were trained up. So if they can offer that training to the managers to have these conversations, it would be super helpful. And help change the conversation from the career ladder to the various paradigms, I think would go a long way.

K.C. McAllister:

Right. Even just starting with that visual, all the ways you could think about it, right?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah.

K.C. McAllister:

I personally liked the Jungle Gym one, that kind of brought a lot of ideas to my head and thinking about that.

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, it’s playful and fun too.

K.C. McAllister:

It is, right? And probably on point for the personality. So there’s always that too, that’s kind of amazing. The other question I just had was, again, we were talking about time of year being really busy, and that’s for everybody. But it also, these kinds of conversations tend to be top of mind. You’re going through an end of year maybe review process or some sort of reflection, maybe bonus evaluations, whatever those may be. But you had referenced when we were talking ahead of time, that career development conversations are not performance conversations. So can you talk a little bit about that? How do you look at those as different, and how can people create some space to ensure they truly are different conversations versus making them one?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah, this was really important for us in launching this now, knowing that year-end conversations are going to be planned. And that we had been talking a lot about corporate goals throughout the year. And so in an all-hands meeting, and it will be reiterated as well throughout this process with the company is that, corporate goals are really helpful to get the company all rowing in the same direction, but it’s goals related to the company. And these are important, and they do certainly provide opportunities for stretch goals for people individually and learning new skills.

But this career growth development conversation is really specific to the individual, and their personal development, and really talking about what they’re good at and how they want to grow. And it will certainly map back to some activities that they can do on the job, which may be related to the goals. But really making the break, that this is your opportunity to think about you and where you’re going, as opposed to the overarching company. And one of the things that our CSO has said to me that I thought was so great in his conversation is that, people, when they come to him and always ask, “How can I grow my skills and help Entrada?” And so they’re already thinking about that, but we did want to give them this path to be a little selfish, I guess.

K.C. McAllister:

Appropriately so, though, right?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah. And also we’ve been very deliberate in saying this is optional, knowing that people could be extraordinarily busy right now, but we want to make sure that the tools are available to them. And transparency as an HR team, we were like, ooh, optional sounds like it’s not worthwhile their time. And so we wanted to make it clear to the organization that if you do take advantage of this, the research shows people that set goals for themselves tend to be highly successful. Or when they look back, they get the satisfaction of, oh, how far I’ve come over the year. And so we’re trying to thread the needle between it’s optional and worthwhile for your time if you want to do this. And creating a space and a tool where they can access it. And we’re giving them a rule of thumb that best practice shows, having this career growth conversation two times a year is really helpful for them and the manager.

K.C. McAllister:

No, absolutely. And I agree. I know, again, back to The Mix CD from our own internal perspective. Now we are a little bit get to cheat because we have a team of consultants that are PhDs in industrial organizational psychology and professional coaches. So being developed by a team of experts, I felt that was like winning the lotto. But that was some of the stuff that they were talking about as well, was this idea that it needed to be individually driven, right?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah.

K.C. McAllister:

That to your point, worthwhile and communicated clearly, very accessible, having tools that are functional and can really help an individual be reflective and think it through, as well as on the manager side. But ultimately that all the research shows that it does need to be self-driven, for it to be positive and for it to have the desired outcomes. That if it comes from the organization saying, and here’s your path, that people either don’t take it seriously or don’t do the work, or blame someone else if it doesn’t go as planned.

Amanda Lopez:

That’s a good point.

K.C. McAllister:

Versus recognizing like, wow, I actually have a great opportunity, and in a supportive culture that wants me to grow and develop. To be thoughtful about what that path may look like, what my journey could be, and again, turn it into a really hopeful, positive and growth oriented activity.

Amanda Lopez:

Absolutely. I agree a 100%.

K.C. McAllister:

Lovely.

Amanda Lopez:

What you said. Yeah.

K.C. McAllister:

There you go, exactly. What she said, that was it. Well, good. Well, Amanda, this has been so great. I think it’s amazing what you guys are doing here as a team. We’ll have to get a report out after a year or two in terms of all the great results that you have-

Amanda Lopez:

I would love that.

K.C. McAllister:

… with this, and talk about. But before I do let you go, a couple of questions that we do ask all of our guests here on the Mix Tape. So you come from search, so you can appreciate it. But what is the best interview question that you either ask or that you’ve been asked?

Amanda Lopez:

Okay, I thought about this and I have a good one for you.

K.C. McAllister:

Okay. I like it.

Amanda Lopez:

Can you think about the most… Oh gosh, no, I’m going to mess up.

K.C. McAllister:

It’s all right.

Amanda Lopez:

Hold on, I have to think about this. Oh yes, I got it. Can you think about the most surprising piece of feedback that you have ever received? And what I like about this is that, it’s a twist on tell me your strengths and tell me your weaknesses. Because maybe ideally you’re trying to find if the person had a blind spot, and if they had a weakness, but they were reflective about it. So I find that one a really powerful question to ask.

K.C. McAllister:

Well, and the word surprising, that’s a very-

Amanda Lopez:

It doesn’t mean negative necessarily.

K.C. McAllister:

Correct. Right. But that’s a very specific word choice that would make you be thoughtful about the answer. That’s a good one, I might have to steal that from you. Well done. Okay. And we are the Mix Tape. So we do have our Spotify playlist. All of our guests get to add a song of their choice. It can be your favorite song of right now, whatever it may be. What song should we put on the playlist for you?

Amanda Lopez:

Oh, I can’t wait to access that playlist. Well, the one that came to mind is Try Everything by Shakira. This is very popular in my house. I have an eight-year-old, so I think it plays well with all ages. And I just love the message of, it’s not about failure, it’s about trying different things. And she has such a great beat and it’s uplifting.

K.C. McAllister:

It is, it’s a favorite of mine. It was from Zootopia, right?

Amanda Lopez:

Yeah. Yes.

K.C. McAllister:

So I have my 16-year-old at the time the movie came out was kind of more in that early tween stage. And my 11-year-old was probably similar to your daughter’s age. And so they love it. It was on every playlist. And I agree, it is such an uplifting, positive message, but it is warning to our listeners here, it will get stuck in your head. And if your kids hear it, it will probably end up on repeat for quite some time.

Amanda Lopez:

For sure. Enjoy. You’re welcome.

K.C. McAllister:

Exactly. Exactly. Well, again, thank you so much to Amanda Lopez, the executive director of talent management, HRBP, as well as the head of talent acquisition here at Entrada Therapeutics. It has been an absolute pleasure. I always love catching up with you. And that will do it for today on the Mix Tape.

Amanda Lopez:

Thank you so much. Enjoy.

Valerie McCandlish:

A huge thank you to Amanda and KC for joining us for our final episode of season three. And I think that this is coming at such a fitting time because so many people are getting ready for their end of year reviews. And I think if you’re somebody who, you’re prepping for your conversation with your manager, you’re doing some looking back on how you did this year. You’re doing some looking forward on where you want to be, a lot of this content is going to be really helpful for you in prepping for your goals. And I think something that was really important in what they shared was, to begin with, set goals for yourself, because then you’re going to have a really rewarding look back at when you’ve been able to achieve them. You’re able to see how well you progress and what you’ve been able to do.

So that itself is going to be so rewarding. But also, those conversations can be a little stressful. And I think they had some really helpful advice too, on making that conversation be a little bit more comfortable. I feel like I just have so many takeaways, but I’m going to also say, I think that Amanda’s song, Try Everything is also such a great mantra for your career development. If you’re thinking about where you want to be, or maybe you aren’t sure what that looks like for you, try everything. Try things that maybe you don’t know that you’re interested in. Try things that you think you will, and maybe what you thought you were going to love, you’re going to hate. Maybe things you thought you’d hate, you’d love. And ultimately, that’s just going to help you be a more well-rounded professional in your career.

Natalie Taylor:

Wow. I could not have said any of that better. That is why you are the best co-host of all time. That was excellent, Val. And I think try everything is, again, a mantra that has been relevant throughout our entire season. So many of our guests have shared similar experiences. Just last week with Jessica, how when she started out, she did not like infectious disease and then she loved it. So I think that’s great. And speaking of trying everything, I would encourage all of you guys to try out all of our podcast episodes while we are taking a break after season three to gear up for season four. Go back and check out our previous episodes from seasons one, two, and three, and let us know if there’s any topics that you want to hear more about. You want to learn something, you want to hear from a different guest.

Valerie McCandlish:

We want to know what you want to know.

Natalie Taylor:

We want to know. Send us a message on LinkedIn. You can reach out to both Valerie or myself, reach out on Instagram. There’s many ways to get in touch, but we would love to hear from you. Subscribe. Rate us, leave a review.

Valerie McCandlish:

And share this episode with a friend that you think might enjoy this content too. And so with that, thank you so much for being in the mix. We’ll see you next season.

 

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