Ep 7: Lifelong Learning with Sam Howard

Episode 7 March 14, 2023 00:47:30
Ep 7: Lifelong Learning with Sam Howard
Leaders in Life Sciences
Ep 7: Lifelong Learning with Sam Howard

Mar 14 2023 | 00:47:30

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Hosted By

Mike Ferletic

Show Notes

What does it mean to be a lifelong learner, and how can you do it? How does it benefit you? Today’s guest, Sam Howard, explains what it means to him to be a lifelong learner and how he does it. 

Sam Howard was previously a managing consultant for Enterey. Today, he’s a Senior Program Manager at Dendreon. In today’s interview, he discusses his career, going back to his days in the military and how he transitioned from that to life sciences. He also talks about whether leaders are born or made, the difference between managers and leaders, and how he recommends getting more reading time in.

Topics Discussed in Today’s Episode:

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Sam Howard

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Episode Transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Leaders in Life Sciences podcast powered by Enterey Life Science Consulting. In this podcast, you'll hear from leaders in the life science industry, how they grew into their current roles, the lessons they've learned along the way, and advice for those aspiring to follow in their footsteps. I am the host. My name is Mike Ferletic, and I'm the CEO of Enterey Life Science Consulting. At Enterey, we help leaders orchestrate the positive change they want to see in their organization. Are you ready to be recognized for your leadership success? Take a listen. Welcome, everyone. Glad to have you here on the Leaders in Life Sciences podcast powered by Enterey Life Science Consulting. My name is Mike Ferletic, I'm the host. I'd like to welcome Courtney Boudreaux, our co-host. Welcome, Courtney. Courtney: Thank you, Thanks for having me. Hello, everyone. Mike: How are things going today, Courtney? Courtney: Pretty good. Have you heard of pickleball? It's like picking up a [...] Southern California. Mike: I have heard of pickleball. I actually first heard about it though when I was in Saint Louis. It's interesting. It's very popular here too. Are you a pickleball player? Courtney: Not yet. I purchased a package of classes through the Seal Beach Community Center that I will be starting at the end of January 2022. I was inspired by Genevieve. She is taking pickleball classes. For our listeners out there, Genevieve is one of our fantastic consultants here in Enterey. She's wonderful to work with and inspired me to take pickleball classes as well. Mike: That's awesome. Courtney: Yeah. Come the new year I will be reaching out and exploring different things that I haven't before. Mike: Pickleball is kind of like a mix between tennis and ping pong. It's like a one-stop in-between. Courtney: It's like a badminton net or something on a tennis court. It looks fun though. Mike: The Seal Beach Community Center, I think that's right where I grew up, if I'm not mistaken. Courtney: I think it is too. Mike: Very close to my home, the home I grew up in. Fun times. We used to ride our bikes by there and it used to be tennis courts. We would be able to ride by and always find tennis balls launched over the fence and stuff. That was my source of new tennis balls. Courtney: That's awesome. Mike: It was always really nice because the tennis court is always good tennis balls. We had fun playing that. Courtney: Did you want to go sell them back? Mike: I know. Courtney: For a little side racket. Mike: We are pretty good at playing with them and then eventually losing them ourselves. Courtney: That's fair. Circle of life. Mike: Exactly. When we're recording this, it's almost the holiday time here. My days have been kind of busy leading up the holidays. It always seems very busy this time of the year. Scoping up for some presents and stuff for the family. I haven't done a lot of shopping and I try to do a little mix of online and in-person. Courtney: It's nice to have online as an option, especially with COVID picking back up again and the uncertainty with all of that. You're in Indiana recently, right? Mike: I was, yes. Courtney: How was that? Mike: It was great. I love Indiana. As you might guess, I was up in South Bend near my alma mater, Notre Dame. I always loved to be there. Just a great sense of well-being when I'm there. It was very nice. I will have to say, this is December and I think the weather has felt much colder here than it did there these past few days. But I think they are diving into some colder weather here pretty soon. Courtney: Only fair. Mike: That's right. I'm pretty sure we're going to win the weather battle. Maybe the short term, there are a few days where we might lose out. Courtney: Yeah, very fun. Mike: Cool. We are excited to get started with our podcast interview today. Today, we have a very special guest. Sam Howard is with us. All right, let's just jump into our discussion with Sam. Sam Howard is currently the Senior Program Manager at Dendreon Seal Beach Manufacturing Facility. He has a comprehensive background in leadership, supply chain management, and project management. Prior to entering the business world, Sam spent over 28 years serving our country in the United States Marine Corps. Thank you, Sam. He retired as Lieutenant Colonel. During his time in the Marines, Sam held multiple logistics roles where he focused on operationalizing logistics and support of [...] security operations. He also performed a critical role back here at home in the recruitment of New Marines where he led operations and support of the successful transition of more than 33,000 recruits and their transition from civilian to a basically trained marine. Talk about a recruiting effort, Sam. That's pretty darn impressive. After his retirement from the Marine Corps, Sam joined Enterey Life Sciences Consulting, which is a company we know a little bit about. He did that to pursue his interest in the life sciences industry. This interest was originally developed as Sam earns his degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After serving as a Manager at Enterey for nearly three years, Sam has taken a role at Dendreon. A company founded in the belief that immunotherapy made from a patient's own cells will transform cancer treatment. Sam is supporting Dendreon's efforts to expand their contract manufacturing capability in the fast-growing personalized medicine space. Without further ado, I like to welcome Sam to the podcast. Welcome, Sam. We're looking forward to talking to you. Sam: Thank you, Mike and Courtney. It was quite an introduction. I'm not sure I'm worthy of all of those nice accolades. But I will like to say, in all of those efforts, I was never alone. It was always a team effort. That has allowed me to achieve and basically enjoy a lot of successes I've had throughout my career in life. Thank you. Mike: You're welcome. It's great to have you and certainly knowing you from your work here at Enterey, we acknowledge and recognize these accomplishments there. Let's jump right in. My first question is one that maybe a lot of people wonder about. Coming out of school as a Biology major, how did you decide to embark on a military career as opposed to something like med school or some other scientific career that maybe some of your peer students were focused on? Sam: Mike, that's a great question. When I've had the answer on numerous occasions, yes, absolutely. Because people have asked, wait a minute, you were a Marine, and now you're in life sciences. How and why? I guess to fill in some of the story, I had to go back to my basic understanding as a sophomore and a junior in college. I'm going through taking classes, attending labs. Along the way, I think I mustered up the courage to ask one of my counselors, what am I going to do with this degree? They laid on a couple of options. One was to obviously work in the lab. I'm like, okay, by yourself, seems very repetitive. I don't know if that's something that's going to appeal to me. The other one was pharmaceutical sales. I'm like, yikes, no way. I am not cut out to be a salesperson. What do I even know about talking to people about different activities? I really started thinking about what am I going to do going forward. Obviously, I'm going to complete my program. I'm going to pursue something. As a professional, what do I want to do? Along that time, the Marine Corps came up and gave me some options. One of them was, hey, why don't you get your degree and come and actually lead marines. I said, that's interesting. They taught me about being a platoon commander and what it actually means to serve your country. The opportunities you have to travel and to grow as a professional. I was like, that sounds very appealing. I think I would like to see if I can climb out to the challenge of actually leading marines in a very dynamic and obviously, in some cases, kinetic environment. I chose to do that fully thinking that I wasn't going to go do it for four years and come right back. Somehow 40 years moved on and next thing you know, it was a career, I was enjoying it, and I decided to continue to go until I couldn't go anymore. After that, wrapping that up, I came back and said, now what do I want to do? I remember what I liked about the challenges of the Marine Corps which was, can you lead people? Yes, I love leading people. Can you work and solve complex problems? Yes, I can do that. I love doing that. Can I make a difference? I realize those are three things that really drive me as a person, as a professional. I was like, whatever I'm going to do in my next career, I want to be able to lead people, I want to be able to solve complex problems, and I want to be able to make a difference. I started looking out my search and along the way, surprise, surprise, I stumbled back into life sciences. The opportunity was there for me to be able to lead people, again, solve—obviously—some complex problems, and to really make a difference. That really appealed to my core. At the heart of my upbringing was always that scientific curiosity. It has checked all the boxes. I came back and said, yes, I would love to be a member of the life sciences community. I started my networking, how do I actually get back in, and along the way, again, you walk in and you never know who you run into. I ran into some great former armed services members who really talked to me and encouraged me to look outside and develop those contacts. All of a sudden, one day, I ran to this person called Ryan Coughlin. I'm like, wait a minute, Ryan Coughlin. He's a Marine and he works at this company called Enterey. "Hey Ryan, I'm a Marine. I want to get into life sciences. Let's talk about Enterey." Before you know it, I was with Enterey actually working with some great people, trying to come up and solve complex problems, and in the end, making a difference in people and patients' lives. Mike: I love that story. That's great. Courtney: Yeah. It's amazing. Mike: Really good journey from military to getting back into the industry. As you mentioned your leadership experiences, this podcast is about leadership. I think you may have learned some things in your educational experience in the biology side that may have given you some structure for being a leader in the Marines and then applying that back to the industry. I'm just curious if there are some correlations that you recall from that time. Sam: Absolutely. At the heart of it, again, I'm going to use the word scientific process. You want to actually do something. You want to observe and then make changes. I found that approach to line up perfectly, again, with my values and beliefs. The way that I was able to use that structure in the military, for me, was pretty straightforward. If I was given a task, an opportunity to lead a particular mission or work and develop a solution with people, I always stepped up with that. Say, here is what I think we want to be able to do. Let's make sure we understand what it is we're going to do, and then let's start taking some appropriate actions and see if those results line up to what we want to have occur. For me, the transition, I will say, wasn't always natural because there were some elements that require a little more hands-on approach, meaning communication. Obviously, I had to deal with a lot more people, a lot more dynamic and fluid than in some cases because of just the geographic of the area that we worked in and in some cases the nature, the mission that we were assigned. But in the end, having that approach and understanding that yes, there is a cause and reaction to your activities allowed me to really develop and key in, as a leader, how I'm able to help shape the activities and the outcome for my mission and more importantly for the people that I was assigned to lead. Definitely correlated. Courtney: Yeah. It seems that leadership is innate with you and that's what drew you to the Marines, was the leadership aspect. My question for you would be, do you think our leaders are born innately made or do you think leadership can be fostered and developed within people? Sam: That's a great question, Courtney. Again, I wanted to be honest that we've been asked to ponder on numerous occasions. Are leaders born or are leaders made? Again, my personal belief is it's the combination. Yes, you are born with some innate skills and capabilities. I think it's incumbent upon you to help develop and refine those skills to develop that leadership skills. I've never met anybody that was a perfect leader. No one. Maybe there is one or two that exist, but to be honest, I've never encountered them. Along the way, the people that I admire as leaders, for one, were humble. They were willing to say, hey, I don't know everything. They had the courage, in some cases, to say I don't know. They definitely look and sought out opportunities to help develop and refine those skills. When they notice that there was a gap in their ability to execute or maybe a gap in their knowledge, they didn't let that hinder them. They decided to take action. To me, that's the very definition of a leader. It's not knowing the answer, but being willing and able to actually come up with a solution to solve it. That's the difference as a leader. Courtney: Yeah, that's amazing. I know that a lot of these life science companies really rely on their management teams to help drive their employees and drive their personnel toward their end goal, which oftentimes is getting medicine to patients. What do you think is the difference between somebody who's just a manager and somebody who is a leader to drive folks towards that goal? Sam: That's a great question. Again, something that I've been able to actually walk through with members of my project team, and on occasion, I actually talk to our senior leadership about as members of this journey committee. It's never a really straightforward and simple answer. But the way I [...] is leaders actually come up with visions. They have a vision. They don't know the answer but they have a vision. I think managers often develop into giving that task and managing a list. In the Marine Corps, we despise the word manager. If you said you were a manager, you're a persona non grata. We would often say, you manage things but you lead people. In the end, that concept has a ring of truth to it. Yes, as a manager, I've seen them develop into here's a series of actions, steps, and tasks that need to be accomplished. As a leader, yes, I'm not saying those things are important, but in the end, they are worried about hey, is this vision going to be able to succeed and thrive? Do I have the right people and employees to make that happen? And then they come up and create opportunities for those people to actually eventually satisfy or more importantly, accomplish that vision. To me, that's the difference between being a manager and a leader. Mike: That's great. I really love the distinction you made there. One thing that always strikes me is that people that you work for, you may not get to choose that. Therefore, you have many different styles of leadership that you have to follow. I'm sure that you encountered that a lot in your time with the Marines and beyond. I'm curious, tell me your thoughts on how did you adapt to the different leaders that you had to work for or follow, and were there times when you didn't adapt? Sam: The short answer is yes. There are definitely times that I could have done things much better, and yes, to me, leadership is not always straightforward. There are many different paths to the same outcome. Basically, at this point in my life, I've stumbled upon the fact that I can't necessarily control the outcome. But I can control my own actions and my own beliefs. In the end, the way that I've always approached this, I'm going to be consistent, I'm going to be transparent, and I'm going to give you my opinion as we go forward. That has worked for me going forward. But again, that wasn't always the case when I was younger. When I was younger, it was hey, this is how we're going to do it and I was born and willing to challenge saying, why are we going to do it this way? Again, as I've gone through this—I call it a maturation process—I realize that my way is not necessarily the best way. My way is a way, but there may be a better way. As a leader, going back to being that leader, sometimes and a lot of times, you need to listen and actually learn and say, hey, why do you want to do it that way? One of the great things that I tried to help develop especially as I've talked about leadership and develop my own leaders is, we have to ask key questions. Questions that really revolve around how are we going to solve this. I used to tell my Marines and I tell my consultants going forward, the question of how as opposed to why. Asking that how question allows people to really give an honest answer and it doesn't necessarily make them defensive about a position that they may hold. I really learned as a leader going forward is I like to ask the how questions as opposed to the why are we doing something. That had made a big difference going forward. The how questions paired up with my own opportunity to listen, learn, and realize that my way is not necessarily the best way has allowed me to be more successful and definitely allowed me to realize there are many different leaders, different ways to all see the objectives. Just because I don't necessarily subscribe to that approach doesn't mean it's wrong. Courtney: I think that's critical. What you mentioned, knowing that it doesn't have to be your way, it just has to be the way that gets the team there. Maintaining that state of open-mindedness as a leader is incredibly admirable and is most certainly somebody that I would want to work for. Thank you, Sam. Mike: I was just going to ask you, Sam. It's always great to learn from others too. I imagine you learned from others along the way. Is there anybody in particular that you recall that had a particular influence on your development as a leader, as a person, however you'd like to approach that? Sam: As a person, at least for me, I could always go back to looking at who were influential role models in my life. I'm going to start, obviously, my dad. My dad was and is a retired Marine. Clearly, that had a big bearing in what I wanted to do going forward because I saw him live out his values and live and display his integrity going forward. That's something that I always admired. I admired it because no matter what the situation was, he always had a sense of what was right and what was wrong. He was willing and had the courage to actually speak up for what he thought was right. Even though it may not necessarily be popular, even though he may have been the minority in the group. But you always knew what my dad stood. When I saw that going forward, I wanted to emulate that. I want to be that person. As I went throughout my career, there are a lot of people that I could probably bring up as great examples. A lot of them, to be honest, were enlisted members. I'm supposed to be, as an officer, you often thought of it as the leader. You're the guy who's actually making the decisions and actually driving the organization. To be honest, there are a lot of times when that was not even close to being the case. Some of them were my senior enlisted advisors. I remember one in particular who had when I just took over as a new company commander, I was really excited to be able to actually drive and actually take charge and be held responsible. I remember having those discussions with my first sergeant coronel at the time. He'd been walking in my office and not that he would challenge me, but he would ask me. "So, sir, is that really what you want to do? Do you really think that's the best path forward for the Marines?" I always appreciated that he never necessarily said I was wrong, but he always coming up to me to think about what it is that we needed to do and [...] those terms so that I had a better appreciation. He taught me, again, how to be honest, how to be respectful, and more importantly, how to take the interest of the Marines. Those lessons I carry forward going throughout my career. I remember, again, in the same organization, I ran into, at the time, Major Burn, he was our executive officer. He asked me, he says, Sam, what do you want to do in your career? I thought, what do you mean? I'm a Marine officer. That is my career. I'm doing it. He was like, okay, yes, you are a Marine officer, but that's not necessarily your career path. What is it that you want to do? I remember he made me actually think about what is it I wanted to do. From that point kind of start shaping my actions and more importantly my decisions to do that. Then he taught me the importance of having a vision. Not only in your professional life but applying that same vision, those same aspects toward your personal life. For me, at that time, I was a young officer, impressionable. That to me, it was life-changing. I took responsibility for my actions and my decisions and I realized that it had a larger impact on the direction and more importantly my actions in the future. I definitely appreciate that. And then, the last person that we're bringing up is my current boss, Maria Choi out of Dendreon. The reason why I admire her as a leader is because she has the passion, the foresight, and the knowledge that actually drives the actions. She is not willing to take a no for an answer, but she will challenge you on any nos. I love the aspect of her being, for one, challenging people's decisions, and then more importantly, creating that vision for us to follow. Because of her passion and because of her vision, it makes working for her so much easier. Because I realize that even if I make a mistake, as long as I'm working toward the goal and the vision you have, I'm going to be okay, and the organization is going to be okay. She taught me that it's okay to make mistakes and to not necessarily be perfect. As long as you have the best intent in mind and that you actually try and accomplish the vision, whatever you come up with is going to be acceptable. Those three people, I guess, looking at my career and my time, really had an influence and they help shape my values and my beliefs. Again, my appreciation for what it means to be a great leader. Mike: Awesome. All three are just great examples, great reasons why. That hit me. I wrote down some notes for myself listening to you speak. I think those are great examples of what people can do to help inspire others. You living those things in your work and life and take what you've learned from people to help others grow as well. I really appreciate that insight. Hey, Courtney. A lot of our clients we work with have great ideas on how to improve their business. But they just run into challenges that seem to get in the way of accomplishing their goals. Have you ever seen that? Courtney: Yeah, of course. It happens all the time. I've seen clients struggle with a lack of visibility into all the work that's happening within their organization. I've seen clients that are focused on manual tasks, which takes away from focusing on the actual project work. And I've seen leadership struggle to make decisions to the lack of timely information. Mike: That's so true. It seems like just knowing the problems to fix is only half the battle. How'd you help your clients address those challenges? Courtney: Well, we of course first work with our client to design a structured management process that fits their culture and team. And in a lot of situations, we bring in tools like Smartsheet to help the entire project team be more efficient. With the help of Smartsheet, we were able to create dashboards, automate routine tasks, and have the information ready in real time to help support leadership's decision-making. Mike: Wow. It sounds like you're not only executing the project, but your work helps everyone get more done with less work. Courtney: I hope so. Smartsheet is a powerful tool and my clients seem to be really happy with it. Mike: That's great. If somebody needs help on their project, what should they do? Courtney: They should check out enterey.com and schedule a call with us to see how we can help. Mike: Sounds like a great idea. Courtney: Well, thank you. Mike: In talking about the leaders that you just described, a lot of it, what you took from it was just getting better a little bit each time. Not worried about making mistakes, but trying to get better and focusing on learning and growth. One question we'd have is, what is one minimally viable thing that you can do each day to make yourself better on an ongoing basis? Sam: To me, it's reading. It's just reading. The great thing about, to me, I'm going to say the internet is there are these limitless opportunities for you to pause and actually learn more about a particular topic, maybe a particular concept, that you really maybe never even encountered before. Again, going back to my days in the military, we were given opportunities to actually go study. We would be selected to go spend a year, actually learning our craft and learning how we could apply the principles of warfighting. I remember we had a class one time and one of the professors challenges us to be lifelong learners. At the time, I was like, lifelong learners? Okay. At the time, I'm young. That didn't really sink in, but it was amazing. As I start thinking about it more and more, I'm like, yes, how else can you possibly lead and continue to get the best out of people if you, yourself, never evolve? To me, there's the ability to read. Again, not that I don't care what the topic are because topics I think are important. But I think just committing to the idea that I am going to read something new every day, maybe it's about the industry, maybe it's about your favorite sport. But just committing to that aspect will allow you to develop those habits that I think are very important as a leader and as a member of this life sciences industry. Which is you got to be that lifelong learner because things change. We're living in the process right now at Dendreon where things are changing for us. We have to be able to understand what are the new concepts, what are the new things happening inside the industry, and how can we actually help foster and build that idea to get it to, again, our patients. That won't happen if we are just concentrating on the day-to-day activities, worried about meeting timelines, filling out spreadsheets, and attending meetings. You have to pause and be able to read. Again, having that natural curiosity and committing to be that lifelong learner will allow that. Mike: That's awesome. Totally agree. Courtney: I was going to say, I see you have a bookshelf behind you. For our listeners at home who can't see, Sam is sitting at his desk with a bookshelf full of books and photos in a stormtrooper hat. But based off of that other question, what are some of the best books you've read? Sam: Let's see. The best books I've read, there's, again, sci-fi is definitely one of my favorite. Doom is a great series. I got to go back to Doom. I love the Doom series. I think I try to re-read each book probably multiple times. I love that as both a genre and just topics. Just concepts of trying to understand the underlying things. Religion for example in Doom. I guess one of the great books that I just—let me pull back and look at it. I just finished reading Jobs To Be Done. It talks about theory to practice of how do you actually come up with this concept, how do you actually understand what needs to occur. More importantly, how do you actually get it done. Again, in the author's words, "How to actually put some things in practice from idea into execution." I've actually used part of this book in my discussions with some of my student committee, and again, members of the project team just to make sure they understand the concept. Because I'm a big believer in if you understand the concept, then the actions, and the tasks, I don't need to direct all of that stuff. Because you'll use your own initiative and your own abilities to come up with a solution that, to be honest, it's probably 10 times better than I could ever think of. All I need to do is get you to understand the concept. Books that allow me to understand the concepts and actually understand how to put those in practice, that's really what I cater toward. I just finished another book. I love this book, Team Genius. It is funny because one of the notions of what does it take for the ideal team. The author concedes that the idea of team consists of five plus or minus two people. It's like either seven or three people. It's funny because I use that when I started talking to my student saying, you know what, we got too many people in here. We're not able to effectively make decisions, we're not communicating correctly. And I refer them back to that book saying, scientifically speaking—again, going back to my data backdrop—ideal team consists of this. That argument allowed me to actually facilitate a restructuring of our project team so we could make better decisions. Again, I like to combine all those different actions, but in the end, using books to understand concept and idea, to me, is critically important and that's a marker of a true professional. Can you imagine your doctor not reading and keeping up with what's going on? Courtney: That would be terrifying. Sam: I would be terrified as well. As you should be. To me, as a market professional, yes, you should have some books. You should be able to understand some concepts. Again, to me, that's the kind of books and that's where I evolve into. Mike: I love to buy books. I've not done as good job of reading all of those books. My wife will tell you, I'll order a book, a new book will arrive at home, and I have every intent to read it. But it goes on to a stack of books that I haven't read. This is a practical question. What's your best advice for getting more reading time in? Sam: You got to put it on your calendar. I hate to say it, but we're all kind of driven. We are conditioned to understand and work within a calendar. In a way that I approach this, you schedule the things that are important to you. If you schedule things that are important to you, then all of a sudden it becomes something that you're going to follow up and act on. Even the idea of reading, going back to my military time, we had another professor walk in, he threw out this concept of speed reading. I'm like, what is speed reading? What are you talking about? He laid out this notion that, do you need to know every word in the book to understand the concept? He challenged me to say, no, of course not. He said, the author is really good and the author is going to basically lay out his idea, he's going to lay out supporting arguments for his idea, and then he's going to conclude by repeating what his idea was. He said, for you, as a reader, that's what you want to understand. Because the rest are just examples. He said, but do you understand the concept? I go back to, do I understand the concept that's been poured out inside the book. Because I'm going to have my own stories. Maybe I need to know one or two, but do I need to know all those stories, maybe, maybe not. But to me, the first step is just scheduling the time. The second one is, make sure you understand what you're reading for. For me, a lot of the time, I'm reading to understand the concept. What is the concept they're trying to offer so I can take and apply using my knowledge, training, and experience, and to action with my team members. Mike: That's great advice and I think a really good point. I know when I was doing a good job of reading and getting through my list of books. I was just dedicating a small amount of time, even just 15 minutes, 20 minutes a day and that makes a big difference too. Sam: Yeah, absolutely. Mike: Love it. One thing, Sam, I know you're really good at is networking. I saw you network effectively when you're here at Enterey and just curious what your tips are from a networking standpoint and how do you go about meeting others in a leadership capacity or to learn more? What are your strategies there? Sam: You're being way too kind. I don't know if I'm good at networking. I'm just okay with people saying no. Maybe there's a slight distinction. The first thing I learned was you have to be comfortable with putting yourself out there. That's the first step. If you're waiting for someone to walk up to you then you've already lost the battle. You might as well go home. There were lots of opportunities to develop that and then I started realizing, why do I walk up and talk to some people? Why do some people hold my interest and certain people don't? I started thinking about what I liked when I interact with new people. I started to try to model and actually show that. To me, the first step is, you can call it elevator pitch and that's fine. Why are we talking? What do you want to talk about? Just understanding and being very succinct about it. Understanding what is going to interest them and being able to encapsulate that in three to four sentences to me is always key. I've always tried to make sure that I understood the environment, make sure I understood what I thought that particular member wanted to understand or get from me, and then try to actually develop that. Going through that and a lot of practice, I still don't think I'm very good at it, but just practicing and actually walking up, just talking to people, and being genuine about who I am, what do I want to do. Because what I found is that people, at their heart, they want to help. If you tell them what you want to do, they'll think about how can I help you. It's amazing, next thing you're having the conversation about what it is that you want to do and how you can help them. In the end, to me, you develop that connection. To me, networking is about developing that connection. You're not necessarily going to solve all the problems and nor do you want to solve all their problems in your networking encounter. But you do want to leave up the opportunity that hey look, I'm interested in trying to see what I can do to help you. Normally, they will correspond and communicate the same to you. Mike: Very good advice. All right, Sam, that was great. I think we're going to head into wrap up here. But before we do, we'd like to play a little game in our podcast here. Have a little fun, I should say. Courtney, I'm going to turn over to you. I think you're going to do a little speed round of questions. Courtney: Yeah, thanks Mike. Yes, I do have questions. They are for fun. Whatever the first thing that pops in your head is fine. If you want to pass a question, just say pass and let me know. I will ask Sam about 10 questions, then it'll be Mike's turn, and then we'll say goodbye unfortunately too soon. Sam, you are up first. Are you ready? Sam: I am ready. I'm leaning forward to my seat. Courtney: Okay. On your mark, get set, go. What has been your favorite age so far? Sam: Twenty-five. Courtney: What's your go to lazy dinner? Sam: Spaghetti. Courtney: What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime? Sam: Play basketball. Courtney: What is one of your nicknames? Sam: I may need to pass on that one. Courtney: What movie do you enjoy quoting the most? Sam: Star Wars. Courtney: If you could be transformed into one animal, which one would you choose? Sam: One animal, I don't know if I could pick one animal. I don't know. I get more pass on that one because I don't have one animal. Courtney: What dish do you cook the best? Sam: I get the grill so I'm going to say anything that I can grill, I normally do a decent job on. Steak and chicken. Courtney: What story do you tell the most often? Sam: The story that I tell the most often. Does it have to be true or just? Courtney: No. Sam: Story I tell the most often. This is definitely for my children. I tell my children the story about the three rules because there were three rules that we had that I've given them as they're growing up. We always review and go back to that story about what are three rules that I abide by. Courtney: Very cool. And what is your hidden talent? Sam: Oh man, hidden talent. I could be extremely quiet. I don't know if I have a hidden talent. That would imply that I have some talent. I don't know if I have one. Courtney: I would say that being quiet is a talent of yours because it's normally not good when you're super quiet. It's scary but effective. Sam: Yes, thank you. I'm going to stick with being quiet because as you know, I'm definitely going to pay you [...] everything. If I think there's an opening, normally, I'm willing to share. I do practice and try to be quiet. Courtney: Very cool. Thank you, Sam. That wraps up your turn. Mike Ferletic, I'm looking at you next. Mike: All right. Courtney: Are you ready? Mike: I am ready. I just have to say, based on your Star Wars answer, that explains the stormtrooper there, Sam. Sam: It's funny because on both shelves, there's some hidden meaning about anything on my shelf. Anything that's on the shelves behind me typically is a gift. My family knows that I love Star Wars. It seems like every year for my birthday or for Christmas, they will buy me something. In this case, the bought the stormtrooper bank, which I adore so it's on the shelf. Anything that you give me goes on the shelf. Courtney: Your dog is named Princess Leia's Spiderman, right? Sam: It is. That is her name. Leia's Spiderman. Courtney: For our listeners out there, Sam used to be my direct manager when he was here at Enterey, so that's how I know all about the Star Wars jokes and the dog's name. Mike: Awesome. Courtney: Are you ready, Mike? Mike: I'm ready. Courtney: Okay. What's your favorite board game? Mike: I love Monopoly. Actually, I'll change. I like the Game of Life. Courtney: Okay. How do you usually answer the telephone? Mike: Hi, this is Mike. Courtney: Who is your favorite Disney character? Mike: Sheriff Woody. Courtney: What are you most looking forward to? Mike: What am I most looking forward to? Just in general right now? I'm really looking forward to a little time off between the holidays. It's going to be nice to wrap up the year and get recharged for 2022. Courtney: Very cool. What never fails to make you laugh? Mike: Our dog had her teeth removed—one of our dogs. That in itself is not funny, but the poor thing can no longer keep her tongue in her mouth so it sticks out to the side. No matter how often you see it, it makes you chuckle every time. Courtney: That's so funny. If you were to write a book, what would it be about? Mike: If I were to write a book, what would it be about? It would be about somebody that accomplishes great things but is different from the rest of the pack, so to speak. Someone that is not meant to be in a certain arena, but they thrive in that space. Courtney: Nice. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? Mike: Oh, wow. Don't ask me why, but it is because it's my son's name. But I would say John. My son's name is John but he doesn't go by John, he goes by Jack. I could still take John and would not affect his name. Courtney: Nice. What is your favorite type of weather? Mike: I like it a bit cold and I like bouts of snow, but I like to visit the snow and then I would like to come back nice, temperate between 75 and 85. Courtney: What is your favorite store? Mike: My favorite store? I will say my favorite store is Costco and it's precisely why I no longer have a Costco membership. Courtney: Understandable. Mike: We could not go in there without spending a lot of money. Every time. Courtney: Fair. Last question, what would your spy codename be? Mike: My spy codename? Interesting. My spy codename should be something that you wouldn't be able to identify me with, but I can't think of what that would be. Courtney: It wouldn't be Mike Ferletic? Mike: No, it wouldn't be Mike Ferletic. But in highschool, they call me Mr. Furly because Ferletic, Furly. I have to go way back to a show called Three's Company. I'm sure Sam knows it. Courtney, I'm not sure if you've seen that show. Sam: Don Knotts, yes. Mike: Yeah, that's right. Courtney: Awesome. That wraps up our speed question game. Mike: That was fun. Courtney: Thank you both for playing along. It was fun to learn about your thoughts and the answers to some of them. Mike: Thanks for putting it out together, Courtney. Courtney: Of course, no problem. Mike: And Sam, I have to tell you, I know it's the middle of the afternoon here. But tonight at Honda Center, the Ducks are hosting Star Wars night if you're a hockey fan. You might need to head north. Sam: I guess that I am a sucker for anything and everything Star Wars. I will definitely look into that. Attending a hockey game is definitely on my short list of things to do. We didn't get a chance to do that in some other places that we've lived. It'd be really cool to see a different sport. I'm looking forward to that. Courtney: In the spirit of leadership and asking clarifying questions, what is Star Wars? Mike: I'm not even sure I know how to answer. Courtney: I wish everybody could see Sam's face. It just dropped and he got real quiet. Sam: That's [...] how do you remove from the building. Mike: I'm not even a huge fan. Courtney: I'm just teasing everybody. Mike: That's great. That's so funny. All right. Awesome. We're going to wrap up this episode of the Leaders in Life Sciences podcast. Thank you Sam Howard for joining us. We wish you nothing but the best and thank you again for your 28 years of service to our country. Always admire that and once a Marine, always a Marine, right? Thank you for your ongoing commitment to our country and serving all of us in the time that you did. We appreciate it. Thank you, Courtney. Wonderful show once again. Courtney: Thank you, Mike. Mike: Looking forward to the next one. Courtney: Absolutely, see you next time. Sam: I just want to say thank you again to Mike and Courtney. To Mike in particular. I think Mike, we've talked about this. But again, just reaffirm publicly, thank you for your support and your patience, and to be honest taking a risk on that Marine who served 28 years to come and actually help service and support your clients. It meant a lot to me. Obviously, a lot of my success, especially at Dendreon can be directly mapped back to the things that I've learned and the opportunities that I was given at Enterey. It was great. Enterey is always near and dear to my heart and it's always great to see your growth and your presence continue to expand in Southern California. All the best and thank you for allowing me to participate on the podcast. Mike: Awesome. Courtney: Thanks for being here. Mike: Appreciate those kind words, Sam, and appreciate having you here. We look forward to many more discussions. All right, let's wrap this up. If you like this podcast, please don't forget to subscribe. That really helps us out. Also, leave us a five-star rating, that's a big help too. If you'd like, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments as well. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time on the Leaders in Life Sciences podcast powered by Enterey Life Sciences Consulting where people drive their zones. Take care.

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