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Career Profiles:

Mauri Okamato-Kearney

1. What is a brief description of your job?
video I'm a Project Manager. I manage and coordinate all the activities that go into making a product, and testing it to get it to patients.

2. Where did you grow up?
video I was born in Hawaii, to parents who graduated from high school. I was first of four children to go to college--I went to college at Stanford, went back to Hawaii to work in research laboratories, and came back and now live in Palo Alto,--and have been working here for five and a half years.

3. What training and degrees do you hold? What were the specific areas of study?
video I received my bachelors in human biology from Stanford. I got a masters in bio-chemistry from the University of Hawaii, and have a masters in business administration from New York University.

5. What is the minimum training that is required for your job?
video The minimum training for a project manager in the biotech pharmaceutical industry is a technical background, at the very basic, minimum level. That can be anything from a chemistry bachelors or equivalent background to math, engineering, bio-chemistry, biology.

6. How many years of study are typically needed to acquire the training for your job?
video Typically, for a Project Manager in the biotech pharmaceutical industry, about four years or the equivalent of a bachelors in a technical area.

7. What percentage of an average day is spent using your training?
video As a Project Manager in the biotech pharmaceutical industry, I would say that 50% of the time is spent using the scientific skills, like biology, mathematics and chemistry, bio-chemistry. And the other 50% is used for business and communications skills.

8. What science education, if any, is useful in your field?
video In project management in biotech pharmaceuticals, the most important science education would be in the life sciences--biology, bio-chemistry and those sorts of scientific areas of study.

9. What general work skills do you use on a daily basis?
video As a Project Manager, coordinating activities across the project team, I use a lot of creative problem solving analytical skills, interpersonal skills, to get people to work together and focus on the same goal for the project.

10. Are you working in isolation or with a team of co-workers or subordinates?
video I manage full teams of people, and I almost never work alone. In fact, the best part of my job is working with other people.

11. What are your working conditions? Dress codes? Environment (Indoor or Outdoor)?
video Here at Genentech we tend to be pretty friendly and interactive. The dress tends to be pretty informal--jeans and khakis and T-shirts to work, usually. Our interactions tend to be a lot of verbal interaction. In a large company you do see people writing lots of memos. Here at Genentech it's pretty easy to pick up a phone and get something settled right away, over the phone.

12. What is the biggest challenge you face in your field?
video We coordinate a lot of activities...across the company. The biggest challenge is to keep all those activities pointed in the same direction, focused on that same goal.

13. What is the most rewarding experience in your field?
video The most rewarding experience for a project manager is when I get to see the end of all the focused activity. To see a drug get to patients.

14. How did your interest in your field develop?
video My interest in project management developed from a desire to provide leadership to bring pharmaceutical products to patients.

15. What did you want to be in high school?
video In high school, I wanted to be a doctor, to help patients get better.

16. Was school easy or hard for you then, and did you like it?
video School was hard for me and I liked it. It was a challenge. The more challenging it was, the better I liked it.

17. Are you doing now what you expected to do when you finished school?
video When I graduated from college, I still wanted to be a doctor, but now I've changed my mind. Now I'm working for a pharmaceutical company helping doctors help patients.

18. What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
video Starting from high school to prepare for project management, I would take any science courses that you can get your hands on. It prepares you for the analytical thinking as well as the knowledge to get through your college courses and beyond.

19. Beginning with high school, what science courses do you recommend to prepare for your field?
No answer available.

20. How is the future projection for jobs in this career? Do you forsee an increase in demand in the future?
video Right now project management is a wide open field. There's a lot of need for people who have good strong technical backgrounds with good interpersonal and communications and analytical skills. In the future, it will get even better, as more companies and industries find that they need project teams and therefore project managers to maintain their competitive advantage.

21. Do you use the Internet on a daily basis? If so, how?
video I do use the Internet on a daily basis, as a project manager. I get news on the industry, on companies in the industry, on products that are being tested by our competitors, as well as to get some feel for the public knowledge about my own company.

22. With regard to your profession, which web sites do you recommend for students interested in your field?
video There are quite a few web sites to keep up in project management, such as the Drug Information Association web site, and the Project Management Institute web site.

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