Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mid Career Entrepreneurs: Starting up After Settling in

     Kris Appel never fit the stereotypical entrepreneur image of a geek in a computer lab. With a master's degree in romance language linguistics, she was recruited by the National Security Agency where she started as a translator and eventually settled into management for 17 years. She says she enjoyed her career but felt something was missing because it "wasn't creative."
      After a couple of years at a tech company, in 2006 Kris signed up for a yearlong program which "changed my life by giving me tools, training and the nerve to unleash my creativity." Launched in 2005 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the program called ACTiVATE, is designed for mid-career

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to Start a Business: Be Willing to Fail!

     Entrepreneur Adrienne Choma, President and COO of Saladax, a company which provides oncology drug monitoring tests, started her career as a lawyer for a pharmaceutical company. After a short stint, she realized she really didn't enjoy practicing law so she proceeded to "beg my way" into the business area. After five years experience in market research and business development, she decided she wanted to take on the management of a production facility. When she went to her boss with her request, she was told, "you're a girl lawyer; how can you run a production facility?" Choma answered, "Give me one year. If I haven't improved the operating results of this facility, you can fire me; I'm willing to sign an agreement now that assures you have no liability if I don't do what I think I can do."
     Adrienne Choma was never fired; in fact she went on to have a 20-year career at Hoffmann-La Roche, including Vice President, New Product Development and Regulatory Affairs; Vice President, Operations; Vice President, International Drug Monitoring Business Unit; and Vice President, Marketing & Sales for the U.S.