Finding the right career can be an intimidating and arduous task. Hear how one of PPD’s hematology and oncology project management directors has used relationships and networking to navigate a meaningful and successful career. He pays his success forward by developing and mentoring others to advocate for their own career path.
Kenneth Lute is a director of project management on our hematology and oncology team.
Kenneth joined PPD in July 2007, following about a year of post-doctoral research at a comprehensive cancer center. When he arrived at the cancer center to begin his academic career, he was the 13th post doc in the group. Both the number and tenure of post docs was a concern to him, so he soon put himself to the task of exploring opportunities outside of academia.
He admits it was a bit overwhelming to sift through so many openings, without an understanding of what each entailed and whether his talents matched the profiles, but he moved forward in his efforts.
After a number of unsuccessful applications, he decided to course correct and move his time away from job boards and put his focus on people.
Kenneth started attending job fairs and networking events, using them connect with others and learn more about how they found their career paths. Ironically, it was during an after-work social event at the cancer center where he made his first breakthrough connecting with some clinical research professionals. This introduction helped fuel his understanding of the field of clinical research and contract research organizations such as PPD.
Now that he had found a career path to explore, his next steps were to find the right profile match. After a few more months of patient persistence, PPD offered him the opportunity he was looking for – a fellowship program for Pharm.D., Ph.D. and M.D. graduates.
His initial responsibilities involved medical writing, which were a central strategy for the program’s success. The best means of teaching clinical research is to expose someone to the critical deliverables that support drug development. He quickly realized that writing was a great opportunity to enter the industry and learn. He continued to gain exposure to other disciplines in clinical research and after a few years found himself gravitating toward project management in hematology and oncology.
Kenneth now supports global teams and is integral in the success of PPD’s clinical process.
When thinking back over his professional journey, Kenneth said, “Finding your way, your career path, is a daunting task to take on alone, regardless of how ambitious you are because you are limited in your experience. Personally, when I’ve tried to do this on my own in the past, I found frustration and limited opportunity, but when I’ve looked to others, I’ve found success.“
Kenneth supports PPD’s clinical internship program whereby mentoring and offering career advice to soon graduating students who are working on real PPD business projects.
He feels that the “pull” of support from senior advocates and mentors is critical in providing our future leaders with the training, opportunities and outcomes needed for success. Kenneth is committed to continuing his efforts in growing PPD’s internship program through offering meaningful mentorship and projects to our interns.
Visit our careers site to learn more about available clinical project management career opportunities across PPD’s global locations.