Applying her knowledge of science-based industries, as well as strategic business management, Hart founded Hart & Chin Associates, LLC, a niche consulting firm, that also offers workshops and coaching for organizations involved in various scientific disciplines. The mission is to cultivate scientists’ leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and communication. Hart fills in the gaps not covered in graduate school programs that enable scientists to become effective leaders at their institutions and in their scientific specialization.
In the following question and answer interchange, Juliet Chin Hart explains her rationale for developing methods to improve management styles and science personnel satisfaction.
Q: What motivated you to start the company and what were the challenges?
A: After working in academia, biotech, and pharma with other scientists, I realized there was a need for more professional development resources that resonated with the scientist and is relevant in their work environments. So, I decided to start a company focused specifically on scientists and their organizations. It is a specialized area of work, so getting awareness about what I do is the hardest part.
Q: What niche do you think it will fill?
A: My intention is to help scientists at all stages of their careers. Right now, training for scientists typically is focused on developing the technical knowledge and skills specifically needed for their field. Adding essential basics, such as interpersonal and communication skills training with examples from the scientists’ worlds, will make it easier for them to adapt and transition in their careers.
Q: Are there any soft skills that you address that are unique to the scientific community?
A: Everyone needs soft skills, but leadership and management training are important for scientists to be successful in any aspect of their career growth to increase their influence in whatever role they are in or striving to attain. On top of that, cultural adaptability training is very important. We tend to ignore the fact that scientists work in very culturally diverse environments and it can be difficult, but at the same time very rewarding. The training allows us to understand ourselves and others better so that we can maximize our potential.
Q: What are the most popular workshops? How did you decide what components to include in your curriculum?
Right now, I have an emotional intelligence workshop that is geared towards working with your PI/manager and a cultural adaptability workshop that deeply resonates with people. Currently, I am rolling out a comprehensive leadership program that includes coaching.
Like any experiment, I test to see if my hypothesis is correct and retest to see if the training produces the expected results.
Q: What methods do you use to train scientists to become better leaders? Do you use a customized approach depending on the client's needs or scientific field?
A: I am developing methods and approaches that are more intuitive for the way scientists think. For example, when you ask a scientist what values are important to them it feels very arbitrary. Through my training, I ask them to collect their own data to help remove some of that arbitrary feeling to have them understand what is important to them and why. This has been very enlightening for participants.
Every customer at this point is looking for something different. The idea of a leadership consultant that focuses on scientists and their organizations is a resource that they usually haven't considered as available - so it takes some time to figure out what problem should be addressed.
Q: What suggestions do you have for scientists who would like to transition into consulting or for students who have completed academic studies and would like to pursue this occupation?
A: There are different routes that you can take. You can apply to consulting firms and if you fit the profile that they are looking for, then you are brought in for a training period to see if you will fit in the culture of the company. Another route to consulting is to gain enough experience in a certain area of work to be considered an expert and then provide advice to organizations.