Interview With Lynn Bottone
Lynn Bottone is Vice President, Biotech Operations at Pfizer, Inc. She is responsible for 9 global biotechnology facilities that manufacture products like Prevenar 13, Enbrel, and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Lynn began her career in the pharmaceutical industry at Pfizer’s Pearl River manufacturing facility in New York, where she became the Site Quality Leader, supporting both vaccines and consumer healthcare manufacturing. Upon relocation to North Carolina, Lynn assumed the role of Site Leader at Pfizer’s Sanford manufacturing site, where she was responsible for all aspects of commercial and clinical operations for the manufacture of vaccine intermediate and drug substances. After 30 years with Pfizer, Lynn joined Merck as the Global Vice President of Quality Assurance, Vaccines, where she supported the vaccines operating unit in areas of quality assurance and compliance and was responsible for quality support of new product initiatives, most notably the Ebola vaccine project. In 2020, Lynn returned to Pfizer in her current role.
Lynn graduated from the State University of New York, College at Purchase with a BS in Chemistry. She lives in Cary, North Carolina, with her husband Sal, their three children, and a clowder of cats.
Is there anything you wish that you could have done differently?
- Yes! While I have had some amazing sponsors and have been provided many rewarding opportunities, there were times in my career where I felt like it was all just happening to me instead of being part of a well-developed plan. I would have dedicated time to ask myself, “What do I really want out of my career, what experiences am I most interested in having, and how should I go about getting them?”
How do women get a seat at the table?
- First and foremost, by asking for one! Once you are there, you must contribute and clearly demonstrate the unique value you bring. Above all else, stay true to who you are. There will be times, especially when you are the only woman, that you will be uncomfortable. Staying true to yourself and your role on the team will allow you to thrive even in those uncomfortable times.
What advice would you give your younger self?
- Take more thoughtful risks. Don’t wait for perfection. Stop waiting to be 100% ready. When you learn about an opportunity you find exciting, apply! See where the process takes you and learn as much as you can along the way. While in college, take classes that aren’t part of your science/engineering major like business, communications, leadership, and psychology. They will prove to be every bit as valuable in the long term!
What life lessons do you give the children and young people in your life?
- Work should be enjoyable and make you happy; it should never be a drudgery. Talk to people in different professions about their careers and the paths they’ve taken. Know what your passions are and create a lifelong experience out of that. But also recognize that “bad jobs” can sometimes teach us the most about what we really want out of our careers. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. After 25 years in one location, I relocated to a new state and a much bigger role that I wasn’t confident I could do. The result could not have been any better, personally or professionally!
Final piece of advice:
- Mentor other women as often as you can. I find I have learned more about myself by mentoring others, and it is the most enjoyable part of my role as a leader. When you are a leader, make sure your people are heard and cared for and getting the development they want and need. When you meet someone new, always follow up – a quick note via email or LinkedIn connection may come back in the future in the most unexpected way. And finally, have fun!