One of our favorite things about Business Energy’s co-working and networking space is that we are able to bring together Westfield’s local entrepreneurs and experts from a wide range of fields, each with unique ideas and experiences to share. We learn something new from everyone who walks through the door at Business Energy, and we’re excited to feature some individual stories in our new Your Business Energy column. We’ll be focusing on how the talented professionals in our community manage to stay inspired, focused and productive.
MEET SUZANNE KIMELMAN.
As the founder of PharMoms, Suzanne Kimelman is a master at bringing people together and creating meaningful community.
When her son started kindergarten at the Westfield Area YMCA, Suzanne was struck by how many local moms she met there who worked in the pharmaceutical industry – each of them accomplished, highly networked and willing to share experiences and information. With her own career becoming more healthcare-focused, Suzanne saw a great opportunity to build a community of moms working in the field. From the first PharMoms event with about 10 women in 2016 to the 250 people who belong to the PharMoms Facebook group today, members count on PharMoms for quarterly networking events, networking assistance for jobs, professional resources, and advice. The PharMoms even hosted a recent co-working Friday here in the Business Energy conference room!
“At the right moments, PharMoms can have a meaningful impact – the members of our community know we’re there when they need us,” says Suzanne. “That’s what’s so important: being part of the right community of the right thought partners you can rely on and trust.”
PharMoms was inspired in part by your own role in the healthcare industry. What are some of the highlights of your job?
I work at Novartis Oncology in Global Communications, with responsibilities for employee engagement with a focus on people and culture. Novartis, like many other companies, is on a culture journey, and I’m responsible for helping to ignite that journey among our associates. We’re focused on creating an environment where managers are there to help remove obstacles and lead from behind to help their teams succeed.
At the end of the day, being a good human is good business. The work we’re doing at Novartis is focused on taking the collective knowledge, business acumen, and experience of our teams, and marrying it with the right values and behaviors to further drive the business for the benefit of the patients we serve.
What ties you to the Westfield community?
My husband and have lived in town since we got married. It’s a great location for us because we’re centrally located between family in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey, but what really keeps us here is the community that we have created for our family over the last 15 years. The schools are terrific – we’re fortunate to give our kids an education here, and we’re also connected to our church community at St. Helen’s. Many PharMoms are local to the Westfield area, so that’s another great source of connection for me in town.
What’s the secret to your productivity?
I probably do an insane amount of things in a day! I live by my To Do list and I’m driven by checking things off of it. The key is knowing my work and home priorities, and how I can achieve them. I’m a proficient multitasker and I use my time as efficiently as possible. I take an early morning fitness class most days because it’s “unaccounted for time” and I use my car time for calls, both professional and personal. In the evenings, I like to “cook it forward” by prepping enough food for the next night. It’s all about economies of time!
How do you balance it all?
I like to say I’m a “mom working” rather than a “working mom” because family always comes first - always. I know that at times I actually forgot that my mom worked because she was a mom first to me, and as much as my boys know and see that I love what I do and work hard, I want them to think of me as a mom first. You can do both well (most days) with the right mindset, tools and support.
I know – and this is true for a lot of people – that if I practice self care, I’m better for everyone else. For example, there are many Saturday mornings that I work out and then spend time with friends before doing some food shopping, while my husband anchors at home. It’s good for my soul, and I’m fortunate to have a true partner in my husband so we can make it all work.
What inspires you?
I’m really inspired by people who are kind, smart, and in it for the right reasons. Being around people I respect and like, and helping those people, that’s what makes me happy – I celebrate people’s successes and get inspiration from helping out behind the scenes. (I’m a “fix your crown” kind of person!)As a parent, I’m similarly inspired by the idea of raising good humans. I seek out good energy – and I’m always thinking about how to get to that energy, kindness, and humanity for my family and myself.