ELITE Mentor Gwen D. Washington of Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Gwen D. Washington

Senior Marketing Director, U.S. ADHD Franchise

Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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Inspiration and Role Model

Gwen Washington may just be the perfect role model. Not only is she a great leader and expert marketer with more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry—including roles in brand management, strategic planning, online marketing, account services and media and project management—but as the Senior Director of Vyvanse, she has also led the company’s flagship ADHD product to double-digit growth in 2014. Vyvanse is now the seventh most prescribed product in the country. Without a doubt, this makes her one of the most influential women in U.S. pharmaceutical marketing.

As a female marketer, Gwen also serves as a mentor to other women within the industry (and her fellow team members). She inspires those who she mentors not to limit themselves, but instead, think broadly about their career opportunities. She urges people to take on new projects that will advance their industry knowledge and provide opportunities to expand their career.

“I often tell mentees to get out of their comfort zone—and do things that are different or new,” Gwen notes. “I encourage them to find out what they really want in life—and then map out how they want to get there. Successful people don’t become successful by chance. They leverage every day to grow and stretch their abilities.”

While Gwen also tries to foster relationships with open communication. She strives to be always available to listen and offer candid feedback, but she feels it just as important to open doors for other colleagues. “It is not just about giving people advice,” she explains. “It’s about helping people get to, or find, their next challenge.”

As one of her mentees explains, “Gwen knows what each plant in a garden needs to thrive: This one a little more sun, this one more fertilizer, this one more water. I think this is a good metaphor for her mentoring. She takes the same careful approach with ‘growing’ individuals on her team and takes great joy in watching them bloom when mature.”

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