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International Women’s Day: Jennifer Bournique

Author: Jennifer Bournique

‘If you don’t try, you’ll never know, and you’ll never grow.’

In a new series of blogs to mark International Women’s Day, VPs from across CluePoints share their experiences, challenges, and advice for anyone wanting to pursue success. Jennifer Bournique, VP of Consulting Services, shares how past obstacles put her on a new path to success.

I love my role at CluePoints because it is so diverse. However, ten years ago, I thought my career would be very different.

Data has always been a huge part of what I have done. I started in a chemistry-based role and then moved into the pharmaceutical medical device in vitro diagnostics field.

I was with the same company for 26 years, advancing every three or four years, and I thought that was where I would be until I retired.

Then they had a reorganization, and my position was eliminated.

It made me realize you must stay cognizant of changes and not become complacent.

However, I still stuck with the status quo when considering my next career move.

Then people started approaching me about excellent opportunities which I would never have considered for myself.

I ended up taking a job with a slight reduction in pay and a reduction in the title. However, within five years, I was back up to where I had been previously and part of the company’s Leaders of Tomorrow Program.

It made me realize you don’t just have to stay where you are and keep stepping up to the next level.

It is okay to realize you have challenged yourself as much as possible within an organization. However, to diversify, grow, and develop, sometimes you may need to make a lateral move.

I jumped at the chance to join CluePoints because I thought, ‘this is the direction the industry is going.’

Make the best of your life

My journey so far has not been straightforward, and I think that is why one of my biggest inspirations is my grandmother.

No matter what life handed to her, she took that and made the best of it. For example, when my grandfather got ill and couldn’t work, she took on that responsibility even though she’d never worked before.

She worked in a Five and Dime store, but she always made the best of where she was and always tried to be a happy and giving person.

She taught me you must make the best of your life – if you don’t, nobody else will.

Women can step up and be heard

Historically, most people I have worked with have been women, except for the management level, which does raise some questions.

Even today, when women try to establish themselves and are assertive, it is often interpreted as aggressive. We must change that perception that women must be meek and mild – they can step up and be heard. Two women I feel represent this are Nikki Haley and Kristi Noem. They have taken their positions and owned them from the start, standing firm with what they believe is the best path forward.

However, I do think we are starting to see change. For example, in the past five years, I have seen more women advancing to the management level.

I see more promotion from within and more advancement opportunities for women.

You’ll never know until you try

Everybody feels slightly anxious when doing something new and taking on a different challenge.

I have learned that if you don’t try, you’ll never know and never grow.

Even if you fail, sometimes what you learn from your failure is more important than the failure itself.

If it is something you still feel you want, you can try again and continue to learn.

There will always be challenges where you don’t feel like you delivered your best. That’s just part of life.

You take it, get feedback, and try your best to overcome it next time.

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