Today we are launching a new online series called “Novartis Presents: Women in Science.” It spotlights women at Novartis who are helping develop innovative oncology medicines for people with cancer and related diseases.
To kick off this series, we interviewed Tania Small, Senior Medical Director at Novartis. Here, she shares her thoughts on finding success and breaking down barriers.
When did you first know you wanted to work in science?
As a child, I wanted to know why things worked the way they did and how to fix them if there were problems. That’s why I naturally gravitated toward science and medicine. Science encourages us to seek out the answers to life’s conundrums. And medicine gives us the ammunition to solve them.
As I matured, I wanted to make my small contribution to this vast world, and clinical research was the vessel that aligned with my natural inclination.
You design the path that you choose to walk. Never allow anyone to tether you to their expectations.
What is your advice for young women and girls interested in science?
Your most powerful tools are your mind and your passion. You can use those tools to impact this world and drive change that your predecessors could not even conceive.
As a woman, you have the right to all that this world offers. You design the path that you choose to walk. Never allow anyone to tether you to their expectations. Science levels the playing field, so your ability or fate isn’t determined by your gender, religion or race.
The key differentiators that will dictate your success are the power of your unconfined mind, the scope at which you choose to expand it, and your tenacity to do so – regardless of obstacles that may present themselves. My advice to you is to choose your mountain and begin to climb it. Because if it can be done, then you can do it, and if it hasn’t been done, then you can create it.
What is your favorite part of your job at Novartis?
There is no greater feeling than loving what you do. Novartis offers me the opportunity to make my difference in this world. At Novartis, I get to think beyond what is available today and help create treatment options that will improve the lives of millions in the future.
While it is challenging to be a young woman in this field, all while being a mother, daughter, sister and friend, I embrace the opportunity to break down those barriers that lie before me and help open the doors for so many brilliant, talented and eager young minds.
What is your secret talent?
People may be surprised to know that I used to be a ballet dance teacher!
“Novartis Presents: Women in Science” is an ongoing series showcasing women at Novartis who are helping develop innovative oncology medicines for people with cancer and related diseases.