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Profession Improvement Weblog

Identify: Diane (McDonnell) Pickles

Class Yr: 1989

Title: Program Director, Venture Singular

Group Identify: Extra Ventures


1. In a single sentence, what does your job entail

I lead a direct to participant genetic sequencing examine of sufferers with single ventricle coronary heart illness and their quick members of the family to gas analysis to search out healing options for this uncommon, advanced illness.


2. What deliberate and unplanned occasions linked you to your trade and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you study/resolve it was match for you?  

My first job after school was in substance abuse prevention schooling which led me to tobacco management coverage work.  I labored on native coverage change efforts for a number of years after which served as Govt Director of a statewide coalition that spearheaded the profitable 2004 marketing campaign to make all workplaces in Massachusetts smoke-free.  From there, I moved to a coverage advocacy consulting agency the place I spent greater than a decade working for non-profit organizations serving to them advance their mission by way of coverage change.  My ardour for advocacy was largely fueled by the surprising and life-changing expertise of getting a toddler born with a uncommon, advanced, life-threatening situation known as Hypoplastic Left Coronary heart Syndrome for which there are not any healing remedies, solely palliative interventions.  I discovered it unacceptable that I might deliver my sick baby right into a household restaurant and have somebody mild up a cigarette on the subsequent desk.  Furthermore, I needed to learn to be an advocate in so some ways, in so many locations, and on so many points – with the healthcare system, insurance coverage firms, the college system, and employers.  Having a sick baby who required three open coronary heart surgical procedures earlier than the age of two and ongoing medical interventions additionally dramatically impacted my profession decisions when it comes to when, the place, and the way I used to be in a position to work.  I wanted to take a number of years off from my profession after which might solely return half time.  Even after I used to be in a position to return full-time, work was a difficult juggling act and required understanding and accommodating employers mixed with an excessive amount of laborious work and dedication.  All through these years, I volunteered on a number of congenital coronary heart illness initiatives as a result of it felt important to attempt to flip my household’s expertise into one thing good for others.  Roughly 4 years in the past, I made a decision to make a radical profession shift and transfer away from coverage advocacy and into the sector of cardiovascular analysis.  For the previous 2 years, I’ve been in a position to mix my private passions with my skilled abilities and work for a nonprofit analysis basis devoted to discovering remedies that may allow regular longevity and high quality of life for sufferers with single ventricle coronary heart illness like my son.


3. What had been you concerned in whenever you had been on campus?

I used to be a Pupil Alcohol Advisor (I imagine now known as SWEET Peer Educators) for 2 years.  I additionally labored off-campus at a Worcester regulation agency as a authorized secretary.


4. What was your main and the way did it have an effect on your profession selections?

I used to be a Psychology main as a result of I discovered it actually fascinating, nevertheless it truthfully didn’t influence my profession selections (please don’t quote me to my dad and mom or professors!).  I actually thought I’d go to graduate faculty or regulation faculty, turn out to be a lawyer or a trainer or a toddler psychologist – however life had different plans.  Nevertheless, I do know that it offered me with a stable instructional basis for understanding human conduct and motivations, studying to drawback clear up successfully, and having fun with analysis and inquiry.


5. What are one or two abilities that you simply developed at Holy Cross that you simply use in your work?

  • Writing:  I arrived at Holy Cross pondering I used to be a reasonably good author, however I had lots to study.  It’s a ability I proceed to hone, however I do know it was strengthened tremendously at Holy Cross.
  • Onerous work and persistence:  Whereas this will likely not match into the “abilities” bucket, I imagine this is likely one of the issues I realized a fantastic deal about whereas at Holy Cross.  Greater than anything, my drive to work laborious and be persistent have enabled my successes in each my private life and my skilled life, giving me what I wanted to beat essentially the most tough challenges.


6. What recommendation do you’ve got for college students on campus right now?

My father appreciated to say, “If you wish to give God snicker, inform him your plans.”  My life has under no circumstances gone within the course or alongside the trail I envisioned, however I can not think about my profession having progressed any in a different way.  Every step of my profession ready me for the following, and I realized a lot alongside the best way.  My recommendation is to dream large however don’t let your desires forestall you from taking and studying all you’ll be able to from the place you might be.  You possibly can’t essentially plan what’s across the subsequent nook, however in case you dedicate your self to what you’re doing proper now, you may be ready for the following alternative.  Work laborious, be variety, and belief in your self and your talents.




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