Monday, September 8, 2008

A conversation with Genentech senior director Karen Brockwell

A conversation with Genentech senior director Karen Brockwell
East Bay Business Times - by Mike Consol
September 5, 2008

tephanie Secrest | East Bay Business Times
Genentech senior director Karen Brockwell

First job: A paper route in England at 12 years old delivering The Northern Echo.

Business philosophy: Really getting things done. A lot of people talk about how you should get things done and business processes.

How do you stay motivated:
In my professional life it’s focusing on the end result, which is providing drugs to patients.

Guiding principle:
Be authentic and direct. I believe in being candid.

Definition of success: Being happy and having good relationships both inside and outside of your professional life.

Goal yet to be achieved: The big project I’ve been working on for the last five years, and that’s the licensing of our second cell culture production plant.

Best decision:
Joining Genentech.

Worst decision:
Buying the house I live in today. It’s just way too big.

Definition of leadership: One who inspires and motivates others.

Word that best describes you: Energetic.

Like best about job: I like to see an end result, something tangible. That’s why I like working on projects.

Like least about job: The volume of meetings.

Interests: Swimming, biking, skiing, disco dancing, listening to books on tape and shopping.

Favorite place to shop: Westfield San Francisco Centre.

Favorite store: Bloomingdales.

Pet peeve: BlackBerrys in meetings.

Most important lesson learned:
Prioritizing time with family.

Person most interested in meeting: Elvis Presley. All film and rock stars are fascinating to me, but he was a great singer and he was the king.

Most respected competitor: Amgen.

Greatest fear: Snakes.

Idea of perfect happiness: A rewarding job and great relationships with family and friends.

Greatest strength: Pulling people together and getting them excited about something.

Characteristic most admired: Authenticity and passion.

Characteristic most deplored: Rudeness.

First choice for a new career: Some kind of specialized physician.

Current state of mind: Professionally there’s a lot happening here at Genentech with Roche’s bid to purchase the company. Not knowing what will happen can create some anxiety.

How do you deal with disappointment:
Oftentimes the best way to deal with disappointment is to think about people who are much worse off. That puts things in perspective.

How do you deal with stress: Exercise.

Exercise of choice: Skiing.

Question you want answered: What happens after you die?

Favorite book: P.D. James’ mysteries.

Most cherished possession: My photo albums.

Life’s most beautiful sound:
The ocean waves crashing on the shore.

Favorite movie:
“Sophie’s Choice.”

Favorite vacation spot:
Vail, Colo.